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The benefits of faith

As I go through AA Steps 1-3, I struggle with the concept of a higher power. AA suggests you find one, whichever one you want, ASAP, and this spiritual breakthrough is the key to it being possible to quit drinking for good, and to not be bitter and angry about it.

I never found faith in God because it seemed inherently kind of…silly. Today I read this article that helped me realize the importance of faith in a higher power:

When worriers try to complete a task they worried about, they end up doing worse than non-worriers doing the same task. So much of their brain power is being used to try to foresee all the bad outcomes that they almost guarantee that one of those bad outcomes will occur.

Meanwhile, people who aren’t concerned about what will happen can dedicate all their concentration to solving whatever problem is in front of them, meaning their chances of success are higher. That’s right — you could say that some people succeed purely because they’re too dumb to know why they should fail.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_20398_5-ways-your-brain-tricking-you-into-being-miserable.html#ixzz2QkTUVjxC

I have faith in other things so much. I do giant leaps of logic that just feel so right.I have faith I’m doing something wrong, that my guilty feelings are completely justified.

I have faith its me vs. everyone else, that no one is going to help me and I’m going to be all alone.

Why can’t I have faith in a higher power? Because I’ve never seen it? But I have, oh so briefly. Just not all day every day. Then again, I don’t do the wrong thing all day every day, but I still have faith that I’m fucking up.

Anyways, my point is, “people who aren’t concerned about what will happen can dedicate all their concentration to solving whatever problem is in front of them, meaning their chances of success are higher.”

Faith in a higher power is about letting go of all the paranoid feelings and regrets of the past, fears of future regrets and mistakes. It’s knowing that things will be just fine, that you’re good no matter what, that someone’s got your back. Whether or not it’s TRUE, it’s incredibly beneficial to think so. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

When you’re not petrified of failure and everything blowing up in your face, of dying alone and it all being pointless, well, its a lot easier to take risks and make connections and do good deeds and feel good and live life to the fullest. You have so many more reasons not to drink.

So, I’ve gotten that far on steps 1-3. This  may be the key to my “Willingness” that AA keeps talking about.

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5 comments on “The benefits of faith

  1. Baron Groznik
    April 17, 2013

    Baron here, Assistant DA from the Devil’s Advocacy Department. I still don’t see the connection between believing in a higher power and failure/success rate. You say “Faith in a higher power is about letting go of all the paranoid feelings and regrets of the past, fears of future regrets and mistakes.It’s knowing that things will be just fine, that you’re good no matter what, that someone’s got your back.” No, it’s not. Faith in a higher power is faith in a higher power–The belief some supernatural being, separate from us, created and maintains our reality. You can certainly have faith in YOURSELF, which sounds much closer to what you described, and is a totally different thing than believing in God. (Let’s not mince words, shall we? “Higher power”, bah).
    There’s also a pernicious notion that theism has a monopoly on bringing meaning to life…that if you don’t believe in God/afterlife, life is “pointless.” For an atheist like me, there is PLENTY of meaning in my life without God/afterlife. My family. My friends. My hobbies. Art and beauty. The struggle for human rights. Just the very notion that life is fleeting, that there are no do-overs, makes me realize every moment of life is precious. Indeed, the notion of the afterlife only diminishes how precious our time is here. And the notion of God diminishes the hard work you and your friends do to lift you up through your struggles. I don’t bless my food for some invisible sky wizard before I eat. Instead, I think of and thank the underpaid migrant workers who picked my food, along with the farmers, the engineers, drivers, cooks, and even the cashier who make my food available to me. They aren’t God. They’re real people doing real things everyday.
    If believing in God gets you through the day, then more power to you! But in the end, it’s YOU and your human allies who are doing the actual work, not fairy tales and abstract philosophical principles.
    By the way, AA isn’t the only game in town. There are non-theist, secular support/recovery groups that don’t make you do this higher power business, but still give you the social support you need.

  2. tatianagill
    April 17, 2013

    AA pointed something out to me, which is that, so many people in the world have religion. Are they all weak fools? Brainwashed drones? Or perhaps do they have something awesome, a whole aspect of existence that I have denied myself all these years?

  3. Bradley
    April 17, 2013

    Higher Powers, don’t necessarily have to be dogmatic or religious to be worthwhile and faithful. I personally find great faith in reading holy books and research about all faiths. My father found it in the unnecessary beauty of a paramecium under a scanning electron microscope, and my mother found it in helping herself and others. I mean no disrespect Baron, but I think atheism requires just as many acts of faith as devout belief. I’m a terrible Catholic. I’ve got major issues with the church, sin regularly, and I don’t even want to say how long it’s been since my last confession. I’m a terrible buddhist too, and find elements to love in Islam, Hinduism, and unitarianism. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not faithful, and it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God. I do.

    But being a person of faith also frees me to take greater psychological risks. I can believe that things will work out, I can act in confidence knowing that I believe God will help me learn what I need to go and be what I need to be. I am neither ignorant of the risks, nor blindly obedient to faith, but that doesn’t mean that faith is unimportant. It can be empowering as easily as it can be shackling, and the same can be said of atheism.

    I mean no disrespect to your belief, Baron. Faith is a personal thing. I just disagree. Mark twain wrote in his autobiography that “he spent most of his life worrying about a great many things, 99% of which never happened.” Faith allows you to limit that worry.

  4. Bradley
    April 17, 2013

    btw, Tatiana, if you are interested in reading a cool book on the vague topic: The Power of Myth with Joseph Campbell is an awesome, awesome read.

  5. tatianagill
    April 17, 2013

    When I see people who are bright and alive with love, I want what they have. There’s a shining spirit in them I don’t see in most other people.

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This entry was posted on April 17, 2013 by in Alcohol Recovery, Anxiety, Discovering Tats, Health, Spirit, Therapy.
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