I talk a certain amount about church/state separation and the need for it. But as my title suggests, there’s more than just government that needs to be separated from religion.
Which brings me to Overeaters Anonymous (I’m starting there because it’s the group I have actual experience with. If I were attending a meeting today, however, it would have to have something to do with alcohol).
In the year 1985, I graduated from high school, moved with my parents to Florida, and went to college in Ohio. And I discovered that I could no longer run from the fact that I had a problem with food.
I’d been overeating emotionally since sometime in high school, but my year at Oberlin College was the year I faced it and decided to get help. I found a chapter of OA that met locally and started attending meetings.
For my winter term at Oberlin, I chose Christian Spirituality as my project. Winter Term was essentially the month of January, so I spent January delving into my religion, and I started to question it. Before I was done, not only was I no longer a Catholic, but I had lost my abstinence as well. I hit 182 pounds that year, the heaviest I’ve ever been (although weight is not always an indicator of compulsive eating, it was in my case). I did regain my abstinence over time, in no small measure due to the man who would become my husband, and the rock-solid support I got from him. My faith came and went over the next year or two, until I eventually, without realizing it, had become an atheist.
I CANNOT have my faith and my abstinence linked. I can’t risk losing them both together ever again. Unfortunately, the secular alternative, the local SOS group, has collapsed, so I’m getting by while reading my brand-new Kindle copy of How to Stay Sober: Recovery without Religion. The collapsed SOS group said they’d heard good things about an AA Agnostics group, but I’m reluctant to trust any group with the name “AA” on it, given my history.
And then, sometimes religion IS the problem. It’s possible to rely on religion too much – what I, in this blog, have called “religionitis”. I’ve done that too. Maybe that’s why I’m keeping my current faith at arm’s length, why someone I know had to die to get me to do rite every day (sorry, Adsiltia). There’s a way to do it right, I’m hoping. I think it’s all about balance. Religion is one aspect of my life, no more, no less – just as it is one aspect of society, no more, no less.
The ancient Egyptians probably had trouble with balance too. They didn’t even have a word for “religion” – it was so well integrated into their lives that they couldn’t conceive it as something separate. But even that culture had its atheists. Just look at the Harpers’ Songs.
My point is that the world is, and always has been, full of a variety of people with different opinions on religion. When one is creating a support group for addicts, maybe that should be borne in mind.
Any comments? Please leave them below.