religion Archive

My Experience With Leaving AA and Successfully Staying Sober

Trigger warning: mentions of alcoholism, relapse, and sexual violence

Failure is built into the punitive, guilt-ridden fabric of AA. An archaic framework of Christian dogma marketed as the only way to get sober. If you fail it’s your fault. If you succeed it’s God’s miracle. Every meeting we recited that those who drink after AA are “naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” According to AA honesty in confession to unscrupulous strangers will keep you from drinking. That and the will of God.

My Experience with Wicca and Pagan Spirituality

When they asked us in rehab that March of 2013 what our spirituality consisted of, I said that is was “Somewhere between yoga and fireflies.” I was getting very into yoga. I felt that the states of greater transcendence I reached while practicing to be closest to the spiritual as I, a die-hard atheist, could get. I felt that the grandeur of nature and expanse of the universe was a higher power, but I couldn’t get behind the idea that the universe would have anything to do with me or want to help me. I felt insignificant in the galaxy, a mote of dust, a sheep, as AA professed.

Faith and Sexuality with Bipolar

New to a wholehearted identification with the LGBTQ community, new to thinking of myself—knowing myself—as gay, my skin was as thin as paper when it came to perceived attacks on my identity. I felt as vulnerable and exposed as in the months after people learned I had a mental illness, so many years ago. I felt naked, like by coming out I had stripped away some vital protection that came with people thinking of me as straight, or even bisexual—capable, at least, of feeling sexual attraction to men—and that now I walked around people with an intimate part of me laid bare. To be gay, bi, pan, asexual, or queer in some other way is so much more than sex, but that’s what I felt like everyone in my family and close circle of friends were thinking about when they talked to me. I felt so incredibly revealed.

What Every Trans Person Should Ask Their Mental Health Provider

For me, deciding to see a therapist about my gender dysphoria was a huge step. It was the first time I had told another human being face to face that I thought I was transgender. I was lucky; the psychologist in the area who is known for taking trans clients was full up and couldn’t take me. She recommended a colleague whom I had never heard of. I gave her a chance, and she turned out to be phenomenal. She was non-judgmental, listened well, asked insightful questions, and in the end became someone whose insights and ideas I trusted.

The Value of Your Life

The value of life, the value of your life, is one that will be questioned in variables and determined by the abundance of self help books with anonymous authors who will tell you a few basic things. These things, as I have learned through the many books “gifted” to me or sent to me in depressive episodes are this;

A life worth living, a life worth value, consists of:

  • A deeply engaged social life.
  • A job that pays high and treats you well.
  • A deep connection and a non wavering relationship with family members.
  • Extroversion and all it’s many gifts.
  • Love and fear of the Lord
  • A healthy diet and a light weight.
  • A loving heterosexual, romantic partner (unless you have Borderline Personality Disorder, then you should stay away from romantic or non-romantic attachments for the safety of others)
  • An adult attitude and an “adult” handling of emotions.

Religion and Mental Illness: A Personal Evaluation

Some might say that religion is just a manifestation of mental illness (I’m looking at you, Richard Dawkins), or literally call your religious beliefs “crazy.” When you think about it, it is actually pretty crazy to literally believe that a man can walk on water, or that G-d speaks through a burning bush, or that […]

My Experience With Alcoholics Anonymous And Early Sobriety (Ava)

Sobriety is a different forest, and one I am picking my way through carefully. The level of commitment that AA seems to require is daunting, as is the god issue. But I have seen people speak there that moved and affected me in a way that was more beneficial than any serenity prayer. Balancing cynicism and nihilism with the all-to-clear possibility of death, I’ve relapsed this month but I’m trying to embrace the program without losing myself. When I relapsed, my wife yelled at me to give her the rest of the bottle of vodka, and all I could say was, “I want something to myself, that is mine.” I gave her the bottle. I want to believe I have other things to hold onto, but the glacial heft of a glass bottle is a hand held.

Group Therapy – Panic and Anxiety, Session 1

Trigger Warning: mention of rape, sexual assault

This is the first of an 8 week series reviewing panic and anxiety from a group therapy point of view. It is based on the group therapy services available through Langley Memorial Hospital. Feel free to follow along and answer the questions posted in each section.

Session 1: Exploring Anxiety Disorders

DBT Skills: Distress Tolerance

I’m in a DBT group right now. It’s comprised of four modules, and I just finished my second, which is distress tolerance. Of all the things I could possibly say about it, the most accurate would be that it’s a lot of work. Think of it this way: it’s a lot of practicing things that are aimed at reducing distress, regardless of what mood or state of mind one might be in. Thankfully my emotions are still pretty distressing on a regular basis, so I was able to more or less have something to compare the results to.

Today, Like So Many Others, Is A Great Day

Editor’s note: This story mentions some severe triggers. Please be careful about reading this story if you are easily triggered by the topics mentioned in our trigger warning.

Trigger warnings: Abuse, including torture and child sexual assault, forced confinement, rape, violence, bullying, and hate crimes.

Yesterday/today was/is a great day. A day to celebrate. Any day that slaps me upside my head and and asks, “WTF you bitching about?” is always a great day!