Sunday, October 25, 2009

12 Steps for Buddhists

I've had such a hard time on the codependency boards. They all view God as some all powerful saving thing who can make things better. I don't WANT to rely on a higher power. And I truly believe that I can deal with my codependency issues and borderline personality disorder without believing some mystical higher power is somehow going to help me. For me, God doesn't help me through much of anything. I don't think he works that way. I mean, what's God going to do that I can't? It's not prayer-in, help-out. God is not a candy machine. I refuse to believe that I can't help myself in the way of medicine, therapy, and skill building. It has turned into a discussion about higher powers and what I've found out is basically, there IS no way around addiction that does not involve a spiritual awakening and thinking that something bigger than you has to help. What happens when an atheist, for example, becomes addicted? Are they just screwed?

All I wanted were some books that would help that don't involve the 12 Steps because those take a view of God that I don't. I hope I never become alcoholic because I'd hate those steps and would need to find another way.

I'm Catholic, but with a Buddhist soul. They're not incompatible totally. Buddhism relies on understanding more than faith, so you see how much religion doesn't work for me.

This is so disheartening. I WANT to get better, but there has to be a way other than lying about my spiritual beliefs. There's no way I can change them. They are what they are. Even if I say they're changed, they won't be.

How does anyone who's reading this deal with crisis without surrendering to a higher power? Is there another kind of higher power? I even believe in God but not that I need to surrender anything to him. It's all so confusing.


Gina said...

I'm still struggling with that too. I love the "Buddhist soul" thing. That fits me perfectly.

Anonymous said...

oh my, i may have to steal "god is not a candy machine." that's the best explanation ever.

also, this made me think of barbara ehrenreich (who i have a giant nerd-crush on) on the daily show recently. jon stewart asked her (kind of out of context of what they were really discussing, btw) "if jesus makes you stop drinking, isn't that okay?" she said "no, i never think delusion is okay."

regarding higher powers, while i've never gotten any particular comfort or help from religious beliefs (actually, they caused me a hell of a lot of unnecessary grief once upon a time), the idea of higher things can be grounding to me. things that are important to me, whether it's specific stuff like my puppies or vague ideas like love or justice or whatever.

Anonymous said...

yeah, I guess I agree with lady brett that there are "higher things" to be found elsewhere than God or metaphysics. for me it can be as simple as imagining standing on a beach at night and looking out over the ocean. or snuggling with a kitten. both of those things, completely in their own ways, take me out of myself and my struggles. they're both things I can "surrender" to, completely genuinely, without feeling ridiculous.

but I'm so with you, I hate the religious tack to the 12 steps stuff. I also think, personally, that the whole idea of surrendering power to a higher being is counter-effective. what you WANT is to have power yourself. but that's a soapbox I'm not going to step on right now :)

Shereen said...

Delurking to say - you might find "The Artist's Way" an interesting take. The author Julia Cameron is a recovering alcoholic, and I think there are elements of recovery there, but it might be an introduction to a way of integrating the idea of g-d without the candy machine aspect of so much religious thought. It's a really interesting way of examining your inner life using your creative forces and spirituality. I worked my way through the book over the course of about 8 months, together with my wife, and it really was the right thing at the right time, in terms of excavating issues.

Miss Emily said...

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. I've been trying to think of other higher powers and those are some good ideas. And exactly, alphafemme! I want to have power!

Thanks for the delurk! I'll definitely check out that book.