Loving and Being Loved

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.

Solitude is a lifestyle choice; isolation is a defense…Isolation occurs when human connection feels impossible. Foisting ourselves onto others to have our needs met is no solution to this problem.

…There is no step in the Twelve Steps on domestic or romantic bliss. Being able to play nice is one of the secondary benefits of recovery. Step Eight reveals how we are, in part, the architects of our own romantic misfortune. Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others opens the door to harmony in a relationship or in solitude. In Step Nine we express the regret we uncover for how our needs made us selfish, manipulative and cruel. Our pain and our hunger are not excuses. We aren’t negotiating forgiveness. We are coming clean and acknowledging the harm we have done.

Discussion questions

  • Do the lyrics, “come to your senses…let somebody love you, before it’s too late,” resonate with me?

What is an Addict’s “Natural” State?

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.

“Being healthy is a natural state and the means for achieving it is in the grasp of each one of us. I believe that a judicious mixture of hard work, clear thinking, humor and self-confidence are the ingredients of effective living.”

Your Erroneous Zone, by Dr. Wayne Dyer

…Restless, irritable, discontented–isn’t this the natural state of an addict’s mental health? If there was only one promise it might be that working the Twelve Steps will make us less miserable. Positive Psychology moves away from dysfunction to focus on accentuating our positive, functional selves. Dyer’s book and concepts inadvertently describe the value of working the program. Hard-working, clear-thinking, humorous and self-confident–are these not the qualities of those who we admire?

Discussion questions

  • Is mental and physical health a natural state for me?
  • If not, do I see how it can be cultivated?

 

Sacrificing Relief for the Right Action

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.

Being right, or seeking oblivion, comfort or numbness, as we learned in Step One, can be obsessions that form a power greater than us. Many of us planned on stopping tomorrow, or being good tomorrow. But when the rubber hit the road we clung to the familiar, sought relief and put off the right action for another day.

Discussion questions

  • Do I put people, places and things in front of being good for goodness’s sake?
  • Is being good more righteous than getting good rewards?

Wisdom and Truth: Looking Inside is Part of Sobriety

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.

“Prajñāpāramitā” translates as “the perfection of wisdom.” The problem with The Truth, if we are seeking it from an outside source, is that there are so many versions of it. Looking for guidance is wiser than going it alone, but to expect the answers of life to be granted from an outside source is folly. Like pursuing substances or processes to fill our void, the idea that the truth is “out there” is never more than partly true. Clues and direction can come from outside sources but our journey in life involves finding our own truths. The Truth may be a moving target because, like the world around us, we are changing.

….We hear in the fellowship that it’s a “we” program, not an “I” program–we don’t have to do this alone. But the reason the program works only for those who want it, not for all who need it, is that each person needs to do the work: write the lists, muster the courage and face the truth about him or herself. No one will check to see if we’ve done our Twelve Step homework. If we do the work, we find enlightenment. Suffering is met with perspective instead of avoidance. We gain wisdom–it isn’t granted. We accept the world as it is. We have power to help ourselves and others but not unlimited power.”

Discussion questions

  • Am I waiting for something or someone?
  • Do I take responsibility or do I delegate blame and wait for direction?

Secular Sobriety Discussion: Bravery and Regret

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.

…maybe there are many times in recovery when we “look death in the face.” Every ego-shedding stage of recovery is another small death of our narcissistic selves. Shame and guilt dissipate a little more with each Step. With each demon we face, we become a little more courages and authentic. Self-disgust is just the flip-side of grandiosity; both are distortions of a healthy self-image. We may struggle with our self-image for the rest of our lives. As we gain perspective, the two-headed dragon of self-loathing and overcompensation has less power over us.

Discussion questions

  • At the end of my life will I regret not doing something I should have given an honest try?
  • Is there something I could stand to apply some double-oh [a la James Bond] bravado to?