158: Spiritual Principle – Faith (Sort Of)


Is faith really a spiritual principle? What is it? A belief in something? What does this belief do for us? How in the world would you practice faith? Faith is defined in many ways. Some level of belief applied to a situation that you may not be able to know for sure. We discuss the spiritual principle of faith. Is faith so closely tied to Christianity that it makes our non-religious 12 step program religious anyway? We talk about what faith might be useful for, whether it’s something we can increase, or just a description of where we already are, and if it’s actually any different than hope or trust. Listen in as we take a deep dive into faith, and then share your thoughts with us.

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Moms

Self-discipline

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Transcript:

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

welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy who’s got to think twice before he gives his heart away and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I was trying to find some way to figure out how I could be in some jeans with a guitar like shaking my butt to begin this episode but we’re talking about faith you know George Michael said you got to have it we’re saying you got to have it but it is going to be an interesting spiritual principle to talk about I mean of all the spiritual principles that I have argued don’t exist aren’t real aren’t a real thing like how in the [  ] do you prove Faith Yeah well yeah I was thinking of that as well like when you first said it as a spiritual principle like his faith the spiritual principle or is it just something that you have like being raised religious growing up in a religious you know I went to Catholic school and was raising a somewhat christian-based household like I thought it was just a thing that you just had like and if you didn’t you that’s God hated you you were going to hell right you’re going to hell you don’t just have it he double hockey sticks in your future yeah yeah I don’t it’s weird so the the word faith uh you know and looking into it and trying to look it up and definitions and the science behind it you know realizing that it’s got some different meanings because when I think of Faith the first thing that comes to my mind is just like this belief in something I guess is the generalized version of what I think but like we talk of different practices of Christianity as different faiths right like the Protestant Faith through the Baptist Faith so it’s very intertwined with like a type of worship as well yeah or even just saying like a phrase like he’s of the faith like that means you’re a Christian like so just even using that word has a lot of connotations with Christianity specifically right right and and that’s where I I guess the only place I know to take this episode because that’s what I learned in trying to do some research right I tried to look up like the science behind Faith or you know what does science say about faith or how does science define faith or all those came up with Christian interpretations of what that means and and that made me start thinking okay so we say we’re not a Christian practice or the 12 Steps isn’t a Christian practice and you can have your own God and we’ve had talks on here in different episodes about you know maybe in some areas one fellowship or another might feel more Christian centered than than as open as you know the experience I think we’ve had with it at least but but even in that even though I was told repetitively in the 12-step Fellowship I went went to I could choose whatever I wanted you know they talked about the doorknob and the light bulb and all that great stuff but it’s like even though I’m given that how much is my indoctrination to American culture before I ever went to 12 steps telling me that every time I hear that word faith I’m actually talking about Christianity you know what I mean like how much is the underlying or or covert message still Christianity even though we’re saying well you can choose whatever God you want but you got to have faith you know what I mean like how much are we taking out of that and that I mean I would say even happens within the fellowships as well it’s like we say they’re not Christian based but that sometimes feels like that’s with like a wink wink you know like it’s not a Christian based wink wink you know but I’ll see you at church on Sunday right and if you start to express like oh I don’t believe in God like that which is me you start to get little kind of sideways looks or people that you know know or will say well you’ll you know you’ll figure it out like I’m lost in some way like I just haven’t gotten there yet and it’s like no no I was there and I’m not there anymore it’s the opposite but yeah it feels like there’s a lot of even if it’s not specific Christian it’s this God creator higher power thing that’s very synonymous with religion right right you’re over there filing your fingernails on your shirt like I’ve already graduated from that thank you I’ve been there beyond the Christianity now well and in this particular area that we’re in there isn’t a lot of um what you call that like religious uh variance it’s it’s mainly Christian based I don’t I don’t even know if we have a like a Jewish synagogue in [  ] Cecil County I don’t know if that’s even here um there’s definitely no like uh Buddhist you know things there’s like one Buddhist group that I know was meeting for a while in like a a dojo a Karate Dojo you know because there’s not really a temple or anything around and to get any real cultural or religious diversity you would have to get outside of this area so we don’t have a lot of religious diversity here we should build a monument or a statue yeah not not to anything that already exists but just to some new [  ] we just decided some new movies like it’s like an area you could start a cult yeah sure yeah I think we could do it huh maybe that’s how we gotta do it maybe that’s how we we get all of The Americans on the same page we just start some weird cult that they all like right I don’t know I don’t know what that could be yet we’ll figure that out I have to figure out the common ground and build a monument to it um so yeah Faith uh that makes it Troublesome for me honestly when I when I think about the context I I don’t know that I’ve realized Faith was so closely intertwined with Christianity until this morning and that makes me say well damn that’s not really something I want in my 12-step program personally not not faith in the way I understand it but the the faith that feels so tied which feels like the word I guess we need a new word yeah and I can only imagine it’s more open in other areas I don’t know for sure that different regions of the country or different areas would feel you know a little more open I can say around this area as I’ve gained more confidence in my understanding of what I would call a higher power and I try to avoid using God a lot because I don’t like the connotations it’s around that and that idea of Faith um as I’ve talked to more people about how you know my faith works in the program and in the fellowship and in the spiritual principles there are a lot more people that kind of share that belief I mean there are people that see things that that way and just being open to express it and talk about it you know I think is helpful I think it’s kind of fascinating too that like as a society we are sort of moving away from being tied into religion as tightly I guess and yet it seems like in the 12-step world even though we say spirituality maybe we’re actually more tied into a a set of religious type beliefs than we think well in my understanding of the history of 12 steps in AAA is that it came from Christian group called the Oxford Group and they took their principles right out of the Bible so it was traditionally Christian based I mean that’s what it started as so I think it will take time as we develop and evolve in ideologies and how that fans out across non-religious people you know how those those principles apply but they were principles that were taken right out of the Bible so you know it might be hard to shed all of that so I in looking up Faith the actual dictionary definition the first one at least that I came across was complete trust or confidence in someone or something I don’t know that I totally agree with that because I saw some other definitions in other places and those definitions specified that it was a belief or trust and something you can’t know and I I kind of feel like that’s got to be part of the definition so that has always felt like the definition that I’ve received from people in recovery and then I’ve heard the counter argument to that it’s like okay well let’s say you have faith in the program or or belief in things unseen is the way sort of I had always heard it that’s me paraphrasing what I heard and then I’ve heard people kind of counter that idea by saying yeah but we do have plenty of evidence in the program just look at the people you know that are living the program and staying clean and living a good life like that’s at least some evidence that it can work you know what I mean it’s not like there’s no evidence that it’s ever worked no evidence that it would ever work be nobody lives in States you know so I’ve always felt like that was not a great definition of Faith or my understanding of faith I guess for me it was the differentiation because if you’re believing in something you know that’s not Faith anymore that was something else that was trust or observation or you know what I mean like the the faith part was because it was the Unseen like I don’t know that it takes faith that the sun will come up tomorrow like that’s the trust we know it will or or the understanding of how it works I guess maybe even yeah so I don’t and you may be right there so let’s just jump right into I’ll say like how faith for me works when it comes to like spiritual principles okay you know what I mean like when it comes to like Spiritual Living so for me the program and the spirituality is the practicing of these spiritual principles in my life right and so I might be in a situation at my job where one I like to use all the time because it’s been real in my life is is going into my boss and needing a day off of work like I want to take a day off work just because you know what I mean whatever my wife and I were fighting I want to make that right I want to stay home to take care of some projects at home whatever the concept may be that I want to take off work but can I just go into my boss and be like look I just need to take a day off work because I need a [  ] day off work is that okay that might not get me what I want you know what I mean but if I go in and say that I’m sick and I can’t work then I’m gonna get the day off you know what I mean right and so in that situation I’ve learned to live by this faith that no I’m gonna go in and be honest because that is the best thing for me to do in my life and whether I get what I want or not isn’t what’s most important what’s most important is that I live by the values and morals that I set for myself you know what I mean or maybe I go into my boss and say I need to take a personal day off work because I [  ] need to and I don’t really want to give a reason that’s I could handle that situation differently but in any case the the point is that I want to live by My Life by these principles and these values and not by outcomes that I’m going to trust that living spiritual principles helps me feel better about who I am and closer to my true nature versus just getting what I want all the time okay but I guess my question would be how would that be different than the self-discipline we talked about because when we talked about self-discipline the whole point of that we we believed at least was the better I get to know myself the more true I live to myself the better I’ll feel basically was kind of the practice of it the practice of getting to know me to know what it is that it really matters to me and what I want to do and I feel like what you just described was kind of the process of like okay I’m in this situation maybe I argue with my wife and now knowing for me the right thing is to take off work regardless of how work takes that and that sounds more like the practice of just knowing yourself and knowing what’s right for you because the faith would be believing that an outcome would go a certain way if you did a certain thing right the belief or trust in someone or something or or I guess maybe you’re having faith in if I do what’s right for me I’ll feel good I don’t know I’m trying to figure that out yeah I guess the faith is in doing the right things regardless you know what I mean like that’s where right well what’s in accordance with my beliefs and values yes right so living right for you will lead to happiness Prosperity like what is living right for you lead to why why is the belief that you have well I guess that’s maybe where the faith comes in is like I don’t necessarily know I just think that’s the the right way for me to be living trusting that living by these values and principles is better than just doing what I want because I want it and getting instant gratification okay so the faith is in this will lead to somehow a better outcome yeah well in my case I would say it would lead to the you know quote-unquote Happiness joy and freedom that we talk about in the program you know what I mean we hear this how you know has it live the program and you’ll be happy joyous and free and has has living in your version of Faith led to that better than I’ve ever known before you know what’s your answer so it’s a responsible answer though I like it I mean it’s always hard to say if I did this then it wouldn’t be better you know you don’t know until you try it and that makes sense that’s a that’s a really interesting take on faith I think because at least you know interesting in the sense that it’s not necessarily a way I’ve put it into my brain before I think more of like believing in certain outcomes or believing in things are the way they are for a reason you know what I mean in general I know we we go back and forth about that one a lot it was funny uh you know um a guest of ours who’s also a friend of our Stephanie who came on for the mothers in recovery episode a long time ago um she’s like doing some Tick Tock stuff for us and so I was trying to come up with the clips from the newer shows and then I remembered I used to put Clips on Facebook and so I like found all them and downloaded them so she can upload and I was just watching a couple of them as she was uploading them on Tick Tock oh we’re on Tic Tac now by the way if you’re on Tick Tock yeah look for us there I don’t know what the [  ] it is but whatever um thank you Stephanie Stephanie um but one of the clips was me and you going back and forth about that exact topic uh it was you talking about going and driving on 40. oh self-will you were saying I could go out here and drive 100 miles an hour up and down 40 and and I was arguing that you couldn’t and you were saying well I won’t but and it was I don’t know it made me laugh I was smiling to myself that we’re still having this argument huh it’s great but now I I do think of faith in this terms of like believing in the Unseen or the un impossible to know ahead of time I don’t want to say wrongly I think that’s a big part of religion where this faith comes from what I tend to think is it gets applied in our program say wrongfully like it does in religion a lot of times that like in some versions of Christianity let’s say they focus so much on like the afterlife and what’s going to happen later and what you know your outcome’s going to be when you die you know that it loses sight of the faith that you’re supposed to have now which is that you know the teachings of Jesus were all about loving your neighbor and being kind and helping those in need and all that stuff and nobody seems to have [  ] faith in that or not nobody but you know that that doesn’t seem to get as big of an emphasis in certain religions as what’s going to happen when you die in this afterlife and this miracle [  ] that’s going to happen and I think that’s where the faith should be in hey you know what Jesus talked about was being kind to your neighbor and and loving you know your enemies and trying to be a good person like he wasn’t saying those things and maybe he was maybe this is I’m bitching up the Bible because I’m not even religious but you know I don’t think he was saying those things do those things so that you can get into heaven it was like no do those things so you can experience what it’s like to love what it’s like to forgive what it’s like to be compassionate like there is genuine warmth and a I don’t know I’m gonna use the word Soulful like feeling when you live those principles and you go home at the end of the day and you’ve helped someone in need or you know just do something kind stop and help someone who’s broke down on the side of the road or stop and see if they need help and give them a hand change in a tire and that Spirit of how that feels can like carry you through a [  ] tough time you know just helping someone else but we lose sight that that’s what our faith should be in it’s like yeah is that inconvenient I’m on my way home from work I just want to go have dinner I told my wife I’d be there at five but here’s this [  ] car broke down on the side of the road you know I don’t have time for that [  ] I’m just gonna get doing what I got to do somebody else will take care of it you’re gonna give somebody killed somebody’s gonna get carjacked and sue us for Billy said it was good to have faith in taking care of people God damn it but the the face should be for me my understanding is the face should be in the way we live and the principles that we live by and understanding that those are things that are going to bring happiness and fulfillment to our lives what if they don’t I don’t know then maybe you need to adjust your principles you know so maybe you need to find which ones are good for you I mean right right maybe for some people it is money and success and and lots of women yes not saying it’s not that’s fair enough pursue that and see what it gets you you know have faith that that’s going to bring you what the [  ] you’re looking for in your life I don’t think that works for people though I ain’t seen that one me neither but that’s why I’m not doing it right right if it did I would be doing that because it sounds fun so I’m I’m thinking about and I I guess I was hoping to like bring this up later but [  ] it it seems relevant now I remember and this might even be in our literature I probably should have checked since we do a podcast and I should know what I’m talking about but I think it is somewhere maybe the step working guide maybe it works how am I it talks about the the transformation of Hope to Faith to trust and I don’t know if you remember this part and I’ve definitely heard it from people and they talk about you know first we have this glimmer of hope and it’s just like this belief that maybe just maybe right and whatever maybe just maybe I can get clean maybe just maybe I can recover uh yeah I use the clean word didn’t I it’s so hard to break away from that um and then that hope over time after things working right you get that 30-day key tag or chip and okay hey maybe this actually is possible that hope gets a little stronger it becomes faith and then from there through the faith and seeing this happen again and again and again it becomes even more believable and the faith turns into trust and so I guess when you say to me like the faith doesn’t have to be in something that you’re not sure of yet that’s where I’m like well how is it different than trust then because if that’s supposed to it in the way it was explained or it’s written or whatever like to me the faith has to be in something I don’t completely know for sure yet in order for it to be different than the trust where it is that I believe in it for sure so I guess in that understanding of what was it hope to hope to Faith trust yeah so in that vein I think that’s somewhat true um like now in my life I would say that it doesn’t take as much faith in the program as it did early on um but I’m always gonna or can’t speak for other people for me I am always going to have doubts there’s gonna doubts are gonna creep up in my mind my self-centeredness is gonna come into play uh a new opportunity is going to present itself in my life where you know manipulation uh maybe a little dishonesty maybe a little you know whatever infidelity is gonna be like hey that sounds like a great idea you know this could be the thing that’s going to make me happy and you know what I mean that’s where I need Faith so my faith isn’t as much ah challenged or tested in my day-to-day life now because I’ve been in this process of recovery for a while I’ve been practicing these principles for a while so I do have some trust that living this way is good for me you know what I mean that that living you know being committed and and honest and sincere in my relationships you know with my wife and with my friends and with people I’m involved with like that leads to better relationships and better quality of of my life and their lives so I would say that that is maybe more trust at this point that living this way of life has worked for me right for some people maybe that’s not the case I mean maybe that’s why people leave the program after long periods of time because that faith that they had isn’t you know because it’s not working you know maybe that trust for them isn’t there or they’re not getting those things that they need out of it so their faith is challenged and they try something else or go somewhere else or do some other thing so is the only way to increase Faith to I feel like this is and and you know this is the step for the the this isn’t necessarily the step where this comes into play but the idea of faith is kind of the act as if point in our program right it’s sort of like hey act as if you believe these processes and steps and things will work for you and then the increasing of Faith only in my mind at least only happens through that process of pretending this might work and then seeing it does a little bit and then being like Oh huh well I think that pretending is the hope that we talk about in the beginning so let’s take meditation you meditate how many years did you hear meditation read in every [  ] reading of those 12 steps you know what I mean all the time and people talk about it in 11th step and how important meditation is yeah we hope they talk about it in the 11th yeah well you know we would hear this concept of meditation I felt like I heard it a lot at least people that I put myself around talked about it a lot but it took me years and years of time to actually do it and in the early Parts I’m like oh yeah that sounds great you know what I mean like that sounds so cool and I you know would try to meditate but like wasn’t getting whatever they were talking about or having that experience so it never it never stuck I wasn’t willing to to ride it out and at some point after hearing enough information or hearing information from the right people that had some influence over me I was like all right well I’m gonna try this and kind of stick with it I’m gonna that’s where I’m practicing my faith I’m gonna I’m gonna trust that this is gonna work out maybe not this first time or the second time but I’m gonna stick with this process of meditation and see what happens and then now that I’ve been meditating for a while on a regular basis I’m like oh yeah I can see benefits in my life you know so I had that transition from the hope to the faith to the trust but it was only through consistent application over a long period of time time that that Faith turned into trust all right so this is starting to really make me feel like faith is [  ] so think about this concept right what we’re saying is faith is a belief that some thing or someone will play out well for us right whether it’s something we decide to add to our life or somebody we’re including as a mentor or a friend like it’s it’s this belief in the impossible to know idea that this thing will be good for our life and yet we can’t have faith until we already started doing some of the thing and seeing some of how it works like that just sounds ridiculous believe in it without knowing it works but get a hint that it works before you do that well I think some of these are you know when we talk about what the words are like they’re describing the process of coming through something so I don’t think faith is a thing that I can just have you know it’s like we talked about earlier like I thought you know growing up in religious like oh all these people talk about God and how much they believe in God and Jesus and just sacrifice their lives and all that and if somebody came and challenged their faith they would die you know and I was always like [  ] that I’m doing whatever I got to do to live like I’m not saying [  ] [  ] God

right I would totally cave totally keep hail Caesar yeah hail Caesar you know I’ll get rid of all my Jesus stuff like you know I just didn’t happen for a friend that commitment to those ideas I just didn’t like that was Billy’s Jesus statue I was just holding it for him right Jason left that here you get him but yeah I just didn’t have that you know commitment to those ideas and those people that did I guess have faith like it’s that’s this word is describing that level of belief or commitment to things yeah but it’s the level of belief that’s like I’m not sure what’ll happen but I’ve also got just a little bit of proof that something good Could Happen yeah but that just sounds like uh increasing confidence that doesn’t sound like Faith right if I go out if you say I can never miss from this foul shot on a basketball hoop and I’m like yeah I’m a little skeptical about never missing my buddy like that’s not going to happen right but we go out there tomorrow and you’re like I’ll shoot it once a day every day and we’ll find out and tomorrow you shoot it and you make it and I’m like huh all right anybody can make one right I’m skeptical day three I’m starting to have hope I’m like huh damn maybe he really can head to the [  ] every day never miss it day 10 that’s like increasing confidence I’ve seen it 10 days in a row now I’m like all right I got a little faith there maybe he’s gonna hit this [  ] every day for the rest of his life and maybe you know year five I actually start to just trust in it and believe it but it’s like to me that word faith in that context it’s just describing the fact that I’ve witnessed a little more and I believe a little more in this this [  ] possibility it’s just I have increased confidence through witnessing that there’s some results from this and I’m like oh maybe if I keep doing it I’ll get more that doesn’t sound like much of a word um well I think it’s a commitment to beliefs and ideas yeah because you’re in your analogy I thought well yeah I would think that’s what a lot of these owners or general managers have when they pay these guys millions of dollars like they have faith that that [  ] guy is going to show up and be able to make that free throw you know all those times like that’s what I would describe that they have when they sign these multi-million dollar contracts is that they’re still they’re having a faith that this guy is going to show up and do yeah but they’re basing it on something it’s not just like you know they’re they’re looking at his past history on a different team or in college or you know they’re based on that faith on something it’s not like just yeah you know they didn’t just select a random member of the United States and say I think this guy can make free throws like they got video evidence and they’ve watched them play and seen their move so I don’t know it doesn’t seem like much of a word it just seems like a word that describes when I’m in the middle of working on believing in something like oh hey I’m trying this out and so far so good well it’s like where you’re making a decision to practice it even though you’re unsure even though you might have some doubts or something but I feel like I feel like the hope is that part is the part describing where we really don’t know if it’s gonna work yet and then we build that into faith when we start start the process or start seeing him and maybe faith is that point of which you believe that it’s gonna work okay I want to lose weight and I said Billy I heard about this diet man this uh I don’t know many of them diets Mediterranean diet I heard about it I’m thinking you know I’m really hopeful because I’m just tired of being the weight I am and you’re like okay cool and then I come back next week and I’m like yeah I started that Mediterranean diet uh I don’t know man um scales down three pounds this week my pants feel a little looser I’m starting to have some faith in like you know what I mean like it’s I’m right in that it’s almost like describing the place where I’m at before I have a bigger belief but after I’ve you know seen just a little bit that it might work or have some feeling towards oh this might be the thing and I’m like that’s just describing a place I’m at that’s not really a principle that I can build on because as soon as I build on it I don’t have it anymore because now I got trust yeah well and I think in some contexts back to where we originally started in this whole conversation this idea of Faith does have to do more with spiritual ideas and spirituality in religion you know it is tied in with those Concepts more than like how we live our day-to-day lives like in a diet perspective or whatever but I don’t know people use that word in that way as well it’s just interesting I I feel like it’s more of a word that describes a place we’re at than a word that actually gives us a thing to practice or qualify us you know what I mean like it doesn’t feel like whereas honesty I could say uh yeah you know I probably live with like 75 80 honesty in my life I can’t say that with faith because it’s a really weird one right like it’s it’s describing the location I’m at when I’m between hope and trust kind of and it’s like well that you know to increase Faith actually gets rid of it because then you’re trusting you’re not increasing faith in an absolute World sure but no one lives in absolutes I mean our our ideas I don’t know about you I changed my mind a lot I think that’s for me it’s part of being an addict like there’s always something in me that this could be more this could be better I deserve something else I need to be happier I need to be Freer right so

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thank you there’s one of these pieces in it I think maybe and this is just where I’m coming from as a skeptic as a guy who’s really trying to get to the fundamentals belief beneath what the words are what we’ve been saying like I feel like I just went about this blindly for so long that I’m really trying to get behind it like what the [  ] is actually happening here are people um more courageous or is there just some biological composition that we’re either born with or dependent on what our nervous system state is at that moment that actually dictates what we’re going to do or our level of Courage right are these words descriptive of a thing we can truly get more of or practice or are they just words that are describing something that we have yet to measure and Associate them with you know what I mean that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out I guess in the spiritual principle journey and Faith really feels like it falls flat on that it feels more like a description of a place than it does yeah and I would say I somewhat agree with that that’s why when we first talked about faith is a spiritual principle I was like you know I don’t know because this is one that I guess I don’t have a great answer on to how you can build Faith other than to keep showing up and doing the work right and so like say when we think of Faith like I guess I’m I try to I struggle with that same thing a little bit as well like how is Faith a spiritual Prince I mean I would definitely say it’s a spiritual idea or spiritual concept and I kind of feel like I understand what it means for me but I don’t know that there are specifically things that I do other than to reaffirm the decisions I’ve already made you know other than to say to myself yeah this is recovery and this path is something that I committed to even when I have doubts sometimes even when I’m like yeah man I want to go to South America and do the [  ] Ayahuasca trip or they’re doing all this great research with mushrooms now like I should probably do some mushrooms now like when I have those ideas come into my head I guess I would say like my faith I’m going to use that comes in and says hey wait a minute we made a commitment to this course of life and this pathway because so far this has worked out really good and so far this has given us this amazing life you know a lot more freedom a lot more happiness and joy than we’ve had in the past and do we want to risk that so it’s fascinating so Jenny reached out to me and said we should do caffeine as a topic one week and I was like yeah first thought me you and Billy should all just not have caffeine for a week and then we’ll all have it Sunday morning and record the episode right but then you were talking about Ayahuasca and mushrooms and I was like yeah we should all do them like cats caffeine we should cut out drugs always should actually try that no another thing that just occurred to me too like two years ago you came to me and said hey what about this idea as a topic and it was like when do we know when to keep pushing through and stay committed to an idea or a belief system and when do we know to say oh you know the I’ve met enough challenges or enough roadblocks this must be not the way to go and to go somewhere else right go into a just course and when to stay the course basically and I feel like that ties into this conversation of Faith the way you were just describing it like yeah that would be the deciding factor do I still want to believe this works then I keep pushing through do I no longer believe this is going to work then I must adjust course right so I mean I guess faith is the determining Factor but that doesn’t feel like it’s built on much in any given moment I guess like we probably have reasons in that given moment like oh well I don’t have faith in this because the results haven’t been working or I gained two pounds this week or whatever but in general there’s no real like oh look for this if you think you need to change your face Maybe faith is that I’m gonna use the word feeling that moves us to stay committed to something you know it’s that the energy or belief that you know you’re gonna stick the course when it’s challenging no it feels really tight and self-disciplinary yeah well and again I know we’ve talked about this before but that’s how I think the spiritual principles work they don’t stand alone you know a hundred percent on their own they’re kind of working together they’re built in pieces but if you think about that about how that thing you just said about faith would tie into your ability to have self-discipline in a moment of you know should I have chocolate or Salad well I gotta have this faith in order to make the self-discipline work but then I also got to have you know vigilance to make both of those two happen and then diligence and it’s like oh are these really different things or we just put a bunch of words on like one thing that we’re actually doing I don’t know here they all feel pretty [  ] chemistry you know if I can’t do self-discipline without faith are they really separate that’s the point I guess I’m trying to make like if I can’t possibly do one without the other are they really separate things maybe yeah I mean you could be a fish and not a goldfish yeah all goldfish or fish or like when you make a cake like it’s got eggs and it’s got milk and whatever else you make flowers you know what I mean but you need all of them together to make a cake right but you need those principles together to make a cake so maybe you’re not making Faith you’re making recovering honesty you know what I mean you’re putting it into this okay pie that’s your life or cake that’s yeah now I’m gonna say pie just to make the analogy even worse you’re gonna you’re gonna use it to make the cake you know that is your life that is you know your your spiritual condition but I guess one of the things with faith not to get us way off that but I think it’s important for us to look at as individuals like what are we putting our faith in in the recovery process right what do we what is our faith in I think for some people it is this concept of of God concept of a higher power that has you know some Grand course for our lives that you know wants whatever you want your God wants for you you know us to be happy joyous and free and that’s can be a thing I guess to me that’s where the religious idea of God comes in you’re putting your faith in this greater power this power outside of yourself to make sense of the confusion and the the difficulties of life for me that’s not the case you know for me my faith is in this process of recovery that this journey that we’re going through that this you know program of living is going to lead me to happiness joy and freedom so I don’t look at my faith isn’t that like you know God’s got a plan and everything happens for a reason and that you know all things are for his greater story there’s something that’s going to be good for me that’s going to come out of this like I don’t and I actually get a little bit offended when people say that [  ] you know and I know it’s not fair but that’s you know where I’ve found peace in faith is that I don’t have faith in the people in the program or you know this God outside it’s the process of recovery that I put my faith in don’t worry Billy me and those people understand that you will get there just kidding just kidding um so okay I want to talk about acting as if real quick and then hopefully I’m gonna [  ] you up with a question I hope uh I don’t know it’s got me baffled so I’m gonna let you [  ] with it so acting as if this is like a well-criticized part of our program I think or very well questioned at least I actually like acting as if I’ve never disliked it I don’t think the concept behind it is a bad one if if the concept is confusing that’s what I want to make sure we make clear today it is not like doing things that you don’t believe in necessarily it’s just more like what would happen if I pretended that everything tomorrow happened for a reason or what would it be like if I pretended that you know if I don’t worry about this getting my rent at the by the end of the month uh but I just take the actions needed that it’ll all work out like it’s kind of just this process of just sort of again acting as if right that it will be okay and doing your part instead of trying to worry about everybody else’s part in the situation or how you know what I mean because like I feel like I used to try to control and manipulate entire situations that involved five people over here and three family members and the Target store and their security guard and like you know what I mean it had all these pieces to it and it’s like I think the acting as if is really just stop [  ] worrying about everything else do the part you need to do show up for work and then hopefully you’ll have enough money at the end of the month for rent don’t spend it on you know an Xbox game or something like it’s it’s just these little movements of if I just do what I gotta do things will be okay I think is the act as if underlying Point yeah and so I I think it’s a lovely thing from that point of view I don’t know about you I actually had a sponsee at one point who was like pretty atheist and this was early on they were like yeah God that [  ] doesn’t make any sense to me or whatever and we talked about this idea of like hey just just until I see you at home group next week just pretend just play it out right just act like everything’s happening for a reason God’s got you and all this stuff and within a couple of weeks he was like and look I don’t know what his belief in God is now and I don’t even know what my belief in in any particular God was then but just his growth into spirituality felt really easy from that place of like let’s just open my eyes and look and see if I see it right and I was like damn that’s [  ] interesting so maybe that’s what acting as if is just opening your eyes and see it yeah and that can be really helpful when it comes to some of like our Character defects and stuff as well is doing the same thing like what do I think my life would be like if I didn’t have this effect in there what do I think you know my life would be like if I didn’t pursue this lust all the time like how would my life be different you know how my life be different if I didn’t pursue like greed all the time and money and needing more like what what would my life look like if I was free of that and then trying to act as if you know same same concept so early in my recovery I came in I had a lot of doubts and questions and Hang-Ups with God resentments and I felt like I kind of worked through those and got religious you know went to church and was involved with a Christian church and it was great I mean I had a great experience there nothing bad about it’s not like I went in and saw this hypocrisy and all that [  ] and left they had a little boys back there and everything that was great I mean it was a great community of people they were loving and kind and caring they felt like they were really trying to genuinely do work to help people you know what I mean like it was it was a great experience and it was based in I think what a lot of the right things for Christianity to be based in but anyway I only got there because I was willing to to just act as they’re like all right well I’ll try this God thing and see what happened and I did that for a number of years eventually though that’s what I came back to was like all right I’ve been acting like this has worked but I took some really good foundational beliefs out of that you know what I mean like I still grew and got better from that um so I don’t think it’s a bad practice at all okay so here’s here’s the one that really really makes me wonder about faith and maybe you can help me with this um confirmation bias we know this is a thing right if I believe that uh you know whatever I believe the the moon landing was fake or or and I’m not trying to just pick on conspiracy theories here but like the Earth is flat or or that whatever Democrats eat babies and pizza parlors I don’t [  ] know like whatever it is anything I believe in I’m going to find things that confirm it I’m going to be more apt to look for like my search query is going to be in a way that words it that makes it me more likely to find things that make my side true or more believable that being the case in our our world and understanding that about psychology that makes me feel like faith is complete [  ] because if I decide to look for the results of the Mediterranean diet and I think I know famous people it’s worked for that I really like and my friend who I think is an amazing person it worked for I’m going to look for ways it’s working and I’m going to see them even if they don’t necessarily exist oh my pants feel thinner this week they feel looser I mean you know I’m going to start noticing ways that that’s my faith is actually true whether it is or not and that person could just as easily believe Mediterranean diet is [  ] stupid and they would see evidence that direction and so I feel like that kind of makes Faith a bunch of [  ] because basically we can choose either way you could believe in God or not believe in God and you would find evidence of either or you could believe in this diet or that diet and you would find the evidence of whatever you were having faith in at that moment Ah that’s true I mean I so yes but I don’t know that like confirmation bias isn’t the only actor in that I don’t know how to say that you know what I mean like there is some real information there that’s true you know yeah well if you research anything there’s obviously evidence now are you looking at all the evidence are you just looking at the evidence that you want to look at but if there’s real evidence and you’re looking at all the evidence and focusing on the real evidence then that makes it true like I don’t know if I’m explaining that well but trying to go back to the the Mediterranean diet because I feel like that’s the easiest one that I got in my head right now what I’m picturing is a lot of these come with a placebo effect or a feeling to it right if I’m looking I see it so maybe I’m not seeing crazy great results scale wise but maybe on you know because of my belief the way I feel is a little different so now my my clothing feels looser so now I have the idea all this must be working because it’s about a feeling right I’m feeling like it’s working um or maybe there’s minor incremental differences on the scale but they’re because of water weight or hormones or something else but we’re attributing them to the diet right so we’re looking for reasons the diet is working that’s the problem we’re already biased to the information coming in and I feel like a faith is going to create that same bias it’s the if I go out in the world and look for evidence of God I’ll find it um maybe well one of two things one I would say if that is the case and you feel better and feel like you look better than is that bad but that’s only pertaining to the diet but more importantly like confirmation but at least my understanding of confirmation bias is it’s not that everybody’s going to have opinions about the information that they see but it’s confirmation bias when you ignore evidence to the contrary like that’s what makes it confirmation but you will if you’re not looking for it right but it’s like if I’m aware that I have some sort of I mean you can never eradicate it a hundred percent but you can certainly be aware like oh what so this is something I like to do personally me personally like if I have an idea or belief in something I will look up contradictory opinions or things that are different and then read that and think does that make sense can I get behind that idea but then you never believe in nothing uh no that’s not true that for me personally that is the opposite happens is that solidifies me in my beliefs that’s why I like Christianity like I’m not a Christian but I there’s some great things in that religion I’ve read a lot about it I’ve participated in it I don’t feel like I had a terrible experience in it I was never raped by a priest or you know had all these horrible tragedies happen like I met a lot of wonderful great caring people who were generally genuinely trying to live these principles but it just didn’t work for me so I can see how that’s beneficial to people so I’m not going to say Christian Christians are terrible or Christianity is a bad thing it’s great go live that way if that’s working for you and that’s wonderful go do it so for me the confirmation bias is when I am not open to contrary information or I’m not looking for uh the full picture that I’m only limiting to what I’m looking for you know based off my biases so I’m only looking for successes on the Mediterranean diet I’m not looking up things like well what are some dangers of the Mediterranean diet what are some risks of of eliminating certain things from my diet like those might be ways you know and I can look at those things and then go ah I don’t care about those things you know I don’t care if I cut out you know red meat you know my protein is going to be low I can supplement my protein with something else over here and so that makes that okay you know like I can I can actually make my beliefs and thoughts better by being open to the idea of confirmation bias yeah I think there’s there’s still a level of weight that we give those articles right like if I’m oh for sure yeah you can’t eliminate it 100 that’s for sure right I’m gonna read the the positive ones and I’m gonna you know read the full article and then the negative one I might skim through it I might take a couple points be like oh well well that only happened to that guy because he had you know Alzheimer’s or something like you know what I mean like some of these things are very comp I mean just think of something like you know a real controversial one is abortion I have my opinions and beliefs on it I’ve listened to both sides of it you know I have people in my own family that have contrary beliefs to mine and we’ve talked about it like yeah I and at the end of that whole philosophical discussion I tend to lean One Way based off my you know biases right and that’s just that’s part of human nature I’m never going to be able to eliminate that I guess on picture in this if I decide right here right now Billy I I really have faith in some form of intelligent design of humans right like like just everything about us to me screams that there’s some kind of intelligent power or energy or something if I go out in the world I’m gonna be like oh my God look at the way my hand squeezes just right and I can make it do it without even doing anything I just think that I want like it all seems so intuitive that it has to be intelligently designed and yet if I walk out of here saying I don’t really believe in any God and this is all just random I could totally say I could look at people’s hands and be like ah yeah but how else what the [  ] I mean they wouldn’t have worked if they came any other way so that’s just how Evolution works like these [  ] designed hands work better than somebody else’s and they don’t live anymore so I mean I’m gonna see whatever it is that I’m deciding I have faith in is my point I guess and that to me makes it a complete waste of time it’s like makes what you’re wasted Faith because whatever I’m looking for I’m gonna see whether that’s Placebo whether it’s confirmation bias a little bit of both but I’m gonna end up tending to see what I’m looking for so if I’m going out into the world saying I have faith in this thing will give me some sort of positive results I’m gonna find the information that verifies that whether that’s you know me acting on spiritual principles is going to lead to a good life for me being rich and you know having sex with women is going to lead to a good life I’m going to find that evidence either way well yeah that’s part of making any decisions I guess but I don’t know that it makes faith not a thing so in your you know analogy there like so my faith is in this recovery process right abstinence based you know live in these spiritual principles what I’ve learned through the 12 Steps like that’s where my faith is right now I have been interested in and listened to hours and hours of podcasts audiobooks about psychedelics you know what I mean and research they’re doing on those about you know marijuana and THC and all that stuff CBD you know all that stuff like I’ve listened to tons and tons of information about all of that I remain open-minded to those ideas but at the end of all of it like I have to make a decision based on all the information that I have what do I think is going to be best for me as an individual and what principles or ideas are the most important to me and if you want to call that confirmation bias I guess it is but you know how else am I supposed to live a life I guess how else do you make decisions on what you what you do going forward in some of these choices I would say you do it just like babies do it right oh I tried to eat ice cream with a fork that’s [  ] dumb it melts and goes through the little holes in the prongs that maybe I’ll try a spoon next time that there is no bad or better or worse and it’s just like 100 yes now I see the try Parts work Faith keeps people from trying anything outside of what they’re already saying they believe works you don’t you don’t get to try so we don’t know right maybe Iowa is psilocybin or THC maybe one of these improves your life drastically maybe they all take your life downhill drastically too they’re all options right but we’ll never know because you have faith that your belief system works so you’ll never be able to see the evidence contrary well that’s true but I mean you can do that with anything I could say all right well maybe not having a job and living off State assistance is great and I’m just going to do that and it’s not a right or wrong it’s just that’s right or maybe I you know Sister Wives see these people with five lives man that sounds like a great idea come on Kim let me give you a break now but again when I sit down and go all right so what are my values as far as you know family values and this commitment in this relationship I gotta look and make some things and if it’s if it’s faith that keeps me between a set of tracks that eliminates a complete [  ] derailment of my life and I am a hundred percent okay with that because the the consequences of some of those things at least for me this is the way I make my decisions the consequences aren’t worth the risk of trying it like there could be some benefit but there could also be some real detriment and I got a way that those out and decide all right you know this is could be detriment and am I missing out on something probably yeah but see this reminds me of fantasy football a little bit right so I go in my little fantasy football ESPN app right and it tells me about the guy coming up playing this Sunday and it says like you know this guy’s predicted to score this many points there’s this percent chance he could bust and get below this many or there’s this percent chance he could boom and get above this many right and so you kind of play that out maybe he’s he’s selected to get 10 and his bust is under five but his boom is over 30. and that’s like a 30 chance of getting over 30 and like a five percent chance of getting under five well I’m probably gonna play that guy because there’s a really good chance he’s going to exceed expectations and you’re going in because of your faith you are completely in some areas going to be blind to the idea that possibly mushrooms could present a 90 chance at 50 Improvement while only offering a 10 chance at 50 derailment and it’s like or even 25 derailment where it’s like it’s better than than the gambling odds you know what I mean like the odds are 90 in your favor over what you’re thinking but you’re not willing to take the risk of that 10 of a minor derailment because you don’t understand that that’s the equation going on you have no page to go look at and your faith leads you to believe oh better to avoid this bad outcome than a possible good and you don’t know what like relationship those good and bad possibilities have of happening right but what you just described you don’t know if the relationship is completely flipped either like there’s no way to measure there’s not right either way that it’s going to be success or failure either way so I have to use I mean again I guess this would get to this idea of Free Will which is a whole nother thing but you know what I mean this idea that at some point in these choices that I make in my life I gotta decide what I think is most important and that’s what I guess exactly what faith is is saying these are the things that I think are most important these are the values that I’m going to hold to even you know that even though there could be another way of doing it this is the way I’m deciding to go this is the way I’m deciding to live because I believe this is the right way I believe this is what’s best and could it be keeping me from I mean I guess it’s the same I’m sure I feel like in Christians you know they’re giving up lots of things you know to be a to be a good Christian I feel like you’re giving up a lot of things you know in your life making sacrifices for your beliefs and values if you’re uh acidic Jew you’re giving up a lot of things in your life to follow those beliefs and values but you for whatever your own personal choices have decided that those things that you’re giving up are worth it and yeah that’s what I guess faith is is deciding that the choices that you’re making are based in your beliefs and values and that it’s worth whatever you’re giving up in its place yeah I mean it’s it’s interesting but it still doesn’t feel like it hits home to me if I feel like I could go out of here and have faith in two different things and see do two different things because of it that doesn’t feel like Faith really does a whole lot for me or or describes a whole lot or actually like points a finger at much of anything except I’m gonna get myself into an environment where because of that environment it leads me to believe a certain set of rules and then I follow them that’s the only way I see Faith working and I’m just maybe I missed something but isn’t the acting as if form of Faith like isn’t that what it is but I feel like we’re guided to act as if with a certain set of beliefs not our own we’re guided to act as if like okay this is I guess where I’m really going with this uh you have faith that the program works and people will look at that and be like look at this upstanding member of the community this [  ] practices spiritual principles he’s turned his life around what an amazing [  ] Billy is Right which yeah I agree I’m all on that team right I’m not my man um but but we’ll all look at the guy who has faith that heroin use all day long will keep him from feeling the [  ] miserable feeling that makes him want to kill himself and we’ll all judge the [  ] out of that Faith right like what’s wrong why he’s got faith in something and that [  ] plan is working for him like but we judge the different faiths people have as in this one was better than the other one or this way of life or this lifestyle and it really all comes down to I’ve just decided that this is what I’m gonna have faith happens and then I’m going to act that way and now I’m confirmation biasing and Placebo in myself that it’s actually the right way and I’m telling everybody else that they should be doing it this way yes but that’s to me like what I just heard there was a unhealthy application of a whole bunch of other principles so sort of right I don’t disagree I think you’re right but what is missing there is the combination of some other principles like compassion and empathy and love because all those things that you just said is as firmly as I am committed to recovery and that for my pathway of life I’m not judging that guy I understand you know at least I feel like in my heart like I can understand where he’s at and where he’s coming from do I think that’s the best way for him to be utilizing his life or dealing with that pain no you know and if he wants a hand and wants to do something I’ll try to help him in whatever way that I can I probably just personally am not going to support him in like heroin as his plan for dealing with his mental health or emotional excuse me right I’m probably not going to be like dude that’s great you know let’s do that I I just because that’s not in alignment with my values but I don’t need to judge him or make him feel bad or shame or guilt him you know I can say hey man that’s you know I understand I know what that feels like I’ve done that I’ve lived that way but that’s what I mean there’s there’s a whole lot of other principles that come into place and again back to the religious idea like that’s what I think is exactly the problem with a lot of religions if you look at the foundation of a lot of Christian values and beliefs or a lot of religious you know besides Christianity they’re all based in like love and and compassion and understanding um when you look at I think Buddhism that’s all about you just trying to live your path and not looking and judging and putting all these you know criticisms on other people but that’s still having faith you have faith in the what is it the tenfold path or a full passage and the Four Noble Truths like you’re putting your faith into those things right and believing that that’s going to lead you to this point of Enlightenment but in Buddhism they don’t focus on you know and that guy over there is [  ] like you’re gonna get something special and he’s gonna get [  ] on in hell like right it’s just a different Focus I’m going to share my experience with that guy and be like you know what got me off of heroin buddy I started shooting Coke then I went to prison and look everything’s great now but yeah but I mean it is my faith that moves me to make the decisions and choices that I make okay that’s so we’re we’re getting short on time I’m gonna ask you this one and see what you got for this as a rational logical guy who is like that’s you right without your Hang-Ups on your life so don’t think of this in terms of your life but in general the way you described your faith and in the argument or the rebuttal to uh the placebo and confirmation bias things right the way you described your your faith sounds a lot like you know and you you went into it a little bit how the church kind of uses their idea of like these things work we’re not going to try other things and conservative people and you know whether that’s financially conservative or just morally conservative whatever like that’s kind of their stance like no no we believe in this and it works see look look around it’s working right look at our faith that’s providing outcomes we want that doesn’t seem to leave much room for exploring alternative methods and if they are better or not right like it’s it’s kind of like I have faith I’m locked into this I keep seeing the evidence because confirmation buyers and placebo effect so I there’s no reason for me to try other methods I’ve already got my methods are working right I just don’t feel like I guess as a rational logical person Which Way makes more sense just if we were going to start life over it with a clean slate that we should have this initial idea or or a programmed idea from our caregivers in our society and as long as we keep seeing that that seems to work not deviate or will we be better off just kind of all being more open to experimenting and figuring out what works best for us the experimenting is where I get a little I don’t know and only because there’s risks involved in that experimenting it’s not like you can just experiment and it’s gonna be fine so like my fear and again maybe it’s irrational maybe it’s not but I’ve done hallucinogenics and I [  ] love them and it’s great and my fear would be that if I went and did Ayahuasca let’s say down in the jungle even if it was in a religious context or even with a therapist or whatever that there is some fear there and to me it’s a hundred percent real that I will tap into a part of me that’s like oh yeah that’s what this [  ] feeling is I mean I personally when I got clean I love [  ] heroin I love the way it makes me feel when I’ve taken pain medication for legitimate [  ] it has awoken that thing that’s like oh yeah this is [  ] nice you know what I mean and so like now I will avoid pain medication at all costs I’m not a hundred percent against it if I [  ] go break my arm or whatever and go to the hospital common severe pain I might take it but I gotta know that that [  ] feeling is going to be there yeah but I don’t know whether that’s worth it you got experience with that one there’s a whole ton of [  ] you don’t right what about Sister Wives you don’t know if that actually is better for for child raising or for relationships we have no real verification that monogamy is best but we all have faith in it and we’re all unwilling to experiment not all but many of us unwilling to experiment outside of that box of monogamy right but we don’t have any good reason why we could be missing out on all kind of [  ] and where is the big drawback well the drawback is that is it is destroying the relationship that I have worth experimenting that it might be able to be better like yes it might be able to be better but it also might be completely [  ] ruined too and am I willing to take that risk that I might be giving up the whole thing I’m not I’m not going further with that one but I think it’s an interesting discussion I think faith is an interesting spiritual principle even amongst spiritual principles that I don’t already believe in anyway like it seems kind of unique um but yeah it’s uh I wish I had better information about how to go out there and like do something with it or practice it or grow it or yeah it’s one that I didn’t have a good answer to that either yeah I mean other than you know I don’t know how to commit to something stick with it see what happens if it feels like it’s worth it you know but but the thing with faith and and I just want to kind of end on this is I am not a person that thinks that what I believe or what I think is quote unquote right or quote unquote you know write for everyone then if everyone just live this way then things would be correct like I think there is enough space in this world there’s enough uniqueness to human beings that you know yeah we can have Buddhists and we can have you know Judaism and we can have Christianity and all its 50 different forms or however many there are as well and that there’s yeah Islamic beliefs like you can have room for all of those things and whatever it is that I believe doesn’t mean that they’re all [  ] and that they’re all wrong and that something needs to change in them like they can just be who they are with their beliefs and I don’t have to agree with them or whatever and I can have my faith and what I think is true and just allow them to be you know and and it doesn’t make me writer than them or them wrong it just means I have to look at what’s going on with me and Trust what’s in my heart and who I am and I guess for me I I hope my faith can stay and grow more in the area of having faith that I’m allowed to explore different things and it doesn’t have to mean atrocity or tragedy in my life right like I can have this open place to just try things and be open and and honest and upfront and like this is what I want to try this is what we’re doing and and you know not having such I guess I spent a lot of my life with like I got to get these decisions right and do it right this time if not everything falls apart like it was always this catastrophic thinking of if I got it wrong and I want my faith to be in like I can get it wrong I can make these mistakes I can you know and and not blow my life up or not blow [  ] up and still get get to the other side in some meaningful way that I learned something from it you know well and unfortunately I don’t know that that’s our society you know in society across in general I think every I shouldn’t say everyone a lot of people if you look at our political strife and everything else it’s like no this is what’s right and this is what we need to be doing and you’re [  ] wrong and you know we need to stop you like that’s a little too much well that’s a again they’re just the faith isn’t the part that’s bad it’s they’re missing a bunch of other [  ] that accompanies that faith that makes it a faith that believes that that’s right right and they keep seeing that I don’t know but if all this time is righteous without some other things there then I’m just an [  ] like you know so if you’re an [ __ ] have less Faith good luck with you and righteousness we’ll see you next week

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