[Ibogaine] Why tink flipped -or- an attempt at apologising and explaining...

Matthew Shriver matt at itsupport.net
Fri Aug 5 10:02:31 EDT 2005


Man I love the way you quote the original email.  Does your email client do
that and if so what is it? At any rate I find your whole take on the higher
power aspect of the steps interesting.  My whole problem with 12 step
programs for well over a decade was the whole God thing.  I didn't believe
in it, I had grown up being force fed religion from my father who always
liked to speak about God while his actions showed a complete lack of
spirituality (or really any Christian ideals even though he claimed to be
one).  I sort of agreed with Marx that religion was the opiate of the
masses, something that would become ironic when I later wished for a belief
in God so that I could use the 12 step programs to overcome my opiate
addiction.  So when I took Ibo the last time I was coming from a place of
wanting to clear away whatever resistance I had to the whole God concept.  I
saw people in NA (including old using buddies) who were staying clean and I
wanted that.  So I interpreted my last Ibo experience as a 'Matt meets God'
kind of thing but I also realized that the interpretation was entirely mine.
The truth was that words can never describe it, and indeed it cannot ever be
understood in the way I understand what it means to understand.  My human
brain is not capable of understanding whatever God is.  And that new
understanding, or perhaps more accurately, that lack of my old understanding
about God allowed me to find some value in the steps for the first time in
my life.  But I too do not believe in an external being with a "will" of
it's own for me (at least not the way I understand the concept of will).  I
don't think God can accurately be described with human terms (other than
"love" because we can't really nail down what exactly love means anyway).
But I think there are generalities that apply; things that begin to sound
Taoist or Zen-like.  Things like resistance to what is, is not in accordance
with the God's will (you could just as easily say the Tao here).  I actually
find now that my favorite spiritual readings are Taoist or Zen writings
because they most directly and accurately (I feel) approach the mystery of
God.  They come from an understanding that it can be pointed at, but never
actually captured in words.  Lao Tzu even says he uses the word Tao because
he can't think of a better word for it (paraphrasing).  But now-a-days I
don't feel like my concept of God is actually very important in terms of
putting the steps to use in my life.  I can hear people talk about Jeebus
(no offense intended to any Christians here I just think it's funny to say
Jeebus) without feeling a ton of resistance to it.  My sponsor is Jewish,
another faith I really don't have any connection to, some of my friends go
to church, it's all good.

Matt

 

  _____  

From: UUSEAN at aol.com [mailto:UUSEAN at aol.com] 
Sent: Thursday, August 04, 2005 11:42 PM
To: ibogaine at mindvox.com
Subject: Re: [Ibogaine] Why tink flipped -or- an attempt at apologising and
explaining...

 

In a message dated 8/4/2005 7:50:43 PM Eastern Standard Time,
matt at itsupport.net writes:

But there is a sort of psychic damage that occurs when I lie to or steal
from my fellow human beings, which to my mind makes honesty more than simply
a moral value.  But whatever the case, I'll be the first to admit that 12
step programs don't have a monopoly on recovery.  

Hi Matt,

 

I like your point about psychic damage. From my humanist prospective, I
think that this is perhaps where morals and ethics arise from on one level.
Stealing and lying hurt. Sex feels good.  One reason perhaps stealing and
lying hurt is because they hurt the community or perhaps the species
perhaps.

 

Of course these are broad generalities. If someone is completely broke and
steals a loaf of bread, are they immoral..or just surviving. If someone lied
during world two to protect a Jew in the home is there lying immoral?

 

At some point I guess morality and ethics are specific to the situation. If
heroin caused great harm in my life and I am dealing them clean, I would
feel pain because I am violating my ethical system. Selling to others what
causes me great pain.  If I have the cash, but steal anyway I am violating
my personal ethical system which says that if you should buy not steal.
Further, I associate stealing with using, because I only stole while high or
to get high, but then I called it boozing so my personal connection is
stealing and get high go together.

 

 

As for the steps, I have friends who have done than over and over and feel
they really benefited from them, some who felt that they were kind a neutral
or occasionally were harmed form the experience. I go to meeting of folks 20
plus years sober who never touch the steps (sober agnostics).  They don't,
as I do not, believe in higher powers who remove shortcoming or have a will
for me.  The sure are not "dry drunks" though. It really is whatever works I
guess.  Many people on this list practice a form of harm reduction where
they remove the most harmful drugs, but continue to smoke weed,  other also
trip on shrooms or X. they have removed the greatest harm in their lives.
There are some also on the list who are in the tough posistion of removing
the harm off addiction while still dealing with chronic pain, sometimes
still using low doses of opiates. That is tough.

 

So we have the whole spectrum here from 12 step to harm reduction.  One
amazing thing on this list is that the various views coexist in general
peace.  Occasional flare ups occur, but for the most part we can exist with
our differences.

 

Sorry so long a post!

Sean

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