Mike M Sobriety and Serenity without God

Mike started drinking early in life, and by the age of 18 he had already been to jail and treatment. Though he loved alcohol, he drank for the effect and quickly lost all control. Married with children, Mike was motivated to stop drinking, but in spite of his best efforts, he could never put together more than thirty or sixty days. He said it was as if he had an “eraser in his mind”, that wiped out of his consciousness all reason for stopping, and all memory of the devastating effect that drinking was having on his life.

Things went from bad to worse, and Mike eventually racked up four DUIs, causing him to lose a business. After his wife left him, he spent a year in and out of jail, and he experienced the “pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization” as described in the Big Book. Knowing that he couldn’t stop drinking, Mike took an overdose of prescription medication in an effort to cease his existence. He was almost successful, and when he found himself in the hospital, still living, he tried again, and once again, he was brought back to life. Eventually, he found his way to a sober living house and started attending meetings.

Mike worked the program with a sponsor, going through the steps. He says he was “all in” and God was no problem. Unfortunately, and beyond his comprehension, Mike relapsed after ten years of sobriety. Hitting bottom, he returned to AA, but found the original formula was no longer working. He needed to find out what specifically what  he was doing to stay sober. If it wasn’t God, then what was it? Mike realized that it was people, he needed people. God wasn’t going to answer his prayers. As Mike put it, he got all the “God goodies that he was ever going to get’.

Today, Mike is sober, successful, happy and serene, and he learned to do it without a God.

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  1. Michael S May 12, 2016 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Great interview, guys. Much of what was discussed resonated with my own experiences. Most touching was the encounter with Fred in New Hampshire; the one who wasn’t  pushy, aggressively proseltyzing, or attempting to pigeonhole Mike into some one-size-fits-all dogmatic structure. I have always been a “Fred”, and it is my nature. Most of the folks I encountered in AA 38 years ago were “Freds”. It was only after the early 1990’s when they were replaced by the high-pressure salesman types, or worse; the “spiritual” bullies. They know what’s best for everybody I guess, and its all exactly the same recipe.

    But the Freds know exactly how to hear someone. They “read” people, and don’t resort to the folly of domination. The Freds see everyone as unique, yet variations on a basic common theme. Its like a snowflake. They are all the “same” in some basic way, yet are infinitely different per individual. Many years later, I decided that the Freds are instinctively practicing something called Empathic Listening.

    There’s so little of that in this world. Many conversations are power struggles over who shall lead and who shall follow. Who is the smart one, who is the dumb one, etc. I’ve always presumed that in their essence, all persons are equivalent. The spectrum of someone’s experience, beliefs, personality, abilities, sufferings, etc. vary infinitely in their proportions, yet they are all a full vessel, and no vessel holds more than any other. So, knowing how to truly hear another, without resorting to dominance, debate, pity, or condescension is an art that can be learned, if it does not occur naturally. My wish for anyone that enters AA is that they should become free of what impedes them and know that they always were a worthy person beneath the piled-up errors of their past. I don’t want them to be a clone of me or anyone else. Those “Freds” of the earlier years in AA opened a door to freedom for me. As for my disbelief in a conscious deity that one can dialogue with and obtain intercession, no need for me to engage with or enter into debates with those who do. I left a couple years back, mainly because they would interfere with those I encouraged. Not much place left for folks like me in AA, I guess.

    Peace and Be Well

  2. Clayton H. May 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    This was a very good podcast.  I live an hour north of KC.  It is remote.  Looking for a secular group.  Trad. AA will not work for me, especially in the rural meetings, it might as well be church.  Great web-site, fantastic show.  I would like some info on where and when you meet in KC please.  I need to get to a meeting even if it is once a week.  It has been difficult not drinking for awhile now. Thanks .

    • John S May 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm Reply

      Hi Clayton. I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast. There are two secular AA groups in Kansas City with a total of seven meetings a week, and there is also a group in Lawrence, Kansas that meets twice per week.  Our website is weagnosticsaa.com, though we will soon be changing it to weagnosticsaa.org. The meeting schedule for all three groups is listed on our site, but I will list it here too.

      Sunday at 10:00 am
      We Agnostics Kansas City
      KU Medical Center
      Wyandotte Room (in hospital cafetria)
      3901 Rainbow Blvd.
      Kansas City, KS. 66160

      Monday at 7:00 pm
      Freethinkers in AA Kansas City
      St. Andrews Episcopal Church
      6401 Wornall Terrace
      Kansas City, MO 64113

      Tuesday at 7:00 pm
      We Agnostics Kansas City
      All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
      4501 Walnut Street
      Kansas City, MO 64111

      Wednesday at 7:00 pm
      Freethinkers in AA Kansas City
      St. Andrews Episcopal Church
      6401 Wornall Terrace
      Kansas City, MO 64113

      Thursday at 7:00 pm
      We Agnostics Kansas City
      All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
      4501 Walnut Street
      Kansas City, MO 64111

      Friday at noon
      We Agnostics Kansas City
      All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
      4501 Walnut Street
      Kansas City, MO 64111

      Saturday at noon
      We Agnostics Kansas City: 12:00 pm
      All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
      4501 Walnut Street
      Kansas City, MO 64111

      The We Agnostics and Freethinkers groups in Kansas City have a monthly anniversary meeting on the last Friday of the month at 7:00 pm. It is an open speakers meeting, and meets at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 6401 Wornall Terrace

      In Lawrence Kansas:
      We Agnostics
      Tuesday at 6:00 pm (meditation meeting)
      946 Vermont Street
      First United Methodist Church, Room 303

      We Agnostics
      Friday at 6:00 pm
      946 Vermont Street
      First United Methodist Church, Room 303

      You can email here at editor@aabeyondbelief.com and I will answer you.

       

  3. Bill P. April 24, 2016 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I heartily concur. If one has trouble with the “God Stuff”, then the important thing is to focus on the companionship and possible wisdom of other persons in recovery. As I’ve said many times, it’s much harder, lonelier and riskier to attempt to do it alone. Relapses happen, particularly in the early years, and it’s always uncertain whether one can get back on the rope. The stakes are high, very high indeed.

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