I will choose a path that’s clear.. I will choose free will

I find some great irony in the fact that instead of 12-step programs helping me, they hindered my progress. They’re kind of like the drugs&alchohol answer to Christianity. Both of them have this fundamentally defeatist attitude that I find rather upsetting. In 12-step, you’re supposed to believe that you’re powerless, and that once a addict you’re a addict for life. In Christianity, you’re supposed to believe that mankind was born fundamentally sinful, that you’re a sinner no matter what.

I think I reject both of those ideas. I’ve been over why I think we make ‘mistakes’ in other entries, so I won’t bore you all with discussions about being a three dimensional being in a four dimensional world. But, I don’t really think that it’s true that mankind is fundamentally evil. I think it’s fundamentally neutral, with evil and good individuals.

My original suggestion for how to handle my addiction was that I go to the vendors that were selling to me with a card that gave them my name, a picture of me, and a explanation of why I’d rather not have them sell to me. I was told by various 12-step mavens that that was a horrible idea – never go back to the place where they sell to you. So I spent six months trying to make their way work – but my higher power failed to kick in, and eventually my shrink suggested that I didn’t *have* to listen to those who told me it was a horrible idea – so I did it. And it appears to have worked.

I think there’s a bunch of issues at play here. One is a empowerment issue – I think I was more willing to believe in my idea because it was my idea – and yes, I admit, that’s a little shameful – and also because it didn’t require me to go to meetings every day, or to claim that I was a addict for life – which I didn’t truly believe – or to say I was powerless and to put my faith in a higher power when I have a lot of, hrm, higher power issues.

So what I did wasn’t what the 12-steppers call ‘white knuckling it’ – for the most part, I’ve been at peace with not using and been able to enjoy being productive on the other parts of my life – and enjoy not having the headaches, nausea, and steadily mounting debt – to say nothing of the occasional psychotic break – that went with using regularly. I don’t feel like every day is a uphill battle – there have been a few days that are, but they’re few and far between.

I wouldn’t want to encourage anyone to *not* do the 12-step program, or not be a Christian, if either one gave them happiness and peace – if either one provided what they were looking for. However, neither one provided what *I* was looking for. I don’t really harbor any resentment of NA, but I still seem to resent enourmously the Christians. At least I no longer go to chat rooms to harass them. Well, at least not very often 😉

Among other things, it should be possible to determine moral behavior in a vacuum. You shouldn’t need a cryptic instruction manual to figure out what is right and what is wrong – I use a cross of ‘do unto others as you would be done to’ and ‘do unto others as they would like to be done to, except when it directly harms you or a third party’. You could probably reframe Asamov’s three laws of robotics to cover reasonable behavior for all self-aware life.

The Christians, however, get to moralizing and before you know it they’re trying to ban gay marriage, censor books and television, and make church attendance manditory (at least for their children). Funnily, I don’t think this is what Jesus – if he existed, and I think it likely that he was at least written based on some real people – wanted.

My friend Rich observed that the people who banned me from the Christian Apologetics chat got all their morality from a book and weren’t actually able to embrace the real, living thing that is being a reasonable human in a ever-changing world. I think if you get all your morality from a book that was last updated 2000 years ago, you’re making a big mistake. Among other things, a lot of what is pawned off as morals in the Bible are actually customs. Customs are important in a ‘when-in-rome’ sense, but not as important when what’s going on is behind closed doors.

I guess a lot of my anger towards Christianity is based on the fact that every new generation is fed the same old lies – made to feel shame for things that are not shameful, made to feel guilt for things that are not wrong. I see encouraging trends in the world that are counter all the current crop of religions. I have high hopes that a new one that doesn’t require a strange form of insanity to believe will come. In the meantime, I’ve been writing my own – it doesn’t have to work for anyone but me. In a sense, I feel like one of the design features of the 21st century is the ease of authoring.

One Response to “I will choose a path that’s clear.. I will choose free will”

  1. anonymous Says:

    isn’t it usually silly to have to go the extremist route that you’ll find taken in any group-structure like these? what’s up with that anyway? is just sticking with one end of the spectrum or another that much easier for people and can people really only handle what’s easy?
    isn’t there usually some routine which just isn’t running that would otherwise keep things well enough in check to maintain the balance people have enjoyed for ages? if only life ran on the command line you could figure out where that one operation fails and causes processes to run out of control, hang, barf, die… not like the contaminants are filling some kind of psycho-emotional void as so many love to say; but that something being amiss prevents ideal moderation through natural operation.

    #strace personal-life | grep “File not found” > to-do.txt

    personally i’m moving to the woods. i’m going to build a distillery, make my own whiskey and drink myself to death, alone.

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