66: Is There Really a God? (Sort Of)

Is there a god? A higher power? If there is, does this god have a particular will? Is it a punishing god that harms us to teach us lessons? Or is it a hands off god that just shows up to comfort people when life happens due to free will? Or something else entirely? Are we all just being suckers? We started this episode just talking about things we hear in meetings that we don’t believe, and ended up having a big debate about our stances on higher power and what that means in our lives. Billy is not a believer in god, per se, as in the magic man in the sky. Jason believes in a universal energy (think Starbucks chick, but cooler). We debate the existence of a higher power and how that works in our lives.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

hi welcome to recovery sort of my name is billy i’m a person in long-term recovery i’m jason i’m a guy in long-term recovery this week we thought we’d have a conversation based off some stuff i was doing with my sponsor i was going over a step with him and we came across a question that was what things have you heard in recovery that you don’t agree with or something similar to that and there’s a few for me being a person i would consider to be somewhat of an atheist or agnostic i’m never sure which title fits better i don’t know i’m not against anything i just have a hard time believing in like the mystical magical guy in the sky that moves us around on the world like chess pieces or something that thinking have never served me well maybe that’s because i was raised as a catholic i don’t know the catholic gods pretty weird yeah i would agree with that so that probably wrecked my whole version of god but in any case i’ve struggled with that couple of the sayings that i hear a lot through my time in recovery are everything happens for a reason and that god has a plan to me they’re kind of one and the same that there’s some magical force at work in the world that has deterministic outcome for exactly what’s supposed to happen in my life and your life and everyone else’s life and these things are all intimately interwoven and connected in some magical way to serve some greater will of a guy in the sky because i don’t know another way to say it yes that’s exactly right and now we can end our episode i love it i would buy in they kind of fit the same thing everything happens for a reason because it’s god’s plan yeah so they they go together i’m with that and so i don’t believe that at all i don’t believe that that’s how the world works or that’s how things go or that those are things that i just hear that i don’t agree with i don’t think things happen for a reason i think things happen because people have free will or some semblance of free will and we can go out and live however we want and do whatever we want and if i go out of here and decide that i’m gonna run my car at 100 mile an hour up and down route 40 and eventually end up in a crash i don’t believe that that’s god’s will i don’t think you can what go out there and do it you don’t think that i can nope why what i just don’t believe you can god’s will well that’s i don’t you like where that’s going don’t you i don’t get it like what do you mean i can do that you can’t though you won’t i won’t so you obviously can’t i don’t think because i won’t do something that means i can’t do something i think it does that sounds like a cop-out that’s like some crazy loophole to argument of oh no no no that’s real you can’t you physically can’t the person you are today just could not go out there and live in a way that would endanger others lives in your own okay so let me rephrase this in a way that’s real and in the world and i don’t mean to like put you in a weird space because of a tragedy that happened in my life but i say that because my nephew was 17 he was killed by a guy that was driving 100 miles an hour up and down route 40 at night ran a red light and t-boned him and his friends that guy could so right so he could so does that mean that was god’s will that he could do that and so he did and it was god’s will that he went out and you know and killed three kids unfortunately right but i and i say [ __ ] that god right so and my version of god is not i don’t want to say it’s not intelligent because it definitely is it’s not some dude picking apart the world and deciding what needs to happen and what doesn’t and and who’s worthy of living and dying like it’s not based on that and i think we often tend to look at death with a very human eyeball which skews the whole idea of when people pass like we look at it as this awful horrible negative thing instead of just they were here they served their purpose they’re returning back to the energy that they came from well i could give you 27 other examples that don’t include death of horrible things that happen to people number one god’s will so my mom was raised in an incredibly abusive environment her and her siblings were physically sexually mentally abused by their father for all of their lives until they were old enough to get out of that environment so how is that i mean does that mean god’s will was for that guy to be this horrible abusive monster and what purpose does that serve i think you want our listeners to hate me i don’t know the purposes i i don’t have the view that the god of my understanding has i don’t understand all the ins and outs of wise or whatever i would not change a moment in my life because it’s all led me to rate where i need to be i needed the tragedies the traumas the the maltreatment i needed all that and could i have lived without it yeah but would i be the person i am no and i’m very thankful that i am the person i am but there’s no guarantee that you could not have been a better person had you not better than this yes there’s no [ __ ] way there’s just no way i watch people who grow up in relatively healthy lives and they’re decent people but i just feel like when you’ve gone through some [ __ ] you come out if you come out the other side which is the unfortunate part but if you do you just you come out a really really different person so for argument’s sake i’ll loop it back to my mom and say you know she never really got any sort of counseling therapy she was never an addict so she never went to any of that stuff and so later in life i could see a lot of the way that she dealt with life and people and a mistrust and an anger towards the world that was her best life i mean that’s where so all this gets back to that’s the things that i struggle with with the whole i’ll just call it god concept i don’t even like to use the word god i use god a lot because it’s convenient and it’s words that we use in our literature yeah and i hate because even in my own mind like when i say god it invokes a concept it invokes it’s a big g it’s a thing you know it’s this force or power you know that controls things like i have preconceived notions when i say that word little g that even though i don’t believe them i’m still stuck with them as soon as i say it right so i guess you’d call that resentments yeah and i recognize that so i don’t like to use that word a lot other than for convenience or sometimes in meetings it’s easier to say god because i don’t feel like arguing with people about it afterwards which has happened i’ve talked about my higher power and what that means to me and i’ve had people come up to me after meetings and try to convince me of how wrong i was which is always fun that’s what we’re doing here today which yeah i don’t care i invite these conversations because i don’t know that i’m right and i worry actually that my thinking is setting me up for failure that i’m putting myself into a dangerous place and part of that comes from our literature you know talking about like my character defects you know my character defects of ego and all that can back me into a corner that i can’t stay clean through so stay on the mom here for a minute right okay and you say it didn’t change her it didn’t lead her to a a better life per se i would say my outside perspective of that was that it led to a lot of suffering and a lot of hardship for all of her life right so what is the purpose of life is it for everything to feel comfortable and nice and you know peaceful or is life parts nice peaceful parts suffering parts awful tragedy parts amazing incredible beauty is it all these things well i mean as far as i understand it according to the literature of our fellowship that the god piece is supposed to be loving and caring and greater than us so i don’t think that the purpose of life is supposed to be those things but if i’m serving a power that rules this life that is supposed to be loving and caring and greater than me i don’t know how those two things fit together and that’s exactly my point is i don’t think life is all about being happy and free of suffering and all those things quite the contrary right what if the purpose of life is to have a relationship with this god and he just always gives you things like daisies that smell great in your front yard and you know no trauma in your childhood and just beautiful horses that run through your backyard with [ __ ] unicorns on them and [ __ ] like would you ever turn to him and talk to him or would you not [ __ ] need him i think god is there only for like those awful times that’s when i’m reminded oh [ __ ] i need comforting man i better turn to this power and remember that i am not the power that’s run in this life i need something bigger and i’m not saying that like there’s some giant douchebag in the sky like pointing his magic stick and being like oh billy’s not paying attention to me let me have some [ __ ] up [ __ ] right let me take one of his kids from him so he’ll look at me but i think it’s just like that loving comfort that we get when we turn to it and yeah so i posted this on twitter just last night because he brought it up and i was like that’s interesting and candace came up with god won’t give you more than you can handle and i have never liked that one either because if i could handle everything what the [ __ ] do i need god for right like i get more than i can handle so that i’m reminded or i i don’t like saying it that way because that makes it sound like god’s just punishing everybody to you know hey look at me [ __ ] you forgot me but more like i guess my life regularly reminds me just because life is hard in that difficulty and struggle of life i’m regularly reminded that there’s a place i can go to seek some comfort from that and look the whole you mentioned before we started god works through other people sometimes that’s through a loving companion or a friend that listens to me and gives me a hug right sometimes when i’m alone that’s just me talking to god and reminding myself that i’m not alone i want to go back to the the comfort part because this is it’s interesting so jen and i were talking with our kids about some of this at dinner the other day and she brought up the point of and i’m trying to remember exactly how she said it but she said something to the fact of don’t you just know can’t you just feel god’s love in your life like can’t you just feel that there’s a god and that he loves you and my answer to that was no in fact i’ve never felt that in my life i’ve never felt that i no so when you talk about this comfort that you get from god i don’t get that like i never have had that and i don’t think that’s something that i have done or not done right it’s just not something that i can identify with hmm so say you’re struggling with delusions right and maybe some hallucinations and somebody puts a ham and cheese sandwich in front of you and you’re starving but in your delusions and hallucinations you don’t see it or believe it’s there like you just think it’s fake or don’t even see it at all there’s no way for you to possibly get fed and feel full from that sandwich if you don’t believe in it you don’t believe in god how in the hell would you ever feel it so there are points in my life where i would say i believed in god and i really tried early in my recovery i got involved with a church christian i did a lot of work on my first couple of steps about opening my mind to the ideas of god and i went to church and i saw you know what i felt like with all sincerity and open mindedness and willingness sought to build and connect and improve on this relationship with god that everyone talks about and long story short for me that came up feeling empty at the end of five or so years of that endeavor now interestingly enough and this is something jen and i were talking about as well so even over the time that i would still say i’m an atheist i still have gone to christian services and christian churches and all that because i do believe there’s a beautiful wonderful message there in certain places and there was a church that we went to when we were in massachusetts and i loved it i made a point to go there every sunday i love the service and the pastor and his message about god and jesus and all that it was awesome it was very uplifting and spiritual but i can’t say that i felt a connection to god i mean you’re a little skeptical aren’t you so i definitely am now as i’ve gotten older i’ve gotten more skeptical than ever yeah i was just picturing you going in and like wholeheartedly trying to to believe or seek for this power but also being skeptical at the same time i feel like that would oh no when we were in massachusetts it was to i was already like i knew i was an atheist going in i wasn’t going and letting them try to convince me of god i was going in just because i meant even before that though when you were saying you gave it a you know a good old college try or whatever you were saying like so i am skeptical because my nature is skepticism i mean that’s just the way i approach most of life i want to analyze things and understand how they work and what they do and i’m a skeptic by just my nature so to clarify for you and and for you listener i am not trying to convince anyone that there is god who the [ __ ] am i to say right if what you’re doing is working for you you know don’t listen to me i’m not here to argue the point we’re having a nice conversation about this is what i have felt god like when i’ve been alone when i’ve been in pain when i’ve reached out i have felt a source of comfort reach out to me in return like your wife talked about and so i i don’t know if you aren’t capable of feeling that because you don’t believe in god i don’t know if you aren’t capable of feeling that because it’s not real and i completely made it up in my head like i i don’t know if you aren’t capable of feeling that because you’re just a little skeptical so even when you gave it a good try you weren’t all in i have no idea yeah and there were two reasons i wanted to talk about some of this specifically on here with you one because i know we have slightly different opinions of that but i still i respect and admire you and your recovery and your version of getting the same i’m not trying to convince you of anything secondly i don’t always trust my own judgment like say i could be missing something or setting myself up and missing an opportunity that i would otherwise not see left to my own devices so i think it’s important for me to talk about these things and there was a there’s actually a third thing was that i have sponsored people over the years and i’m currently working with a guy that struggles with some of these same things and it’s not always comfortable to go into a meeting and say i don’t really believe in god like you guys are telling me i have to believe and if you say that in a meeting someone will come correct you very quickly they’ll definitely look at you and you will definitely get you get side eye all mean accosted i don’t know acosta is the right word but i’ve felt like i have had to defend myself by saying those things in a meeting i still to this day will go in and say a lot that the relationship with god and a higher power has been my single biggest struggle throughout my recovery it’s been the area that i have felt the weakest you know that that i felt the least strong in my recovery that at times i felt like something was missing or that something was lacking and now i’m at a point where i don’t feel like something is missing or lacking i feel like my recovery is strong and i’m trying to solidify or identify how this higher power works for me now today and that more than ever you know that now just stopping trying to force beliefs that don’t fit or put myself in a place that feels very uncomfortable and fake you know that didn’t seem to feel as good as just taking ownership of what i think and how i feel and being honest about it and talking about it with people in recovery and saying hey you know what this is how i feel and think about these things and we have some literature that i wouldn’t even say it contradicts so that’s part of the fun too is i can fit most of what i think into the literature and into the step work and into my concept of you know my higher powers will and what that looks like and what that means and make it work i really just want other people to feel like you don’t need to try to fake it you know you don’t need to try to i believe it’s in the second step it might be in the third step there’s a saying about our beliefs come not from dogma but from what works for us you know and i think for a lot of years i was trying to really force the dogma apart man you said so many things i wanted to talk about but i was really being a good listener so i forgot them all one i found it interesting that you used the word uh you felt weak in that area and the week happened to be the word that came out because it talks in our literature somewhere about god being our greatest source of strength and courage and i’m like huh of course you’d feel weak without him which just made me laugh yeah i’ve i’ve seen people share about atheism and recovery in a meeting and and was one of the judgmental eyeballs like what the [ __ ] are you talking about no i look i respect people who work this program in any way shape or form really even i would say exponentially more having this podcast with you and hearing all your views and really appreciating the takes you have on some of these steps that are like outside the box of what i’ve looked at these steps as but really fundamentally useful information and i know like we mentioned with stephanie last week there’s a lot of people who appreciate that because not everybody does believe in god i think my problem isn’t so much the judgment of that it’s wrong it’s just the because of my understanding and how this program works for me i’m baffled that people could do it without god like that’s what blows my mind it’s not really a judgment it’s just a fascination and a a disbelief i guess to an extent it’s like wow how does that work how the [ __ ] can you figure out god’s will and pray for it and do it when there ain’t no god like i just i’m baffled by all that what it’s all random like i i really don’t get that concept and the more i’ve learned about anything science whatever i’ve actually been led closer to god through every last thing i’ve learned in life all these i guess they say science like pushes you away from god and i’ve always just felt like science pushed me closer to god in all my understandings and i’ve heard that as well from people that i know that are scientists and a guy i know that was a chemist work for ai dupont and people that i know that are really into science have actually said the same thing like this this can’t possibly be this random thing that there’s got to be a greater force of greater power whatever a god and that’s directing all this i don’t know i i mean that part i don’t spend a lot of time contemplating where we came from or whether the big bang theory is better than the bible or i mean either of them sound sort of ridiculous to me like what just the thing banged and we came out of nothing there was everything like that humans yeah that makes about as much sense as you know right dude snapping his fingers and saying we got trees you like one’s just as equal as the other i’m not saying one’s better than the other so i don’t spend a lot of time there or in creationism where things came from or how they come to be maybe if i did that would help me have a better understanding of god maybe not i will say though i have spent a considerable amount of time trying to understand what god’s will early in recovery didn’t matter what god’s will was it’s like well i know it’s just loving caring and greater than me and that’s good enough and i’ll just keep working steps and i’ll keep going to meetings and i’ll stay engaged in the process of recovery and that’s all i need to know that’s good enough yeah keep working the steps and don’t get high yeah that was it god’s will and that’s how i yeah that’s how i understood god’s will to be says who who says working the steps and not getting high as god’s will i mean just people in meetings that’s yeah power’s greater than me at the time do i believe that though what i mean so honestly this is taking me to a weird place right now i do believe that everything happens for a reason and i don’t know that god’s will for everyone is to work the steps and not get high anymore i just believe the wrong parts of our program yeah i don’t believe that so i don’t believe god’s will works like that at all anyway so i don’t believe any whether you work the steps or don’t work the steps or none of that’s god’s will of my understanding now just like god’s will doesn’t have any effect on where i work or where i live or where i buy a house or don’t buy a house you know like none of that to me is anything to do with god’s will i want to go straight back to my circular argument like you couldn’t have not worked the steps you couldn’t have made any other choice any other way so and i know you’re not a big fan of his but sam harris would argue that that is actually your lack of free will that has nothing to do with god’s will it has to do with your what they call that you like your neuro science your neuro makeup and if we took all these inputs and we understood everything that went into your decision making we could predict what your next choice would be before you ever made it and you wouldn’t be able to choose any other way and i would argue that sam harris is like all of science trying to explain god that just is right so yeah whether we put this label of god’s will onto that or not i guess it’s just a way of looking at a different thing i mean i would agree i don’t have a say over what things i like or what i don’t like although i don’t know if that’s true either now that i say that like i can remember trying beer or trying coffee for the first time and not liking them so much but i [ __ ] stayed at it until i adapted a an acquired taste and acquired taste so i do have some control over some of those things do you though could you have chosen not to stick with drinking them i don’t think so so that makes it god’s will this episode has been brought to you by voices of hope inc a non-profit grassroots recovery community organization located in maryland voices of hope is made up of people in recovery family members and allies together members strive to protect the dignity and respect of those that use drugs and those in recovery by advocating for treatment support resources and mentoring please visit us at www.voicesofhopecilmd.org and consider donating to our calls

so how i have begun to understand god’s will and this is the part i’ve been thinking a lot about recently which is why i wanted to bring it up on here like is this just crazy person thinking because [ __ ] i say inside my head sounds all deep and profound and then you say it out loud it’s like that sounds like ramblings of a crazy person and i gotta watch that because i will say some pretty dumb [ __ ] to myself and think that it sounds really good so lately i look at god’s will is the opportunities to do good and serve others in my life in my day and so when i pray or meditate for god’s will i’m trying to keep myself in a place to look for every opportunity in my life and in my day to serve others to be loving kind and compassionate and to do good in the world so that’s god’s will at the moment yes awareness to have an opportunity to be good to people yes well god’s will is the opportunity to be good to other people my responsibility i guess is seeking out those opportunities so we say that at least i’ve always heard one of these sayings that like god’s will happens through other people that god acts through others right and i guess in a somewhat sort of way i would say i agree with that my higher power i’m gonna get away from god and say my higher powers purpose is derived through the actions of others i think you believe in god it’s just not the magic wand god in the sky you believe that collectively humans are god something to that effect yeah so i believe there’s a higher calling or higher purpose in the world than to serve my own immediate needs and wants above all others that doesn’t mean that i don’t have needs and wants that are okay that doesn’t mean that every decision i make i need to completely throw out any desire of good things that i have but that there’s a higher purpose or higher calling happening in the world that i can choose to be a part of so to give an example would be there’s a community center that we want to build for people in our neighborhood to help them with whatever and a collection of 20 people get together and build this community center you know that community center is a higher purpose you know that’s the higher value we’re doing something a bunch of individual efforts are coming together to push forward goodness um so i don’t think the goodness directs to and this is where it gets with recovery and recovery language and everything has a purpose and all that [ __ ] this is where that part fails for me is i don’t believe that there’s a community center that needs to be built and that [ __ ] community center is going to get built and it’s going to go out and randomly pick 20 people to get it accomplished oh yeah yes that’s the part that that’s where it breaks down for me i believe that it’s only through the efforts of the 20 people that the will of the higher power gets accomplished hmm i don’t know that they’re any different the community center is something that’s going to be i guess and those 20 people couldn’t not help build it would be my take on that i think well i worry for myself that if i sit around and make god’s will and excuse for everything that i do or don’t do it gives me an outlet or a back door to excuse any sorts of behavior that i want in my life now you sound like me yeah i feel like i’m always the one looking for the where this can go to its worst place and you’re like well we don’t judge things by that that’s not how it works that sounds like one of my arguments because look i i believe in god’s will but i’m not blaming away any of my actions on god after i do them they just are like i i believe that they had to happen i do believe i’m responsible for them if i go sleep with some other women today and my wife finds out about it i’m responsible for the way she feels regardless i did it doesn’t mean i don’t think it wasn’t god’s will and needed to happen for some purpose in one of our lives all of our lives ripple effect into you know lives 60 years from now like for some purpose i believe it had to happen but i’m not using that as an excuse for everything i do like oh it’s cool i had to do it that way yeah see that whole thing right there is like oh you want to live and serve a god that directly causes you to go out and harm other people to teach some lesson like [ __ ] that’s like a shitty abusive parent like i don’t really teach a lesson it’s just the way we operate yeah again and this is that’s where it falls apart like that’s where i’m like [ __ ] that god so a lot of this came and i might have shared about this before or might have mentioned this on here before but my relationship with what i felt like was the god that the program told me i had to have fell apart when my kids got molested like that’s where that god i really felt like [ __ ] that guy like that understanding of a higher power working in my life all on me i don’t put this on anyone else this is nothing to do with the program i don’t think the program steered me wrong i don’t think anybody lied to me or misled me but my understanding of all of my concept of god up to that point i felt like i was trying to take parts and work them in my life and remain open-minded and make them fit and and really trying to love and serve and appreciate that version of a higher power and then that tragic thing happened in my life and i couldn’t i wasn’t comfortable there anymore you know what i mean like i i no longer saw the purpose of sir and and made a decision just like i would in n a like if i felt n a was causing harm to me in my life today i would stop coming tomorrow i would not continue to come here not here but i would not continue to go to a program or a fellowship that i felt like was causing harm or detriment to me in my life and that’s what i felt like happened with my relationship with that understanding of a higher power like i felt like all of a sudden wait a minute this is a higher power that supposed to believe is loving caring and directing all areas of my life and now it directly caused me and my children and my family some immediate harm that did ripple effect out through our entire family it ruined relationships with my wife and her sisters i ruined relationships with my kids and their grandparents and their grandmother who they still never see and and whatever maybe that’s for and this is where the [ __ ] breaks down it’s like well that’s supposed to be for some purpose that i don’t get to understand or that has to do with something outside of me like no there was a lot of [ __ ] suffering and hurt that happened there and if that’s the way that someone wants to teach me a lesson like [ __ ] that guy if that’s the way that i was apparent to my children that i abused and caused them a bunch of harm so that they could learn a lesson later in life i don’t want to be that kind of parent you keep taking it back to a lesson though and i think my understanding is less uh i can make meaning out of these things which is cool i can make them into lessons and and learning opportunities but i just think life is this rich full gift and we’re only getting half of it if we only get the good [ __ ] yeah it doesn’t feel good to be in the moment a lot of times it’s hard to deal with grief bereavement tragedy trauma you know unexpected circumstances that aren’t what we want to happen but i i think all of those i think without those life would be half as [ __ ] full and rich and i know 99 of the world would probably just [ __ ] agree with me right now like no it should be beaches and [ __ ] cuddles and cotton candy and [ __ ] i just don’t believe that i think without these really hard things life isn’t full it’s just my belief it’s not about it being a lesson or anything we just we need these pieces all these different parts of life to really appreciate the beauty of like what life really is which isn’t this relaxing on a [ __ ] tropical beach with cotton candy and unicorns and hugs it’s this experience that’s like deep and hard and and beautiful and and joyous and and we cry together and we you know go through tragedies together but then we also get to celebrate together it’s all this this is what life is it’s this beautiful beginning and this hard ending and all of it makes up what we’re supposed to experience here and without it we’d be getting robbed of that experience and so i would agree with all that i mean i definitely feel like life is i don’t believe it’s supposed to be like all good or all bad or we’re supposed to be devoid of pain or suffering or misery or any of that i struggle to see how giving credence to some god helps that or justifies that like is that the hardest thing you’ve gone through your kids going through that situation is that the most difficult part of your life in recovery probably i mean well i’ve suffered my own sexual abuse as a kid and that’s been so long ago though like i feel like i’ve grown and done work to get through that in recovery definitely that probably the loss of my mom we lost a child we had a miscarriage that was pretty tough i mean i i think the hardest things are what take us to those breaking points on either end of that spectrum like those are the most beautiful and most vibrant parts of our life and make it the fullest when we’re extended to our furthest limits on either end of that spectrum right so i would say you say what kind of god would want to make that happen to teach me a lesson and i’m saying god would have robbed you of a fuller life had you not had it and i know that sounds like absolute dog [ __ ] and i feel like i said whenever we talk about this situation in particular i’m like god i just people okay no i don’t think it is nah people should be open-minded i don’t take it any kind of offensive way like i should i agree with what you’re saying i just feel like for me i can’t i don’t know why that god part of that but like i agree with all of that i i think you know our life and our experience is like life to me is all about experiences and you’re going to have good ones and bad ones and i’m not and this is again where all the god and religion and all those things come together and [ __ ] me up so for me i’m just here and i’m living a life and i didn’t get to pick when it started i didn’t get to pick where it started i didn’t get to pick why it started i was just put here in this place and now i can choose to go out and live it in whatever form fashion or you know means i want and that my quality of life is my responsibility what i get out of life has a lot to do with not all because there’s still going to be a lot of things that are outside of my control like say i didn’t get to pick where i was born what country i was born in you know any of those things so i am privileged in a lot of ways that were beyond any efforts that i made but i also have to take some responsibility for where i’m at and what i’m doing and what course that i direct my life in because there are some things that i have responsibility for or choices in that i should be seeking out the best ways to live my life are there though neither of us believe you can truly go out here and drive up and down 40 at 100 miles an hour neither of us believe you can do that i don’t think because of who you are so how much control do you really have and over what if that’s true for that instance because of who you are then how do we also not know that you have the job you have just because of who you are and you are with your wife and raise your kids as a good dad just because you have no other choice so therein lies my responsibility i feel if i went out here tomorrow and said you know what i think i’m going to get involved with a satan church they love satan and evil and [ __ ] yeah let’s do it and i started going there weekly and reading that literature and and putting a lot of those ideas in my head i would be capable of doing some pretty harmful [ __ ] after a little while i believe that if that’s the information that i’m intaking and seeking and putting into my [ __ ] thought pattern that that will directly influence the way that i approach life in vice versa that’s where for me you know the program comes in or or you know where my higher power works through the other people in my life like it’s important for me to seek out healthy people that are reinforcing ideas or living and reinforcing beliefs and things that i want to be in my life you know does that make sense for the record i don’t know that people who worship state and actually want to do evil i’m really not sure about that it’s a little unclear in my head okay well let’s decide i want to be a serial killer and so i start just going out and reading all sorts of serial killers you know i’m just no i get it and this is where i’m going 80 satan movie you know right no no this is where the the argument like stalls out every time because i just don’t think you could make those choices just participate in that stuff or that don’t think you could do it for most people it happens slowly over time it’s just like when i first started using drugs i didn’t ever make the decision that yeah i’m going to shoot up and i don’t think that when i was 14 and went out smoked pot that i could have shot up or 13 whatever age i was when i started i don’t think i could have went out right then and been like yeah [ __ ] yeah heroin and started shooting up right like no i was incapable of that at that time right but i pursued that lifestyle and that course of direction in my life to the point where that’s where it led to yeah and then you were incapable of not shooting up and then you got clean and were incapable of shooting up again i agree with all these you’re so i just my story isn’t out of control i did stop shooting up right but i kept using for a long time but when you were doing it you couldn’t stop and then when you stopped you couldn’t start again yeah i only did it a couple of times yeah i wasn’t like a major i was like holy [ __ ] this is insane what am i doing oh man and then i went to jail so it didn’t matter no wonder you don’t believe in god

yeah there’s a certain part of responsib you know it’s it’s trying to work out like that line between what’s my responsibility and and what’s not if you’ve never shot a speed ball then no wonder you don’t believe in god no i i’m saying and and this is the the circular reasoning which is why i’m definitely not trying to prove any argument here but whenever you were doing or not doing any of those things i liked your idea of when you smoked weed you were incapable of running out the door and saying [ __ ] yeah heroin and shooting it i agree i agree we don’t have control that’s my whole point i don’t think we have control you weren’t you didn’t have control then to go out and decide to be a super heroine user and then when you were a heroin user you didn’t have control to stop being a heroin user and then whenever you stopped being a heroin user you no longer have the control to go be a heroin user again you can’t go out here today and get high crazy thought isn’t it [ __ ] you up i don’t know i don’t know how else to look at it i don’t think you have a choice and i would agree with that i’m just trying to see how that fits in with i guess i’m making the connection with god and again maybe it comes back to where i have my resentments towards god that keep me from making that connection right if i had to have a take on this i would say your unwillingness to give god credit i hate to give credit for what happened to your kids but your unwillingness to even bring god into that situation just has to do with the fact that you don’t like that situation and you wished it never happened and you couldn’t control it well i guess there’s a struggle with at least program language that this god needs to be loving caring and greater than us is that is that in our literature now that i’m like is that actually in our literature yeah that’s just some [ __ ] that people no that’s in there okay that’s definitely in there i mean i do i don’t know i guess and and i have a very skewed view i’m i’m not in the you know the bell curve i’m not in the normalness yeah for sure but i i don’t know that so-called quote-unquote bad things happening to us that we label bad i don’t know that that’s not also loving and caring my kid just wants to eat ice cream a loving caring parent would just give him good tasty ice cream every night for dinner but i know that eating these things that don’t taste as well is actually better for his full growth and development so here’s where i think the differences are because i agree that’s that’s true you know my kid wants to eat ice cream all the time but i there are ways that i can help them not eat ice cream every day that don’t involve sitting them down on the couch and making them eat ice cream until they throw up no i’m saying we gotta feed them the broccoli we gotta feed them the peas we gotta feed them the green beans and look i do really shitty at feeding my kids these things so don’t take this as gospel for sure but those things don’t taste good they taste like ass after you’ve had ice cream and candy bars and [ __ ] who the [ __ ] wants broccoli bro it’s i ugh right but if i have a loving caring god in my life isn’t that supposed to teach me or and i go back to the lessons shouldn’t my experiences of life be loving and caring and not no the loving caring god is there to provide what’s going to give you the most beneficial growth and development for your life just like a kid needs that shitty taste in broccoli that’s not enjoyable to have the most growth and development for their physical body and as a loving parent that’s what i’m going to provide them instead of the good tasting comfort ice cream right i have to provide them with the shitty part of food in order to help their growth and development because i ultimately know that’s what’s best for them that’s the same theory i think with god he’s got to provide the [ __ ] that doesn’t feel so great because that’s what’s best for our growth and development it’s not just getting you know massages and uh good vibes all day long that’s not what really helps our growth and development completely that’s half of them and that’s i i think where i struggle is the is that really what’s best for my growth and development i don’t trust that and again maybe that’s why i had to seek out a new understanding of a higher power because that one was like i didn’t trust it anymore you know what i mean i didn’t trust that process anymore i didn’t trust that this and recovery and living this way was giving me the life that i wanted to live and so whether whether you’re saying that this is what needed to happen to your life or not right whether this had to happen to your kids or your mom and her situation i don’t think those things happening necessarily make god not loving and caring i guess that’s my point i could see where both of those loving and caring god and tragedies exist in the same place okay maybe it’s god’s will that i had those experiences so that i could be an atheist voice in recovery i would say at this point in time that is absolutely true i can help other people not believe in god there you go they need a voice so no and i do enjoy talking to you about some of this it challenges me to think i have these same conversations with my wife i think she gets mad at me though because she gets offended yeah and i don’t want to come across offensive i have shared with people there there are definitely times honestly that i feel i don’t know what the word is like i’m jealous of people that come in and share about this faith that they have in this higher power and this trust and this like you were saying like this comfort and this love and this energy that they get from this belief in this higher power and it is it is a jealousy it’s like man i have tried that and i don’t get that from it you know and i don’t know so yes there is some jealousy or resentment there for that as well right my god’s too cool he’s not offended if you don’t believe in him he doesn’t give a [ __ ] he doesn’t care nope so therefore i’m not offended either yeah yeah i don’t know man i can’t imagine trying to navigate life without it and you know this podcast and talking to you and your view kind of that people adapt religion for a method of comfort in their life like that’s the only purpose it really serves it’s made up and all that i’ve like tried to examine that with my own life i’m like did i just [ __ ] buy into this god thing because it feels better and feels like a purpose and i don’t know i kind of dwelled on it for a little while and i was like i don’t know if i did who gives a [ __ ] like it’s great and that is how i sold myself on church for a long time i examined it and it still to this day holds true i don’t feel like there was any negative impact on my life for the years that we were involved in the church and went to church every sunday and the lessons that we learned and the relationships that we built there there was really no negative experience i could take out of that involvement with that church it was a positive experience overall and see i have a really hard time finding god in church yeah i’ve heard that from people too we’ve we’ve searched a lot though and that’s like say there’s been two churches specifically the one we were at for a long time a lot of it for me has to do with what message the pastor’s putting out right both of the places that i found the most rewarding were places where they focused way more on like the loving caring forgiving helping others aspects of like jesus in the new testament then uh believe this or you’re gonna go to hell aspects of i mean they always still throw that in there now believe in jesus or you’re gonna go to hell except jesus in your heart or you’re gonna burn like they slip that in there but that wasn’t the overwhelming drive of the message the overwhelming drive of the message in both of these places was the things that you had talked about like there is this loving higher power in the world that provides you comfort and love and peace and all these things and if you seek it out you know you can you can find it in your greatest times of tragedy and your greatest times of grief and can guide you and give you strength when you need it you know for direction and i f in both of those places you know i was getting those things there i do love me some jesus yeah i do i’m a big fan if you have a good pastor who focuses on what i’ll call the right aspects i’ll put my judgment in the right aspects of religion you know it can be still be a positive experience i think i could probably do better with it now like i think i couldn’t find god in church that’s for sure i yeah i never did but if i go there now i’d probably see god in church but i just it’s like i got a better thing to do on sunday morning personally i don’t need that practice to inform my practices with my god i can do them all kinds of other dates and times and they work just as well where i’m at so yeah but yeah i mean i it’s super interesting i just yeah i don’t know how to define god’s will without god like that just seems kind of weird to me so that throws me off and then the whole idea of everything happening for a reason i just buy into that yeah but i buy into it in a way that isn’t what i hear from a lot of people like most people that i hear like yeah everything happens for a reason and we have free will and this and like i don’t even really buy into free will a whole lot personally i don’t know i’m not big on that now that i know about kind of that stuff like you say i i know that i am almost like a computer and that if you put in a bunch of inputs this is what you’re gonna get out yeah there was one more that i brought up in there and i know this is one you don’t particularly care for either the some may die some must die so that others may live like that’s another i hate that saying i feel like that’s i don’t even understand why i mean i understand why people say it but if you like when i look into the words or the meaning behind it i’m like what is that [ __ ] that doesn’t even mean anything i’ve never liked it but honestly after we kind of were texting about it last night i was like i kind of do believe it why what just in a general grand world sort of way we wouldn’t all be able to exist we would run out of resources like some of us do have to [ __ ] die so that others can’t live i’m like [ __ ] that’s true so you’re meaning that from a completely practical stance from the human world so from a completely practical standpoint i would agree with it i guess i’m assimilating it to how it’s used in recovery how it’s typically used in our meetings which my understanding was people got to go out and overdose or died as a direct result of addiction so that other people will get the motivation to stay clean yeah that’s kind of how it sounds but after i realized that it’s sort of true for the world i was like who am i to say it’s not like maybe it is true for na like maybe if we had too many [ __ ] in na it wouldn’t work i kind of believe that’s where we’re at now personally like it’s i don’t want to say watered down but it’s not as effectual when there’s so many new people in the program and and if i believe everything happens for a reason then obviously some of us do have to die i don’t know if it’s connected to others

why do other people need people to die like maybe if we just said some of us had to die okay yeah we gotta die at some point we can’t all live forever that’s for sure maybe they should just say all of us have to die yeah that’s a very true statement so yeah yeah i don’t i don’t know though but i i guess just seeing it for the first time in the fact that it is true about the world makes me say maybe it is true i’ve never liked it or thought it is but maybe it is yeah i don’t i don’t know how i still don’t like it yeah i don’t like the intention behind it yeah i i don’t think people use it in a way that means you know resource wise we only have so many like well i think they want when people say this we want to try to give some sort of comfort and to say that that person’s life had some kind of meaning is that what you think it is i think that’s what most people intend behind that i have never taken it that way no no wow yeah they lost the point then if they were trying to express that i don’t know what i thought the point was that maybe the motivation thing maybe just an excuse maybe like to give importance to those of us who do live like hey we should keep living because some of these people died for us or i don’t [ __ ] know yeah it’s a weird thing yeah maybe i need to ask people that say it the next time they say it what do you mean i know what i think you mean and i think it’s not a good way to say that i think we should start yeah everybody out there next time you hear that in a meeting ask them what they mean by it and write don’t get offended by it just write the explanation back to us because i would love to know what they mean i have no idea i’m going to start asking i’m going to place a bet right now that 50 of them say oh i don’t know it is just what we say i’m not betting against that uh joshua mentioned the giant step nine loophole and said he believes there’s evidence that bill w actually created it so that he was allowed to hide his affairs from his wife which is interesting and he sent me a couple websites that i haven’t got to check out yet but i’m going to just because i’m curious my my here i am back to me again you don’t have to be me now but we could definitely take the so-called loophole in step nine and say to do no more harm i’m not gonna disclose the things i’ve done to hurt people which i don’t think is fair i would agree i found that in my step there was definitely people on my eight step where i’m like [ __ ] this is gonna be tough to like go to them and say i did this thing or admit i did this harm and then when i got the nine be like oh i don’t even have to i don’t know so i don’t have to [ __ ] say a word well in fact if i say words like that it’s gonna it’s gonna make it worse yeah so yeah that’s true that’s a tricky one pamela mentioned that she’s heard the big book is the only book and i was like huh we kind of have a similar thing in our program where it’s like the whole that’s one away one disease one program one fellowship and all that good stuff and like i bought into that for a while because i thought that was the reality and it makes sense to some extent because our system is set up to deal with addiction and not a substance and so we can kind of say it manifests in a bunch of different ways but i have just found so much useful information outside of you know my 12-step fellowship that i don’t like that one anymore either i would agree with that i felt the same in the beginning i’m like this is all i ever need in my life and a will fix everything you know it’s the answer to the world and i don’t necessarily agree with that david says stick with the winners he said in his book if you make it in the door you’re a winner and i thought that was an interesting one to not like i was kind of you know and i asked him i’m like was there a nicer way to say uh stick with people who are working the program because that gives you better chances of success i feel like that’s what we’re trying to say when we say stick with the winners the people in the middle of the program who are really writing steps and going over them like this is where my judgmental [ __ ] will probably get me in trouble but i don’t think everybody that comes in is a winner there’s some sick [ __ ] that come in here you know not everyone comes in with good intentions not everyone comes in with an honest desire to stay clean not everyone comes in with healthy morals and values it’s important for me to be mindful of who i surround myself with not that i won’t help other people or go out well i don’t know that’s a tough one yeah i don’t know either it was interesting i mean we went back and forth a little bit about it i don’t use that saying per se but i definitely agree with it it does seem judgy i encourage it and people i mean i tell people that i sponsor like you gotta [ __ ] get in the middle of this thing and get involved and get around people that are living and doing this i mean we always look at it from the standpoint of like yeah stick with the winners it’s a positive thing but i guess what gets lost in that is that if we’re picking the winners we’re also picking the losers yeah we don’t ever talk about that part stay away from the losers if we went around saying that we’d be like that’s a judgmental [ __ ] saying but that’s what we’re saying we’re saying stay away from the [ __ ] losers and i heard early on exactly that like it’s important for me to judge people in their recovery i mean it’s not so good that i run around being self-righteous or calling people out or acting like a [ __ ] [ __ ] about it but it’s important that i judge other people in here because if i get myself into the wrong crowd or the wrong group i can easily be led astray i mean i heard people say that when i first got clean like we do judge each other around here that is the thing that happens and we should that’s life i mean i judge whether how close i want to get to the edge of the [ __ ] cliff you know like how close do i feel safe and and if i judge wrong i could die like i i don’t necessarily think judging’s bad i heard one time to to judge without contempt that’s not the word that they use but it was basically like when you’re judging judge for the safety of yourself but judge with compassion right it’s not about judging to like shame anybody or make them feel worse or put them down it’s just we need to judge things in life should i eat this [ __ ] berry that looks poisonous or this apple like well i think i’m gonna eat the apple right and see that that’s where again for me like back to the god’s will thing like my servant you know the higher powers will is to be available to help and guide and direct that person but not to the point where i put myself in harm’s way that’s the knowledge that i’m seeking when i seek god’s will is how do i still love and help and support this person but in a way that keeps me safe and healthy and not putting myself at risk do you need to be at risk yeah but yeah so don’t stay away from the losers i’ve heard that too i don’t necessarily like but that if you’re not getting hurt by newcomers in recovery you’re not getting close enough to people something like that hmm yeah i agree with that one yeah that’s the saying i’ve heard you don’t like that one uh i would agree that if you’re not getting hurt by and it depends on what you mean by hurt but yeah when people [ __ ] relapse and die oh yeah yeah i mean if we’ve put ourselves in position and opened up to people like if we i don’t i think we’re closed off from feeling in relationships if not yeah and i think i used to feel differently about that because i wasn’t as close to many newcomers when i had probably eight to 10 12 years clean i really wasn’t too interested in being around too many new people not necessarily on purpose like it wasn’t like a conscious choice of like i’m not getting around new people but it was like i had a life where i was working a regular job and taking vacations to nice places and going and [ __ ] hanging out at the coffee shop till 10 11 o’clock at night just was not appealing to me in my life and the issues and stuff that i was going through weren’t very appealing and i was doing some h i work at that time so i guess i got a little bit of connection with newcomers but in meetings i wasn’t really around very many and didn’t make myself very available to them i just at this point kind of question my usefulness for newer members like i feel like they’re just they need something a little less where i’m at if that makes any sense but i don’t know i still try yeah i try to relate and help i don’t know though mr brown mr brown’s nemesis sorry not mr brown mr brown’s nemesis said that he she just didn’t want it enough he doesn’t like that saying because why are we gonna judge their want like what the hell difference there’s people out there who can’t get it that want the hell out of it but is there some level of want we we also say this isn’t for people who need it it’s for people who want it but it’s not for people who want it for people who do it right and so i i don’t know i get it like what it doesn’t really serve a whole lot of purpose to judge whether they wanted it enough or not that’s kind of a cop out on like i don’t have to care that they’re dead they didn’t want it enough it’s their fault yeah that’s a tough one i’ve heard it said in our literature at least in n a it used to say the only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop using and that they took the word honest out of it because they wanted to stop judging people’s desire you got a lion desire god damn it and then blessed and grateful said on page 24 the big book we it says we are unable to bring into consciousness the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week ago we are without defense against the first drink and she points out that it seems like going to meetings listening doing step work is a defense against it and i kind of feel the same way i’m like there are times where i have that euphoric recall but i’m not always in that place there’s definitely times where i’m like god that was [ __ ] miserable being out there doing that so that does seem like an overstatement of yeah yeah all the things all the work that i do is to keep me from getting to that place right the tape all the way out of why i’m doing all this it certainly ain’t because i want to he must have wrote that line while he was [ __ ] one of his cheating affairs that’s why it doesn’t make any sense i don’t know the whole build w cheating cheating affair thing i don’t either i’m going to look into it i’m curious yeah i mean i’ve heard some other stuff about bill w but i don’t really care what he did personally so yeah i guess the point of all this like there’s things that we say in meetings that maybe we shouldn’t listen to take what you need and leave the rest maybe maybe they’re the cliches maybe they’re just some guy randomly sharing some weird stuff i don’t know but there’s definitely things from meetings and if you don’t know ask people right ask your sponsor ask your network talk to people about it find out what you believe for sure ultimately the goal in our literature says to find out how this program works for ourselves right we we all decide how this actually works for us yeah and i feel the beauty of the program is the anonymity to practice it in a way that works best for us you know that there are so many different people with different opinions and varying views that’s where sponsorship has helped me tremendously that’s where relationships with people that have different ideas that we can hopefully talk about honestly and openly without arguing or being judgmental or you know criticizing each other where we allow people to come and free expression of thinking and living life we’re all here just trying to get another day and right get through this thing hopefully and improve our lives in one way or another so if you want to tell me how right i am about believing in god feel free to reach out to us and if you want to agree with billy then i guess you can also reach out to us no you can’t get a hold of me on social media so i’ll pass it along reluctantly yeah anything else no that was fun cool yeah i enjoyed that discussion too so we’ll see you next week share this podcast with people in your life who might enjoy it check out recoveryswordup.com to find our episodes and link up with us on facebook twitter and instagram we’re always looking for new and interesting ideas for topics sort of if you have any ideas for episodes or think you have something to come on and talk about reach out to us