Tuesday, April 23, 2013

God- How has your concept of God evolved to what It is now?

I chaired the meeting last night unexpectedly.  The chairperson who was supposed to do it managed to get "Stuck in a snowstorm in Denver"... again.

But I'd gotten a text from a friend from the Denver group that started ours and he said he'd be at our meeting, so I decided to chair for his sake if nothing else. 

So I wanted to bring a good topic if I could.  I got some ideas from the guy who was supposed to chair, and I also got some ideas from Paw here.  They both pointed to the same thing in a way... we would be talking about God.

Throughout life and my life in out and around A.A., how has my concept of God changed?  Has it broadened, has it become narrower? 

For one thing, I don't worship A.A.  I'm not here to make the argument for or against being able to walk away from A.A. and to be sober and happy.  This thought will certainly get brought up in our meeting last night.  I'm talking about where I stand with A.A. now, how I go about living life and how I incorporate A.A. into my life now, and where does God fit into all of this?

Back when I was a kid, before booze become manifest in my life, I was nothing but confused or oblivious to God and religion.  My folks spent more time nursing a hangover on Sunday morning rather than going to church.  We rarely went to church unless we were with family who did so.  But my parents declared us Catholic.  I guess I was baptized as a baby, but I don't remember it too well.  I'm recovered Catholic today.
I say that to say this... I once tried to contemplate a concept of God, Heaven, Infinity... and I felt like I was burning a hole in my brain.  It scared the living fuck right out of me and I went running to find a way out of my own mind. 

I'm not going to lie.  I took to booze like a fish to water.  It took me to a place of awe immediately.  One small bout with booze at 10 years old would set the pace for me in years to come.  But, there was something else to my being besides my relationship with alcohol.  I really didn't have much of a relationship with God, much of a concept, no damnation and hellfire, no guilt, etc.  I was into finding fun, mischief, and once in a great while, your approval.  I'd come home from school one day with a report card and it wasn't too impressive.  Some d's, c's... that was about it.  My brother Mark looked at it and said "This is shit.  What the hell is up with this?  You can do better than this?"  I was thinking to myself, "What the fuck?  You dropped out of high school, asshole.  Who are you to judge me?"  But it stuck with me.  I was shamed.  I was ashamed of myself over it.  I remember one summer riding a bike with my friend Gary around Chatsworth High School, and Gary said, "Let's get straight As next year in school."  I said, "Cool.  Let's do it."

So, that next year at the conclusion of our 5th grade year, on the last day of school, I went to the front of the class to get my report card, and in front of the whole class, our teacher Mrs. Pratt kissed me in front of the whole class.  She gave me my report card and I had 8 Bs and 8 As.  The only thing I can really remember of that school year was having the desire to get good grades, letting fellow students show me how to do homework in certain subjects and do a little extra credit, my mom helping me on three heavy self-picked biography reports, I was already talented at math and science... I just needed a boost of confidence and a sprinkle of intent.  Oh, and at some point in that school year, my friend Dario and I went and raided his mom and dad's liquor cabinet after school and got just shit-faced.

My good grades would carry on throughout middle school, high school, and into college.  My aunt Lela was my inspiration to do good in school once we moved to southern Colorado,  sports (wrestling and football), and band.  She took me to church now and again.  She told me not to take communion because she knew my parents were Catholic.  My dad claimed he didn't go to church because he didn't agree with most of those preachers and they weren't qualified to preach to him anyhow.  Besides that, when my mom and dad married, the Catholic church wouldn't marry them because my mom had been divorced and had three children, a 4 year old, a 10 year old and a 12 year old when my dad came into the scene.  I was born about a year after they had married and they're together still today.  Old as dirt they are, but married, actually remarried in the Catholic church now.  Evidently, if all of your ex-spouses die off, you can have ex-marriages annulled, pay a bunch of cash, and the Catholic Church will bless your marriage. 

Anyways, I didn't give much thought to God, religion, nor church.  My aunt Lila, Lela's twin sister, introduced me to my first taste of Self-Help.  She gave me a book called Psycho Cybernetics.  I thought it was fantastic.  I soon found myself in college, without a drivers license because I had wrecked my car and gotten a dui, but I had a red-license, and I was starting to think about how some people in the world have their shit together and how I do good for a while, then become a stupid fuck-up.  I wanted to turn back the hands of time and undo some shit.  I started to think about God.  I asked God for some shit and He blatantly ignored me or denied me, so I became pissed off at this God.  So fuck it.  I'd been sober from booze after my first bout with dui, detox, treatment, and A.A., but stuffed all the drugs into my face that I could find, mostly weed, acid, mushrooms, and some coke and speed.  They didn't do much for me.  They were somewhat interesting, but nothing too world-shattering.  I didn't feel myself.  So I drank again... mainly with the guise that I could handle it and life would be cool.  Life was cool.  I'd been through a couple of relationships sober, in fact, I met a gal in treatment that I dated for about 4 months.  She had weed, the Playboy Channel, and a Camaro.  She was 26.  I was 18.  After a while, I just wanted to go hang with my friends and get wasted.  So, after two weeks of drinking, I wrecked my next car and wanted to die. 

So, a high school buddy of mine who was living in McLean Virginia invited me to come live with he and his parents so I could go to work with them for a summer, building a mansion for a famous heart surgeon who lived in Falls Church.  I didn't need a license to get to work and it might be good for me.  The work was good, I got in shape, and we had a blast.  We drank a lot and worked and booze almost got me fired after my first week there.  We had a party at the job site one night and I went into a blackout and had a guy named Bruce by the neck.  He would later become my boss and carpenter mentor.  About mid-summer, I had a drunken blow-out and was soon to be fired.  I swore off booze one night, stayed up all night long and did some sort of soul-searching God-seeking ritual and went to work the next day knowing that I was going to stay sober and be a good boy.

It worked.  I would somehow manage to remain sober, gain the commendation of the work crew, go back to Colorado and back to my college in Denver and get straight As that semester.  The Dean sent me a letter of commendation and asked what I'd done to turn my scholastics around so drastically.  If I'd have answered him honestly, I'd have said, "Hit a bottom with booze, got my license taken away for a year, rode the bus to school and since no license and since I'm sober, got no time nor money but to go home, do homework and study."

Soon, I would meet a gal at a bar in between drunken benders, get drunk with her, marry her, and become a full-fledged Catholic.  Being Catholic is great because you can drink like a fish.

Aside:  I'm sorry for being so wordy here and it's not my intent to lay down my drunkalogue here.  I'm trying to establish some of the events that have lead to my experience of and attempts at a God-centered life.

As far as Catholics go, hey, if it works for you, great.  Just tell them preachers to stop raping boys.  I have more respect for Jimmy Swaggart than them.  At least he screws hookers.

Now, I fucked up again, wound up in A.A. in 1994, and did pretty well with it and she left me.  I got drunk again, got inspired to bitch God out again, and God answered.  I was "touched" by some Godly figure and fell into a state of peace that words do no justice.  I got back into A.A., got sober again, and started onto a path of seeking God and becoming ever confused about God, A.A., religion, etc.

What I know of God now is that I can go to God and He will meet me wherever I am at.  God is a gentleman.  God does not intervene unless it becomes absolutely necessary, then He'll rip whatever it is that I'm trying to kill myself with out of my bloody paws.  I could have and should have killed myself many times over, usually not by accident.  But tell me I'm in danger and I would have laughed at you.  It's my experience that God wants us to be happy and to glorify Him by doing what we were intended to do.  Be the best whatever-it-is that you were put on this earth to do.  This can be sometimes hard to discover.  I like to look at eastern religion for truth, Native American teachings, Christianity,Judaism, whatever form of truth that there is. 

Folks have mocked me for it relentlessly, but I tune into the likes of Charles Stanley, Rick Warren, CS Lewis, the first 103 pages of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, Carlos Castaneda, David R. Hawkins, and all of Jesus.

David R. Hawkins does the absolute best job of describing the whole of the Universe to me, states of consciousness, God, us, and our place together despite all of the controversy of it all, all of the conflicting religions and messages, and what's really important.  The way I see it is this; the real reason Jesus left the earth was merely because He ascended this realm of being and just had to go.  His humanly body would have just burned out and disintegrated had He have stayed.  The rest of the stuff... story... is secondary. 

I'm a follower of Christ, but where I part is the point where I hear Christians say that you must become a Christian and eat Christian-only-Pie to get to Heaven, and if you don't, you are doomed to eternal hellfire and damnation Hell.  So if you're a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Jew, etc., then you are wrong and you are going to Hell.

I just can't buy that shit.  Hawkins describes things in such a way as to make it all seem true, it's just that some things are hard to understand and even describe if not in the right context ... aka state of consciousness.

So the meeting went well.  I heard some good stuff.  We had some good questions in Crossfire too. 

One of the questions that got brought up was, Does your concept of God include everything in the universe?  Have you ever tried to live a God-centered life away from A.A.?  Have you ever thrown in the chips and just cussed God out and demanded answers?  That one was modified to the question, "Have you ever tested God and/or asked Him for an answer?"  What are you doing now to further seek and to obey this God of yours?  Some things that came up were, prayer and meditation, reading a passage out of the bible every day, getting back to daily meditation with the inclusion of an intent for my life, family, career, community, etc. 

The atheist even got brought up.  A guy in the meeting said he worked with a hard-nosed atheist who said all he did was took the word God and added an "O" to it.  He said that he couldn't find himself to worship God, but could worship Good all day long.

What else got brought up was the specific act of leaving A.A. in favor of joining the Church for sobriety and a continued successful and happy life.  We have seen some folks do that; some with success and some with failure.  Most of us in our group are of the belief that we stay plugged into A.A. no matter what and all else can be added.  Christians are great people and can live a wonderful and God-centered life.  But at the end of the day, when they stub their toe, they don't drink.  A.A. is God-talk for drunks, imo.

How refreshing.  An atheist who lives a happy and useful life rather than sitting around bitching at and arguing with those of Faith.


  1. As listed in my profile, I obtain my faith inspiration from 2 books = Alcoholics Anonymous and the Urantia Book which I find to be astounding but very deep and hard to grasp because it is written at post-doctorate level. I attend study groups for assistance and find them to be very enriching in answering my many questions about God, Christ and the universe and how Earth fits into the big plan.
    I found my spirituality in AA after many years as an agnostic fall-away Catholic.
    I was so glad to see Francis I ascend to Popehood. I believe he will clean up the Curia and start to decisively deal with the Church's problems. To me, he lives his life according to the example set by Christ.

  2. Your Urantia Book sounds interesting. Is it much harder to understand than William James Variety of Religious Experiences or Carl Jung's books? If so, I think I'll have to pass.

  3. Some parts are and some aren't. When it was first suggested it was recommended I start in the middle of the book - The Life of Christ - pretty easy reading.
    The first half of the book covers the millenias on Earth's evolution before that
    event. The cosmology is pretty complex but the Papers on Adam & Eve, The Lucifer Rebellion and the First Human Family (Not Adam & Eve) are very intriguing. Pass if you wish, but an an inquiring mind like yours will miss out on a great adventure, IMO.

  4. Where I'm at this moment with God/concept of God is that it's merely instructional at this point. You want to feel and experience God? Go get some. Go out and bring God along with you in your day. Include God with you everywhere you go... or at least stop and remember... that here you stand in the middle of your day... in that "thinking of myself MOST of the time"... with the opportunity to turn away from that and get bact into the stream of life.

    We don't have to beat ourselves up through this process. Why? Because it says right there in our nightly review, "When we retire at night, we constructively review our day."

    It's simple. It's just an instruction to follow. We have the opportunity to just stop beating ourselves up, doubting, resisting, etc., to turn and carry on to instruction B. Ok, back to beginning, did A, did B, doing C...

  5. I call it the 5 Parts of the 10th. Steps.

  6. Our meeting this last Monday was on 10th step. We talked about admissions and how we come to see stuff in us that we've been blocked from.

    As a good mechanic recently told me... no findie no fixie.