Many rehabs rely on religion. I have several friends who cite Jesus as the only device allowing them to refrain from drugs and alcohol.
It’s true they’ve struggled with addiction. Constantly relapsing and hurting themselves and their families. Found Jesus in prison. As the platitude goes, “there are no atheists in prison.” There are many reasons to the club when doing time.
I don’t dare talk about secularism to these people. When they’ve tethered their only hope to the supernatural, one cannot take the chance of bursting their fragile bubble. The greater good, and all that.
I think it’s all a cop-out. No personal accountability whatsoever. Christianity teaches you are weak, small, a real nobody, and cannot accomplish anything on your own. Whether it’s relapsing, committing crime, or sin in general—the devil made you do it. And when you do good, Mr. Jesus saved the day. What an easy excuse for anything.
I helped a neighbor find her missing pet. The relief in her eyes as we approached was truly touching.
“Thank God”, she exclaimed!
“Don’t thank God, thank me”, I replied.
My smart ass reply only garnered a stare. I’m still awaiting my thank you. In my defense, the reason I replied smartly? The devil made me do it.
I’m a recovering heavy drinker, cocaine user, as well as a 3 pack a day cgarette smoker. It all comes down to individual strength, motivation and desire. It’s mind over matter. It’s no more cowardly to ask for help with an addiction than it is too ask for a cane or crutch to assist you in walking. I worked on my own rehab over 4 years to accomplish this by going easy and doing one thing at a time. I spent no time in rehab. Smoking was the most difficult, at least in the initial sense. Alcohol for me was totally different.
When I broke my smoking addiction, the first 2 to 3 weeks were the toughest. Then it got much easier afterward. As far as the drinking goes, that was much easier at the start, but challenges you throughout your life as your always recovering and will always have a desire from time to time. But that isn’t by any means a bad thing for me........it just feeds into motivation to stay sober, as well as the memory of all the bad hangovers and side effects. It was during this period from 1989-1993 when I became a fierce non believer because I learned that one must truly help themselves first before they can ask for any. And that was the beginning of when I became a true nonbeliever and fully in self power.
Many rehabs rely on replacing one addiction with another. It may be that for the individual at least, religion is a less harmful addiction than say drugs.
But it is funny that one of the principle objectives of ethics in mental health, is to insure that the therapist does not create a dependency in the patient on the therapist. Though of course the further you get from mainstream health-care and the deeper into alternatives, the more that is waved, until it becomes the normal thing to do. "My receptionist will deal with your bank details. See you next week."
I lost one of my high school friends (48+ yrs) to AA. I made friends on Facebook living alone in FL then she and her husband moved in with me until they found jobs/and or apt. I intro'd her to my friends. She was an alcoholic, used to work at bars and drink her profit. Her husband said, AA or divorce. She chose AA and is now quite god addicted.
All the friends she met from my introduction she calls to go out with, and I'm never invited. I asked why I couldn't hang out with her and her 'new' friends but that's not possible due to the Anonymous part. So she actually dumped me. They are supposed to apologize to people they. hurt but I was a drunk after my boyfriend died, went to a restaurant she worked at, sat at her table and not a fkn word. Got stinkin drunk and drove my Olds Cutlass home--fast. None of my "friends" acknowledged my pain. None. Why do I not have expectations? This is one reason.
Addictions are basically inherited. My family never had any addictions except my sister, other than her no one. So when I drank and drank I quit at first signs of DTs. DONE.
I also believe they move from one addiction to AA. So to me anyway it's just another addiction. If you believe religions are a cult then they're in it.
Having grown up in a rough neighborhood (of white trash), I must have learned early to avoid the worst.. It stuck, as I matured and moved away, I've knowingly had few seriously addicted or screwed up friends. I agree completely with you, and appreciate you describing your reservations over the use of religion as a drug substitution.
It’s as if a replacement drug or mental illness is used to counter the one they’re struggling with. And if by chance or desperation, ‘it works,’ we’ve yet another ‘born-againer’ ...pushing the socially destructive ‘drug of religion’ on society.. Religion may appear inert, or something we can ignore or avoid, but it’s ultimate results are more insidious than any drug I’m aware of; “It is the opium of the people.”
I don't think it's a cop out. When fighting a battle you've lost before, anything that works should be embraced, be that religion, a lucky rabbits foot, meditation, working out, sex, anything. Think of all the sports fans that embrace their "lucky shirt" to have their players win. The players still have to take to the field to win... just like the addict still has to not abuse to win. The reasons given for the team winning (the lucky shirt) or not abusing (god(s)) are frankly less material than the winning IMO.
Oh, and that stare might have been because she might have been using "Thank God!" as an idiom and your retort came off being proud or overbearing. Just a thought; obviously I wasn't there and don't know your neighbor.
I agree. What would be the difference if a gemstone,a magic ring,a rabbit's foot were embued with special powers to cure you. As long as you believe in it , strongly enough, things will happen. I think it still boils down to yourself wanting it bad enough to make that change.
I raise them my ex wife who prayed for our son to stop doing drugs, and for her alcholism. In neither case did prayers work. Hers or her family. What would have worked is her actually engaging with a sponsor and giving someone an opportunity to get between her and the desire to drink. But she did not want that.
The tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous is submission to a higher power. To say something is stronger than your addiction and subscribe to it. It can be your own thoughts written down. They don’t ask you to worship Christ. If it’s evolved that way it’s very sad to force everyone to rely on this belief. I was involved in support of an ex years ago.
Yes, I also think religion is a coip out. I also think that the concept of forgiveness leads many to sin mor eoften, knowing they can receive forgiveness afterwards... and they dont' have to receive forgiveness from the person they wronged, but from the priest or the churhc official that takes confessions. Any penance is doen in service of the church, not in service to those who were wronged. So, religion provides an easy psychological way to feel good when you do bad things.
I got a two year degree in Addiction Studies, when I started to go partially blind, because I didn't know how much vision I'd be losing, and I wanted to be trained in somethign I coudl do no matter how much vision I lost. I did nto count on what is is like to deal with persons who are addicted. I burned out in my internship. I do know however that there are atheists in recovery too. However it is frustrating for them, because they know Jesus isn't the answer.
When I was still studying one professor posed the idea that some addicts exchange their substance addiction for religious addiction. Loked at that way, both are diseases. You cant' cure them if you dont' deal with the underlyign issues that cause them.
Since just as many quit on their own as quit because of a twelve step program, I think twelve step programs have proven to be ineffective. I've never been addicted to anything other than nicotine in my life and since nicotine has positive health effect for me I haven't really considered quitting in a number of years. Haven't smoked in a number of years though.
If you have an "addictive-inclined personality", you almost Must replace one addiction for another, it cannot be simply removed. But you could go for sex (I knew a guy who did!) Or baking, or swimming, just anything less destructive than drugs or drinking.....