Addicted to God

Addicted to God
Gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to God!

A couple of months ago, I wrote the story of an acquaintance who was battling alcoholism.  I hadn’t heard from him since he asked me about AA and some non-religious programs, but I finally got an e-mail from him over the weekend with a transcript of an exchange he had with a religious alcoholic that was trying to get him into a religious program.

Now I immediately noted in the first e-mail exchange that said theist was using some very religious-style rhetoric regarding the AA 12-step program.  From what I understand, although I’m not exactly clear on all of it, this theist knows my friend’s sponsor and when he stopped showing up to AA meetings, having moved on to a non-religious program, the theist got concerned and asked for contact information, which the sponsor provided.  Personally, I’d be rather pissed off if someone I knew, and presumably not all that well, was giving out my personal information to every Tom, Dick and Harry that came along asking for it.  Regardless, I made a mental note to tell him what I was seeing, but it wasn’t long before it wasn’t necessary, he had identified it himself.

He concluded in this e-mail exchange that this theist 12-stepper was still an addict, but instead of being addicted to alcohol or drugs, he was addicted to God.  He spoke about how much love he felt toward the 12-step program and how it had saved his life and made him closer to God.  Now, he recognized that he was unable to do anything without the help of his imaginary friend in the sky, he spent his days on his knees instead of trying to make it alone and, of course, he was now an evangelist, not only for the program, but for Christianity.  He was personally hurt that my friend had left the program and he got even more hurt that my friend had moved to a secular program where God wasn’t the most important thing in his life.  He begged my friend to come back to the fold and embrace Christianity as his only chance of ending his sinful past.  God was the only way!

Honestly, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that this kind of thing happens in 12-step programs, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it in print first hand.  I’d say it’s scary, but it really isn’t.  It’s more pathetic than anything else.  You have an individual here who is still giving in to his addictive personality, he’s just traded an unacceptable addiction for one that’s largely embraced in western society.  I looked up some of the symptoms of addiction and I could see most of them in this person’s e-mail.  He was defensive, he blamed his alcoholism on “faltering in his walk with the Lord”, there’s clear guilt and shame present in his words, he talks about how awful he feels that God had to punish him with alcoholism to get him to turn his life around.

My friend really wanted to know if he should continue to talk to this guy, seeing how I have a lot more experience debating crazies.  My advice was, unless you enjoy being frustrated, stop responding, he’s never going to change the theist’s mind and the theist isn’t going to change his.  Luckily, he seems to be doing well, has been totally clean, no alcohol, no tobacco and nothing else, for more than 30 days.  Better yet, he’s not trading one addiction for another.  If anything, he’s  becoming a stronger skeptic and non-theist than he was before.  Not only is he becoming healthier and happier, he’s getting smarter!  You can’t beat those results!

4 thoughts on “Addicted to God”

  1. This reminds me of a religious program i heard about for ex-offenders in the USA, they claim a 100% success rate of no re-offence. However the trick is as soon as someone reoffends then they are deemed unchristian and so they are no longer part of the program and the record is maintained…..or should I say they alter the statistics to suit themselves.

    I am glad your acquiantince is doing well, addictions are hard things to get over. But they should not be replaced by another one like god. Actually I would say god is a worse addiction.
    My recent post Dishonesty from the pulpit

  2. As I suffered from “Jellnick’s Disease”

    for many years and spent some 11 years

    trying to stop my addiction to alcohol, I will throw in my Five Cents. ( Inflation )

    While the “cure” rate is low for all of the methods I tried before finding the one which finally “DID IT” (my last intentional drink with alcohol in it was Aug, 20 1983)

    AA cure rate was the worst one I know of.

    I tried stays in various Jails, an Alcohol Rehabilitation Camp and a Hospital AA program. I tried Hypnosis, Acupuncture & Vitamin Therapy. NONE WORKED!

    Then I was fortunate enough to work for Magnavox as one of their a Manufacturing

    supervisors for long enough to qualify for their insurance to cover my treatment in the Shick Shadel Hospitals “Aversion” program. And while the entire program is 14 days, in only ten “treatment” days, I no longer drank!!!

    As far as I know the Shick program has the highest successful treatment rate there is.

    To say that I LOVE Shick’s program is an understatement as it saved my life! (And it did the same for a lady I was going out with at a later time,)


    (At one time there was also a SECULAR

    program to stop drinking. While I do not know if it is still going on, I will check to see what I can find out.)

    OPPS, I nearly forgot to relate some of my Atheist Activism which relates to this.

    It was during the time I was in the Alcohol Rehabilitation Camp at Acton, CA. that I contacted the ACLU to get them to intercede on my behalf to stop my being forced to attend AA meetings.

    IF I remember correctly, not only where they (the ACLU) able to stop my being forced to attend AA meetings, they got it so no Judge could sentence anyone to attend AA meetings.

    1. While I've had no direct experience, from what I've heard from others, it seems to be the more fundamentalist or evangelical groups that are more apt to use alcoholism or drug abuse as a means to shove their religious beliefs on the unwilling. I find it utterly reprehensible that someone would take the down and out and otherwise vulnerable and see that as an opportunity to push their faith.

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