I love science! I don’t want to offend anybody.
I’ve learned from some time in SA, how to be “spiritual” without subscribing to a religion, or even God in the traditional sense. So refreshing! I’m enjoying the feeling I get when I do things for others, instead of being so selfish all the time. This program is great. I’m just hoping other science lovers and atheists who suffer from uncontrollable lust, will give SA a chance. It works!
Please feel free to share any cool science stuff.
Do you feel like you are being pressured in your town to be religious? I’m all about science, but I’m happy with my own views and don’t really get bothered by how others view the world… Unless I guess if it was constantly in my face.
And yeah… There’s a lot of psychology behind the 12 steps, it’s a lot more than meets the eye.
For me, finding my spirituality has been the biggest game changer with my sobriety and just my life in general. I think spirituality is more intertwined with science than you think. I’ll try to find an article that supports my statements however.
I am very Christian, but respect the scientific process. I believe that God works through scientific principles that are unchanging. I believe he created the world through science, not in 6000 years bit instead in 6 creative periods, which were extensive in time. I dont think its unreasonable to believe that Adam and Eve could have existed though outside of this world though. Created/born elsewhere and brought to this world.
But, no. None of that is able to be scientifically proven. There is however science that exists in this universe that we are ages, perhaps millennia away from understanding/achieving.
I think this article is a good first step into the world of science & spiritually. Pretty quick, easy read.
Im all about science too and many people do succeed with this approach but if you find that it does not help you, the spiritual route through AA works very well and also is both psychological and spiritual. The spiritual route has saved me when all other 150+ attempts failed.
I do love science also though, rather than picking and choosing, i use both.
Congratulations on your sobriety !
This is such a wonderful and insightful response Joseph
I wouldn’t say I feel pressured to be religious, but at the risk of sounding arrogant, I definitely feel stifled intellectually and unwilling or unable to discuss… “things” for lack of a better word.
I think I may have a problem with the word “Spirituality” and the wishful connotations I associate with the word, more than anything else. You’re undoubtedly correct in saying there’s something quantifiable, that is to say, something scientific about spirituality, but I don’t think it’s something that transcends our ability to observe it, or measure it.
For instance, one of my indulgences every morning is listening to a radio show, called “the road home” from 5am to 6am. It’s rare offbeat music blended with readings of poetry that quite often will leave me in tears, in those moments it’s almost meditative and you lose yourself in what you’re hearing. Or I can just be holding my daughter and rocking her to sleep with some Jack Johnson playing on my phone in my pocket, and just once again, cry because of how overwhelmingly happy I feel in that moment. I suppose one could call these spiritual moments or perhaps not, either way I believe those moments, whatever they may be do simply come down to chemical and hormonal processes in the brain, does that make it less beautiful? Of course not, if anything being enlightened about that process and the fact that we even exist to experience them is even more awe inspiring to me than anything.
Please do share any findings on the spiritual science link I’m eager to read. I appreciate your response!
That’s a cool article. Cuz yeah, having worked the steps being an agnostic and scientist, the method behind its success hasn’t been lost on me. Hell, it worked for me.
I understand the seeking a rational answer. But knowing wasn’t doing, and I finally gave up and just tried on what worked for others. Before the end I didn’t particularly care anymore about the how, it was working.
For something less spiritually bent, you might like some of Annie Grace’s books. Also I know you’re not alone here on the fully non-spiritual route. I believe @Robketts, @Alliecat (?) and many others have good leads.
First off, great topic, really interesting food for thought.
I was going to recommend the Art of Happiness which is a really interesting intersection between Buddhist philosophy (as outlined by speeches and interviews with the Dalai Lama) and recent psychological studies which basically provide science for why some of that philosophy might work.
My thoughts on your post…
I guess the thing with a lot of spirituality and religion is that it is older than what we now regard as science. It is great to have an enquiring mind but, in my opinion, to disregard an option because it isn’t supported by a randomised control trial or whatever might mean you miss out on something that really works for you.
In my postgrad studies I looked up a lot of stuff by Ray Pawson and the realist evaluation approach. I still think scientific research is super important but I also think it’s important to remember that it is only as good as the latest set of studies (and depends on what questions have been asked and the quality of data collected - we don’t know what we don’t know etc). Research (particularly evaluation research) tends to uncover an average result which conceals lots of variation and contextual information which the results of a study can’t articulate.
I come at this as an atheist who has fallen out of love with people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins over the years. I think a lot of what they have to say is interesting but I think they are just quite rude about people who are religious. I prefer to practice tolerance of other views to my own (I try my best anyway!) and try to see what I can learn from others. This has served me well in sobriety, I have learned a lot from people here who are religious and/or have been through AA. I also practice yoga and meditation which arguably have spiritual elements to them, they certainly draw on ancient philosophy.
I might also add, love the comments re: spirituality. This was a piece I had lost (again) while drinking and would qualify myself as spiritually agnostic.
And, I dunno… To me it’s that blob of stuff that philosophers and poets alike have tried to express for centuries. It’s too big to wrap up in a single sentence. There an ineffable sense to it too vast and slippery to be pinned down.
I can describe the interaction of two perfectly isolated bodies by simple formulas. I can model the interaction of many with great precision. Eventually it gets to be too many and still there’s a law of averages that does pretty well.
Beyond it all it continues to spiral out until chaos theory applies, where all I can do is predict where my prediction will diverge, yet still there’s a strange sense underlying it all.
Whatever the heck that thing is, I literally drove myself mad with it until I just pointed and called it, “Whatever the heck that thing is.”
And it’s pretty cool. Life, the Universe and Everything.
What a lovely response. I appreciate it.
I agree the word spirituality really threw me off as well when I first started my recovery. The more I looked into it, the more I gravitated towards it and it’s been extremely fulfilling. Spirituality has given me “purpose” in the world which I was desperately lacking prior because I had such a logical (for me it was close minded) approach to the world. I gained purpose with my kids… But they… Are not my purpose in life, I think that’s too much responsibility to put on them if that makes sense. I think purpose can be fluid, and don’t get me wrong, it is my responsibility to raise two well rounded people to be a beneficial part of society/this world. But they aren’t the end all be all reason I am here is what I’m saying. They will grow and be independent, and they cannot stay small just for me to feel beneficial. I learned I need to find my essential reason for why I am in this world and I couldn’t find it through being logical. I would like to make impact, I’m figuring out how to do that now through my spirituality. Even if it’s all for nothing in the end, why not try to live up to my fullest purpose in life.
My response didn’t have much science behind it lol sorry. But I do appreciate this topic and the insight it’s given me
Ha, yeah… Sorry to go waxing all philosophical, @Foxtrot, but loving this whole thread!
No it was a great response, I love all the responses. It can be very cold and calculating to take a viewpoint such as mine but it’s the only one with satisfying answers for me and the humility of science and the willingness to be proven wrong which ultimately leads to a greater understanding. I completely agree with your point about children not being your purpose, your children complement your life and learn from what your purpose is, and if your purpose is only to serve them what will that teach them? Your kids are lucky to have a mother with such a good head on her shoulders.
@Eke Your post is very well written and poetic in itself, well done! I’m honestly relieved that you and others are taking interest in this topic.
I completely agree, I would never disregard the 12 steps as an option due to the overwhelming evidence for their effectiveness. I just crave an understanding as to why it works and what it may be doing to our brains. Who knows, with enough evidence and research maybe the 12 steps can be improved or modified.
I don’t value studies as much as I value experiment and observation. Studies can be poorly executed and biased. Very valid point though.
Yes Christopher Hitchens is extremely abrasive I will agree! He’s also a journalist though and is very well traveled having seen faith based violence in many parts of the world, I can totally understand his passion and his motivation for speaking the way he does. I don’t think I can ever fall out of love with him though, he was actually quite tolerant of others views too, but I won’t get into that.
Amazing job with your sobriety, thank you for your response!
I wish I could find the old post, but just for fun I translated the 12 steps removing God and spirituality. Like most people here I do not see spirituality and science as being mutually exclusive.
I will say that for me it was a lot easier to get sober when I worried less about why it works and more about how it works. You can never be too dumb to find recovery but you can definitely be to smart. And for all the research that’s been done on addiction there’s nothing close to a cure. As far as I know a lot of doctors still recommend AA.
Unfortunately I don’t have the aticulative vocabulary of some but my two penny’s worth anyway.
My view of the whole spiritual side is more to do with us, inside us, how we see ourselves. How we find ourselves within the greater scheme.
Hence all the talk about changing how you think about things, think positively about a situation, see the good in something. This helps to change our perception of not only ourselves, but also the world around us. Thus producing good feelings that we don’t need to drown out. We see the good in lue.
Totally agree with the science behind AA.
I touched slightly on phycology when I did my degree so understand the principles of mirroring and the fact that if you hang with a particular kind of group you soon start to pick up group ideas and tendancies. Hence the group mindset.
This would allow for the group mindset of say a poor area where the residents may feel helpless and hopelessness. The shared mindset of the group. Someone raised in that environment would have to work hard to change their lifes, to raise their “spirits”.
Unfortunately when the word spirituality is used a lot of close minded people just think of occultism, the opposite side of religion so to speak.
Also with regard to sharing, isn’t there an old saying, something like " a problem shared is a problem halved" ? These old saying are not just mumbojumbo!
My problem with science is that it can be so cold.
It doesn’t always allow for the human aspect, but then I’m not a religious person either. My mind is always open to any possibilities.
I’d really recommend you read some of Ray Pawsons stuff. I found it fascinating. Even observation is informed by certain contexts, assumptions etc. His thing is very much about challenging and searching for understanding. It’s all in the context of evaluation science but probably fairly transferable to other areas of enquiry
I appreciate this post. My entrance to the forum was a chatroom thread called
" Atheist Alcoholics". It still exist although I could not find as many atheists as I hoped to. I could not accept a higher power or anything similar to it. This is on me. I need to research new studies in neuroscience. Carl is my hero and Blue pale dot is my piece of writing that keeps me alive. Explains the meaninglessness of life yet we can find meaning in little things everyday. I don’t feel sorry for myself and put it on some unknown plan.
That is way too easy. By the way, I respect everybody’s beliefs, way of living and the way that they found that works for them.
I work on trying to find a purpose and become the person I would like to be. I try to find my inner peace once I had but drinking ruined. It is extremely hard to do damage control and repair. It is up to me.