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3/31/2005                                                                                       View Comments

When God Becomes A Drug

Hello Ex-Christians

I thought this research would be useful especially when dealing with fundies--those who go from drugs to Jesus really go from drugs to another drug---God.

Sarah

When God Becomes A Drug
By Leo Booth

SYMPTOMS OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION

Inability to think, doubt, or question information or authority

Black-and-white, simplistic thinking

Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough, or you aren't "doing it right"

Magical thinking that God will fix you

Scrupulosity; rigid, obsessive adherence to rules, codes of ethics, or guidelines

Uncompromising, judgmental attitudes

Compulsive praying, going to church or crusades, quoting scripture

Unrealistic financial contributions

Believing that sex is dirty -- that our bodies and physical pleasures are evil

Compulsive eating or excessive fasting

Conflict with science, medicine, and [secular] education

Progressive detachment from the real world, isolation, breakdown of relationships

Psychosomatic illness: sleeplessness, back pains, headaches, hypertension

Manipulating scripture or texts, feeling chosen, claiming to receive special messages from God

Trancelike state or religious high, wearing a glazed happy face

Cries for help; mental, emotional, physical breakdown; hospitalization

PROGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION

In When God Becomes A Drug, the following items were presented as a chart, with some items to the left of a descending vertical arrow (signifying deeper progress into more and more severe addiction) and others to the right of it. Since I did not have the width-of-field to reproduce this, I used the "*" character signifying items to the left of the arrow, and the "#" character to signify those to the right of it.

EARLY STAGE:

* Ordinary religious or spiritual lifestyle
# Using Bible to calm nerves

* Excessive church-going / Bible study
# Praying before attending functions
# Church / Bible becomes greater focal point

* Using church / Bible / prayer to avoid problems
# Black-and-white thinking increases
# Missing family gatherings or work because of religious functions

* Compulsively thinking about or quoting scripture

* Preoccupation with church / Bible study
# Thinking only of church


LOSS OF CONTROL PHASE

MIDDLE STAGE:


* Rationalization begins
# Secret irritation when religious practices discussed or criticized


* Increased use of church / Bible / prayer to avoid problems

* Thinking world / body evil
# Compulsive church attendance and scripture quoting

* Church attendance bolstered by excuses
# Obsessive praying, church-going, crusades, proselytizing

* Loss of other interests
# Excessive financial contributions / tithing

* Obsession with church / religion / preacher(s)
# Increasing dependence on religion

* Sexuality is perceived as dirty
# Feel guilt when missing church functions

* Excessive fasing / eating disorder
# Refuse to think critically / doubt / question information or authority

* Efforts to control church-going fail
* Isolation from people
# Unable to sensibly discuss religious issues

* Non-religious family and friends judged or avoided
# Brainwashing: family and friends
# Grandiose and aggressive behaviour
# Conflict with school or work

* Loss of job
# Money problems

LATE STAGE:


* Radical deterioration of relationships
# Preaching that sex is dirty

* Sexual compulsive / obsessive behaviour; sexual acting out
# Unreasonable resentment(s)

* Physical and mental deterioration
# Powerlessness
# Lengthy crusades / mission work / communes

* Loss of family / friends
# "Messages" from God

* Unable to make decisions
# Trances/stares

* Complete abandonment
# Isolation
# Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion

* Psychiatric assistance
# Hospitalization

THE TWELVE STEPS FOR RELIGIOUS ADDICTS
(TWELVE STEPS TO RELIGIOUS ADDICTION)

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our dysfunctional religion or beliefs -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Spiritual Power WITHIN OURSELVES could guide us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to this Spiritual Power as we understood this Spiritual Power.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our dysfunctional religious beliefs and behaviours.

5. Admitted to our Spiritual Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of those behaviours.

6. Were entirely ready to work with our Spiritual Power in replacing all those old behaviours.

7. Worked with our Spiritual Power to help replace our dysfunctional patterns.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we made mistakes, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Spiritual Power, as we understood Spiritual Power, praying only for knowledge of that Power's guidance and the willingness to carry it out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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