Atheist ISO non-religious Al-Anon-style support
October 22, 2010 10:05 AM Subscribe
I am very deeply in love with and married to a man who has substance abuse problems - particularly alchohol and cigarettes. I am not interested in leaving him. My powerlessness to help him causes me pain, and my misguided attempts to "fix" him are painful for him. Watching him destroy himself is destroying me, and is making me less loving a partner than he deserves. I've looked into Al-anon but, being passionately atheist and unable to reconcile myself with its higher power BS, I have not been to any meetings. Please help me find alternatives.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We both have depression. Mine seems to be kicking in at the moment, and I am feeling overwhelmed and worthless. I worry that I am being emotionally abusive to my husband (I never actually SAY "if you loved me you would quit" but I know my actions and affect communicate it loud and clear). I will tear myself apart with worry and feeling betrayed if status quo persists.
The website that serves as aggregator of Al-Anon meetings in my neck of the woods (Chicago) has this super-fucking-god-heavy version of the 12-step credo:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I don't give a good goddamn about spiritual awakenings. I don't believe in a god or a higher power and can't help but feel scorn on some deep and private level for those who do (this is NOT something I'm proud of or think is admirable, but it IS a hindrance to finding meaning in a setting where the people I'm supposed to feel connected to are openly religious). I can't afford personal therapy right now. Are there other options for scientific-minded people who need support to help teach them how to live with loved ones who have chemical dependencies that affect their lives?
(email@example.com if you prefer.)