The Roles We Play and Finding Purpose

Welcome to our discussion based on Joe C.’s Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. We post choice quotes from the daily reading, as well as the discussion questions, and encourage you to think on it and respond in the comments. Please keep our community guidelines in mind while commenting.

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.”

-Marcus Aurelius (121-180)

Our man Marc would be called an apatheist today. Proof that God is either a myth or a reality would not change his deeds or behavior. Apathetic to the answer, he lived righteously. If the big question is irrelevant, why spend so much time on it?

…Psychologists suggest that a sense of purpose or self-worth comes from feeling we add value to a world of meaning. More than economic or social stature, a purpose enhances our self-esteem. Life-scripts and role play come with built-in definitions. Transactional Analysis scripts like persecutor (disciplinarian), victim and rescuer are interchangeable roles that most of us act out at home, school, work and in meetings. Taking inventory of the hats we wear and the triggers and rationalizations that support these roles enhances self-awareness.

Discussion questions

  • “What am I doing here?”
  • Looking at the script I follow today, to what extent is my life determined by environment or habits?
  • Do I feel trapped by my social caste, or free to do as I please?

The Roles We Play and the Sober Identity Crisis

Welcome to our discussion based on Joe C.’s Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. We post choice quotes from the daily reading, as well as the discussion questions, and encourage you to think on it and respond in the comments. Please keep our community guidelines in mind while commenting.

“Because I’m not perfect looking, I get to play better roles.”

-Juliette Lewis

For seekers, the following three questions have philosophical and psychological relevance: Who am I? What am I doing here? Who are tehse others? In recovery, we reassess these three pivotal questions about our identities.

…We have life-scripts that we follow for cues. Some roles were crafted by directors we worked under in childhood. In adolescence, we began to craft our own identities, taking over the roles of writer, director and actor. We craft roles and scripts for those around us, too. We have an idea of how they should be fitting in. In finding or forging our roles in life we try to answer these three nagging questions about identity, purpose and how we interact within our setting.

Role models have a lasting impact on us too. We see ourselves as autonomous decision makers and that is partly true. Parents will consciously resist the scripts imposed by previous generations, but it is hard work not to react to what we lived. Some actions/reactions happen like muscular reflexes. We are slaves to some persistent life-scripts that prompt our reactions before free will is in play. It’s like we are in character even when we are off the set.

Discussion questions

  • Am I in the midst of an identity crisis, or do I know who I am, what my role is and where and how I fit in?