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Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:02 am
by celtic.
I've been in recovery for almost 2 years now, and for the last year and a bit I've been practicing Celtic Wicca. I found true spirituality and serenity through my practices. But, the longer I've been involved, I've found myself distanced from members of AA, because I'm fearful of rejection from fellow members if they don't agree with my faith. I live in a prominently Christian area, and most people I encounter with in the program are deeply Christian. I'm afraid that those I care about in my AA community, will segregate me if they disagree with my beliefs.

I'm not ashamed of my spirituality, but both AA and Wicca combined have kept me sober. When topics come up about spirituality, and how it's kept those sober, I feel unable to speak. I feel like I have to "come out of the closet" as a Wiccan. I love everyone in my home group dearly, and deep down feel that they would not think any differently of me, but fear of rejection is overwhelming. I can't lose my groups, and I will not abandon my faith.

All I'm looking for is advice on... pretty much how anyone would feel if someone in your group was a Wiccan. Or, if you yourself practice witchcraft/a religion outside of the norm of your group, and how you handle(d) it. Thanks for reading I hope everyone has a lovely day and blessed be :")

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:41 am
by Tosh
celtic. wrote: All I'm looking for is advice on... pretty much how anyone would feel if someone in your group was a Wiccan. Or, if you yourself practice witchcraft/a religion outside of the norm of your group, and how you handle(d) it. Thanks for reading I hope everyone has a lovely day and blessed be :")
It wouldn't bother me, to be honest. I guess I've a bit of a Buddhist bent - which has connotations of blokes dressed in orange curtains, chanting Om a lot and other weirdness - so I tend not to mention it at meetings (I'm a Buddhist atheist I guess; I don't believe in literal rebirth or a mechanical kind of karma).

But I don't tend to mention it at meetings, not because it embarrasses me, but because I don't want the newcomer to think I'm weird. No doubt many Christians do the same too; they're not like "You can have any Higher Power you like, as long as it's Jesus Christ!". They might want to say that, but they're generally smart enough to know that it wouldn't be helpful.

We're all about the newcomer; we don't want to start putting hurdles up in front of them when it comes to them seeking help. I don't want them thinking "That Tosh is just mental what with all that Buddhist woo woo nonsense he goes on about! I best avoid him!"

I know nothing about being a Wiccan, but I do know that all true spiritual/religious traditions have things like living an ethical life, love and compassion at their core; so my suggestion would be to just look for the similarities and ignore the differences.

I'm also inferring that you haven't been through the 12 Step process; I strongly suspect if you had, this wouldn't even be an issue. We've got "12 Step Buddhist" books available from Amazon, why don't you be the first to write a "12 Step Wiccan" book? But of course, a good 12 Step sponsor would be helpful towards having a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps. My sponsor is a Christian; I'm not; it's never been an issue.

And welcome to the forum,

Tosh

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:44 am
by PaigeB
I would be completely fine with a Wiccan in my meetings, but then again, I am an atheist! I have not had much fear of rejection past the first few weeks. I knew who they were in AA and I earned my set at these tables. I figured I would not make it, but not because of them. From the beginning they told me it did not matter - I should keep coming back.

I don't argue my HP any more than I would argue my underwear... at least not in a meeting, maybe one on one discussion. Thought I have said that I am atheist and AA is my HP, or Love is my HP and I have never gotten any crap from anyone, (lots of questions!) in fact I think it helps others be open to talking about their feelings & HP... I have found there are many near agnostics in the program and only a few for really go for the church thing. Most of them say that they do not put limits on their HP which, to me, means that my HP fits in perfectly with theirs and theirs with mine. We may call it different things, but it is really just semantics. I go with "Higher Power" as a name and I talk a lot about my experience with prayer & meditation affecting the brain in the same fashion in studies using fMRI.

I took the Steps with a sponsor and had a complete psychic change. I haven't had a drink since August 1, 2009.

I hope this response finds you well & happy and that you keep coming back so we can "talk" some more. It is nearing 3 am in Iowa! :wink:

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:28 am
by Robert R
Hi Celtic, In the AA I know, religion is not what it is about. It is about faith in a higher power. How that higher power manifests itself in someones life is entirely their own affair.
As one old timer puts it at a local meeting "I don't give a d**n what your HP is, but we're sure to have a better life with one."
Locally there is a tendency to speak of faith or HP without giving a definitive label such as Muslim, Christian, Bhudist etc. This works well in keeping the focus on the commonality inherent in our programme and leaving any perceived differences at the door.
Hope to read more from you friend.
Robert

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:54 am
by Niagara
Religion/spirituality is a very personal thing. What matters is less the name you put on it, as the actions you put in, I feel.

I do understand your concern though. The deeply religious do seem to fear/think paganism is the work of the devil. I am inclined to believe that it's not necessary to tell anyone at all what the God (or Goddess) of your own understanding is....it's simply not necessary. What is necessary is your experience of how your life has changed as a result of handing your life and will over to the God/ess of your own understanding. Nuts and bolts, labels unimportant!

I have a bit of a theory that whatever God/higher power etc we believe is responsible for this world and everything in it, is all the same thing. It's man who changes the name, according to his/her belief system. The actions will still get you there :)

Crikey, that was a bit deep for a monday morning. I'm gonna go get coffee before my head explodes :shock: :lol:

Best wishes - I hope it works out for you

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:12 am
by avaneesh912
Clash arises if you start throwing stuff like in Wicaa we do this or Wicaa literature says this and its contrary to others belief system. As long as we refer to as HP and follow the 12 steps, i don't think anybody gives a damn. Maybe its just your self-esteeam is at conflict here. I hear all the time "I am a southern this and souther that", yet they are here, having lost contact with God. The whole month of February I will be hearing more of that crap, chasing the new-comers away. As though the basic book says, we dont have to find GOD in step 2, we just need to believe in a power greater than ourselves. You see we have christians, jews, aethiest, hindus, buddhist in the fellowship and all had different ideas of GOD but yet, the common thread is the 12 steps. People would still argue about the GOD, something happened within themeselves and they are now able to lead a obsession free life. Thats some power right? The human physcie wants to label it. This has been going on for eons and I don't think it will change.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:42 am
by Layne
It wouldn't bother me in the least. Other people's personal beliefs don't affect me. Their actions effect me, but not their beliefs.

Whenever I share in group concerning higher power/spirituality/religion/etc., I am very careful to keep any identifiable references out of my share; not because I am ashamed of my beliefs nor for fear of rejection. I do so because I feel the choice of higher power/spirituality/religion/etc is up to each individual as they see fit and understand it.

I don't want them to join my team or to be afraid of not succeeding because they can't share my team's beliefs. If anyone on a personal level wants to know more about my beliefs, I am more than happy to share, just not at group level and only upon request at a one on one level.

Actions speak louder than words.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:25 pm
by Larryp713
Thanks for the topic, Celtic. I personally no little or nothing about Wicca, but if it helps you sustain and grow a relationship with a higher power, I think it is awesome. It is really dangerous when we consider ourselves as different from our fellow AAs and decide we can't be completely honest. That is not what the program is about. If anybody questions or ridicules your beliefs in a meeting, I would question that person's spiritual fitness and pray they find a solution that works for them. I don't want a belief that relies on me tearing down others' beliefs.

But on the flip side, there may be a person who is struggling to find a spiritual condition from Christian or other common religions, and may find hope if you present, in a non-promotional way, how Wicca helps you sustain recovery. I don't think that topic should dominate a meeting, as a Christian discussion shouldn't. But if you mention that your faith has helped you, you might be surprised by somebody asking you to learn more.

I am a "sobriety at all costs" type of AA. I think there are many paths to recovery, but the ultimate destination is a relationship with a higher power that brings about a profound psychological change of being. Thanks again and stay blessed! Larry

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:35 pm
by beginningagain7
Who says you have to mention what Religion you belong to or say you do not believe in God or whatever. This is a spiritual program not a religious program. And is one reason some members us Higher Power instead of God.

You do not have to mention anything in what you believe, just the spirituality that you get from your Higher Power. I have heard at meeting of member speaking of the universe, saying that just looking at the clouds or trees or anything else that they use to find peace and some spiritual insight to their lives. It doesn't matter if you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim or a Wiccan you can talk about your spirituality without mentioning what religion or non religion you are.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:41 pm
by tyg
I certainly do not mind the different beliefs in AA. I have learned a lot of things from them when meeting one-on-one over coffee or a meal. Our spiritual beliefs are very personal and not something we need to proclaim to the world. It really is nobody's business anyway.

I hope you will not let, what other people think (real or fancied), keep you from the gifts the AA fellowship offers. Forget about those who may want to judge. I say a little prayer for those types and wish them good things. I ask my God to keep me from being hurt or angry and show me how to be helpful and love them anyway. That works for me.

When I was changing and living more with, " To Thine own Self be True" it didn't matter anymore what people think. Most of the time anyway, and I say that prayer when I do mind what others think (real or fancied) of me. I would think most don't care you are Wiccan. But we can't make everyone happy. >Big Sigh<....oh well.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:47 pm
by Db1105
The 12 Steps also helped me not to be concerned on what others though of me or my beliefs.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:19 pm
by whipping post
I don't get into specific ideas on higher powers or religion in meetings. I honestly don't think our personal conceptions of what God is or isn't belong there.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:56 pm
by D'oh
PG 87 says "Be quick to se where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer."

It doesn't say anything about "What" religion,. Nor which Church to attend. I personally use some of all, but only to enhance my own belief of my Higher Power.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:05 am
by Tosh
whipping post wrote:I don't get into specific ideas on higher powers or religion in meetings. I honestly don't think our personal conceptions of what God is or isn't belong there.
When I was new to A.A., during a meeting, I asked a priest (from Texas) what his concept of God was - thinking that being a priest - he'd have a more accurate concept for me to start with.

He outright refused to tell me, he said it was pointless, and that everyone in 'this room' would have a different concept of God.

On reflection, I think this loud Texan priest was very wise.

Re: Advice for a Recovering Wiccan

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:15 pm
by alf
hi celtic.

as you know, being different is never an easy challenge. and when there is a possibility that people we respect and that respect us might come to reject us it naturally makes us feel on edge. so, i can see where you're coming from. i think this feeling of standing outside the crowd is something that many alcoholics, certainly this one, can identify with. in such situations it can be our own thinking and insecurities that cut us off from others, rather than their actions or attitudes.

while i'm not wiccan i do have some familiarity with pagan thinking and practice in general. i think you're right to see the values of wicca as compatible with the principles of AA. the ideal of ethical conduct and the hope that the divine will act in and on our lives each day, are things that both traditions share.

a great deal of AA thinking is expressed in somewhat vaguely christian language. don't let this trouble you. keep in mind that the founders were working with the tools of the time and their culture to try to work out this thing about keeping sober. maybe the same is true of the christians around you:they trying their best with what they've got and what they've been taught?

if a wiccan were in my group, i would be glad of the chance to hear a perspective on sobriety that is perhaps different, but perhaps also very similar, to my own. when i meet people at meetings, or hear them speak, i always think that this person might teach me something that may save my life someday. i'd think they're here for the same thing i am: to find, against the odds, a way of stopping drinking. for me, it's always about "how is this going to keep me sober?" being close minded or judgmental with out investigation isn't going to do me or the other person any good. AA can be a great place to learn toleration of others.

of course, if you hang around here, i think you'll find the people who attend the online meetings and post on the boards are very warm and welcoming. if you read through the threads, there is the occasional healthy disagreement, but largely this is a place where the message and best values of AA is strongly present.

one of the places where you might find an overlap between paganism (if not specifically wicca) and AA is in the study of the alchemical tradition. Carl Jung's psychology exerted a degree of influence in the AA approach to Alcoholism. Jung was, in part, concerned not so much with physical alchemy but understanding it as an exemplar of spiritual transformation. Jung wrote to Bill W. suggesting the formula: "spiritus contra spiritum"

have a blessed imbolc coming up.