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About Samuel

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    So Cal
  • Interests
    Adjusting to life outside of religion
  • More About Me
    I like getting outside and enjoying life, and beer.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. I would try SMART as well if you can find it. I haven’t tried it myself but there are many more 12 step programs in my area. My perspective on the 12 step programs is that they should get you on the road to recovery and out the door. You’ll learn tools, examin yourself, empower yourself, while facing potentially some hard truths. You can find all different types of groups for 12 step programs even within the program you will have to seek out people who have the experiences and past that allow you to get the help you need. For me it was never about the program so much as having a place to share the things I needed to talk about, listen for tools, get sponsorship where I wasn’t accountable. I don’t believe in life long membership but that’s me. I also think that if you don’t want to live you shouldn’t have too, but I balance that by saying if you can’t figure out how to do it right you need to get some tools and resources to help you out, change your perspective, change your mind, work with what you’ve got, learn about yourself. Appreciate weakness if they’re too great and respond accordingly. I grew from the experience whether or not the 12 steps would have gotten me there. I used it as a utility, made a couple friends, didn’t continue some friendships/relationships/sponsorships too. The most important thing to me is if you can be honest. Is if the group has the capacity to hear you/put up with you. You go to meeting to hear other people tell their tales and pick up on the lessons that will help you to appreciate especially the behavior that you are afraid of. If you are lucky you’ll be able to examine some of the deeper things like where your needs come from. There’s good in the meetings, some bullshit, and sometimes you don’t know what is what. If you have the mindset to collect what you need, participate until it makes sense or until you can make a decision whether it’s working or not you’ll probably gain a lot. The surrendering part is admiting you’re not sure what’s going on, which you’ve already done. Theres no harm in languishing in the unknown and hoping for a god to help you, but practically speaking the god is the advice and life experiences others bring to the table. Hence you need to do some looking around to find a worthwhile group and play it by ear listening for hints suggestions and understand that your working with your own brain and responsible to figure it out. If always found people in 12step groups willing to help and that’s a great quality, it’s part of the amends and being of service to others. If you’re in a culty 12 step you find another one. Go to an NA meeting instead. You get to choose that for the most part if your city has different groups. You don’t have to like the group and can switch. There are all sorts of people trying to recover in different ways. I believe even talking about your issues is important and attending a 12step meeting is a step towards a SMART meeting or where ever you ultimately end up. Don’t hold off on getting the lower quality help if that’s easily available in your city, take advantage of it, move on to therapy or other options if you need them. Many of the things that the religious people in these groups do aren’t really about asking god to fix them, but it’s more of a mindset, about being willing to get help for things you don’t know how to help yourself, and that’s a key to so many of life’s problems. There’s no easy way to substitute the god stuff, mostly it’s an orientation where most people open themselves up to become receptive to answers they don’t have already but I understand why people might find that disempowering, or why it might keep people trapped coming back to meetings. It could become additive in itself. I suggest you embrace your inner pagan and let your demons out pray to Satan the great for healing from demonismo it just depends on whether you can suspend a little belief and still get help from what is basically just a bunch of guys who don’t necessarily care a lot about the divine themselves (each group is different).
  2. Samuel

    Things Atheists Post On Facebook

    So true. I think about this a lot. So happy to be an atheist and grow my appreciation of life than worship the imaginary and afterlife to come. I just find more and more that life is able to ring true though I don’t have all the answers, I hated comforting people with religious lies and parables, and I am loving letting an acceptance of life on its terms be all the comfort that I need. Its just all the lies and false bullshit expectations and past experiences of religious indoctrination that have to be scrubbed away, so a genuine appreciation of things can come.
  3. Samuel

    Leaving religious family

    For sure, I think what I’m getting at is that my mother is really religious. You would have to get into the teachings of the particular organization that I came out of but she sees her religion as inseparable and synonymous with life. There are practices within the organization that pretty much lead of person to try and be preoccupied with religious thought 24/7. So there’s just no middle ground to have a relationship and I think I’m just greaving that, coming to terms with it in a way. For me my deconversion is about also coming out as gay which my parents see as something that can be changed, or is not a big deal, they’ve held beliefs that are hateful towards gay people and really demeaning to me for my entire life. I get in this mindspace where I regret cutting off communication but I also know that all communication in the past was based on pretending that I wasn’t who I am (in many ways). I think part of it (not a therapist or anything) is that I’m struggling with those pieces of the relationship or just human decency that I’d like to honor but can’t because they are tied to so much disagreeable self-serving malice. I mean how do you say I’m sad that I can’t comfort you about my never having been happy growing up in the religion and leaving. Im definitely feeling some pain trying to break away and every time I try to negate my experience to make others feel better I feel worse. My father on the other hand is practically pathological in his authoritarianism. It’s hard for me the break out of the sort of authoritarian thought patterns that he laid out growing up.
  4. Samuel

    Leaving religious family

    Thanks, I really appreciate that :)
  5. I've been in the process of de-coversion for several years now. I think one of the hardest things for me has been separating my identity from my religious family and in particular their cult like religion. For the first time I think I am beginning to be able to see myself separately. And this has brought a lot more health into my life. One of the hardest things has been separating from my relationship with my mom who really doesn't have any identity outside the cult. She has been in the cult her whole life and I just don't have any way to have a secular relationship with her. Because of this its taken that much longer to realize that I just can't do it any more for my health. Time and time again she has used her place in my heart to push the ideals of their organization, its hard for me to explain really what it feels like to be used in this way. It feels really bad. I've been depressed lately, but I wanted to post this, since it seems close to progress. IDK.
  6. Samuel

    Freedom in Jesus

    Yeah, I get what you mean about people making major life decisions based on what others said. Its sickened me to see people make serious life decisions off of the advice my parents as leaders in their christian community. Did my mom go to college, no. Did my dad ever read ANY books other than the particular books from our religious organization, nope. I have literally been in the room, even while a christian, and just listened to terrible advice being given, assurances that should not have been passed down were passed down, and mostly just nothing burgers with the assurance of God because of their authority position. It upsets me a lot to think of how many people, especially young people, my parents have acted like god to. Its a mind trip, to get out from under that thinking that an authority figure should tell you what to do. Hence the fantasy requirement of a psych degree, or other qualification, which would make people conscious that they are overstepping boundaries, violating people's will (desires, motives, etc) and lying about the fundamental fact that people don't have ESP. One of the hard things for me in the aftermath is learning to trust myself, learning to assert where I didn't out of fears that I would have been disparaged for some spiritual crime.
  7. Samuel

    Freedom in Jesus

    It would be so nice if these people actually were qualified to give the help they claim to be giving. Consumer reports for mind-fuckery. It could be like this religion is minimally invasive, but this one is a total lobotomy.
  8. Samuel

    Need to Rant

    Sounds like you are going through a lot. I will send you demonic vibes from liberal California to mock religious lady. 👻👻
  9. Samuel

    Pleasing aroma to God?

    The church I grew up in told us we were the pleasant aroma, the assumption being that our lives were on fire from all that had been burnt away: like the world and all our pleasures and stuff. It really just goes to show if life was bad you were receiving all this propaganda about how much god loved it. If things were really bad, the things you were told was that god really loved you. I was thinking about animal sentience looking at a rabbit wondering if he was jealous of me. I had just listened to a chapter of dawkin's magic of reality where he asks you to go on a thought experiment where you travel back in time through our relatives. At first you place a picture of your relatives on top of one another going back in time. So your dad, grandpa, great grandpa, then you pick up a relative every 400 years or so at first. Dawkins walks you through who you would meet and the differences and marks some important points. Then you start leaping by millions of years where you share ancestors with a broader range of species. I think there was a stephen king novel about the animals turning on us...
  10. I have been struggling a bit to figure out different things in my life recently, job, moving, etc... And one of the things that I have had inner conflict about, which maybe just a lack of non-religious coping mechanism or resilience, is that I feel emotionally off balance if I look too closely at certain beliefs I have about faith. I think that I am holding onto certain beliefs in the unknown because I have so much unknown in my life right now. I always had a strong belief in what was possible with god while I was religious and I think that was largely because I had so many struggles, being a closeted gay man in a superstict church where there were no gay people, and gay people were routinely attacked. I guess I am curious how others have dealt with fears over the unknown in their lives. I look at the faith I had as not alway beneficials. I think it took longer for me to get the help I needed, and it prolonged things, and ways of thinking that were really not beneficial. I would say having faith is one of the things that cause me to take so long in coming out, and has prolonged the time it has taken to really find myself (still doing that). And yet, it's there when other things fail. Like rationality. I can't rationally tell where my next job is, and I feel I would be dishonest to say that and irrational faith has allowed anxiety to pass from my mind.
  11. Samuel

    Samuel from SoCal

    Thanks lonebluesky I really appreciate your share and encouragement.
  12. Samuel

    Guilt over leaving

    One of the things I have struggled with in leaving Christianity is the guilt. Guilt of leaving family members behind, of leaving a community that raised me. I feel bad about having to put up boundaries no matter how justified they are or how egregious the religious intolerance is. I feel bad about keeping the barriers up when I feel there might be some conciliation because I know I just need to get clear of it. Then there are moments where I just feel bad. There are days when I just feel bad about how people who I cared about probably see me. I feel bad because I don’t think they understand that I really tried, and that my most honest response was to leave and reject beliefs which I found to be untrue. It hurts because they weren’t just my religion, they were my community, and I didn’t have any other growing up. It feels unfair to be honest and have that community reject you. If I’m honest I want to yell at them and say, “how can you reject me”? But then I know they would say well just come back and that’s not what I want at all... obviously. What I mean is that I wish that the community I was raised in accepted me as an atheist. It seems weird to ask that of a religious community, but is it? Was it my choice to be forced into it, to have all other communities condemned as evil and doors shut to them? Its kind of like an intense lack of validation for which I feel guilt. I want that power this organization held over my life to stop.
  13. Samuel

    Video: What Happens When You Die?

    I’m glad there’s a discussion of death. Its seems hard to live a full life without first having contemplated what it means, especially post religion.
  14. Samuel

    Is it normal?

    I definitely relate to the picking of everything apart. For me, part of it is just who I am, but also because religious people pick apart at everything you believe you start to think now how will they pick this apart. This kind of like internalizing the feelings of your former religious friends/family. You really do open up to people broadly in religion. (Curious to know what other people think about the effect of opening up over broadly in religion versus realistic expectations for how secular people handle relationships. I’m starting to think there is a new normal to be found, but I don’t know.) Anyway, in my mind I’m on the defensive. But it’s hard to be on the defensive and grow as a person at the same time. I can usually focus only on growing or defending. It’s bad enough when you have internalized religious people’s feelings. But worse when there are external factors. It’s like you can’t build while someone is taking away your blocks. That’s been the hardest part of deconverting and also why I’ve appreciated this forum. It’s nice to have people who have your back when people try to take your building blocks away. It took me a long time to realize that the parents/family who raised me weren’t on my side. Boundaries and building space even harder. I’ve felt like the bad guy for so long it sucks. I hate it. (I should make a rant about that) If I’m too focus on protecting my beliefs I just get trapped like religious people and so much of my deconversion depends on being able to consider and experience and grow in ways I wasn’t allowed or able before. And the whole joy of deconversion is being able to experience the world, life, choice, truth... more.
  15. Samuel

    Christians blaming gays

    Neither have been easy. There are gay churches, and I went to one or two for a bit until I realized, no, it’s not just about being gay, it’s about the beliefs as well.