The Loneliness of the Agnostic Alcoholic?


I am totally unqualified to write the post I’m about to write. But I just listened to a thought provoking podcast from the guys at Since Right Now and I’m thinking this morning (till my thinker gets sore) about God and His role in my recovery from alcoholism.

I’m also tiptoeing around WORDS this morning because the guest, Joe C, the author of Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life, has his own recovery lexicon and I don’t want to offend anyone’s sensibilities (e.g. AA is not a “program” but a “fellowship” and agnostics seek higher “purpose” not a higher “power”). If this sounds snarky or ironic in any way, I don’t mean it to be so…

I am a sucker for a good salesman. When someone is smart and articulate and thinks on their feet, I am drawn in whether I want a high performance vacuum cleaner or not. Joe C is a guy with a voice like my facial technician’s hands: I want to curl up, dose and believe everything he says.

But every one of us has their own story.

You will remember me as the life long doubter. The woman who rejected organized religion. The one who looked up defiantly at the effigy of Jesus on the pulpit while all the other supplicants bowed in deference. For twenty years I resisted Kim’s offers of bible study and church and the comfort they might bring.

And then I had that day on the abandoned beach; when I was so lost and shaky and hung over and desperate, I actually fell to my knees and begged for help to the vast, overly blue of the heavens. That moment didn’t change a thing really, but afterwards I didn’t feel quite so alone.

So I am going to do what I always do. I’m going to boil an hour long, complicated, well-educated discussion to a simple fact I can get my head around.

Not believing in God and being a recovering alcoholic seems lonely to me.

Today I’m not drinking because I am thinking.

How come you’re not drinking?