A handful of you are already aware of me for posting in one thread in the mailbag
. This should answer a handful of questions individuals have asked about me, and should decently introduce me to those yet familiar.
I've been using the name Hguols online for a few years now. Actually, it's the name of a music project that I have - the origins of the name are explained on my project's dot com site. I've been playing musical instruments since I was a kid, and have been writing my own music since I was a teenager. At 30, I have a decent solo project going with multiple releases. That's about it on that.
Also, if you can't tell from the picture of me, I'm very active in weight lifting and physical fitness.
I have a steady girlfriend, two jobs and other typical productive-life stuff going on.
Now for the meat and potatoes.
I grew up going to church, the typical religious motions that a lot of us probably go through. Eventually I end up putting the God concept on the back burner. I can't say that I ever truly doubted or disbelieved the existence of God, but a portion of my life didn't have an opinion about it. Currently, I'd say I'm a theist in the broadest sense of the word - I do believe in the God of my understanding. I'm not a theist in the specific sense of the word because I have no doctrine, and by "God of my understanding", I have my own faith based conclusion about God. I haven't stepped foot in a church in years...
The $64 question I get is.... why? Why believe in this? It doesn't make any sense.
Well. I will tell you why.
When I turned 21, I started drinking. What started as parties and good times with booze ended up crossing the line into addiction. Other illicit substances were thrown into the equation as well. My friends, family and even myself didn't understand how I progressed. In a matter of a few years, I went from a promising college graduate to a homeless man chugging a bottle of Listerine while propped up against the local library. I was insane.
Jails, rehabs and hospitals for several years. Finally, something clicked.
Every bout I had in treatment tried showing me a program of recovery that works. I'm sure some of you are familiar with it, if by name only.Alcoholics Anonymous
A 12 step program that when utilized, can not only recover someone from active alcoholism, but help them not only survive but thrive in their new happy and productive lives.
For the sake of reference, I'll post several snippets from the Chapter "How it Works" as well as the 12 steps, all placed in red. It will offer more direct information and answers than me doing a paraphrased version.Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided that you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought that we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
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 wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we were willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter of the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
For obvious reasons, you can see why how working these principles, a faith in God was integrated into my life. As you all are well aware of, a God concept isn't necessarily a Christian concept. I can sense that many of you might doubt as to this program being the ONLY way to sobriety. I agree. I think there are plenty of ways to get sober, but for one reason or another, the other ways I've tried didn't work. ....and I tried them.
I'd had specialists, counselors, head-doctors, doctors, preachers - teach, trick, plead and scold me in efforts to straighten me out. Expensive medications, detoxification treatments, even a sanitarium for a while - all used to try to help me. None of them worked. I would soon return to drinking.
I'm not on any medication, I'm not locked up for my own safety and have not had a drink of alcohol since March 20th, 2007. The difference is, a faith in God and a simple program of concepts and action.
Another thing, anything remotely close to a faith in God in my past was (for lack of better words) "meh" at best. Sure I believed, but I didn't care and I didn't think it mattered. It wasn't until I had large amounts of pain that I was willing to rigorously try ANYTHING.
....I have had relapses in the past. I've heard stories from individuals first hand that had many MANY years of sobriety and "went back out" after they lost their faith. I've experience the same thing on a smaller scale. I've lost my focus and it took several months for "my disease" to creep back in, and sure enough, I ended up drunk and back at square one.
Point being, I don't know why it works this way, but it does. I'm sure individuals here will disagree wholeheartedly, but they're entitled to their views, experiences and perceptions as free willed individuals. Which brings me to the debate aspect so cherished in sections of this forum. I'm not interested in converting or showing God to anyone. Likewise, I'm not interested in trying to fix something that's not broken.
I will discuss within reason, but I hope everyone can accept that I may not be here for the same reasons as most members.
How I actually made it here had to do with several videos - "Why won't God heal amputees" and the "Milk Jug Optical Illusion" one. I found those videos very interesting, and I agree that religions have their flaws. While I believe religions were actually coined to make our lives more fulfilling, many people are very poor examples of behaving based on their claims. I'm not much on propaganda which is one of the reasons that the music I make is 100% instrumental.
Questions and comments are welcomed. I'll close with the 2nd Appendix from the Book Alcoholics Anonymous.
It further explains "how I work".
Thank you for your time and attention.The terms “spiritual experience” and “spiritual awakening” are used many times in this book which, upon careful reading, shows that the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism has manifested itself among us in many different forms.
Yet it is true that our first printing gave many readers the impression that these personality changes, or religious experiences, must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.
In the first few chapters a number of sudden revolutionary changes are described. Though it was not our intention to create such an impression, many alcoholics have nevertheless concluded that in order to recover they must acquire an immediate and overwhelming “God-consciousness” followed at once by a vast change in feeling and outlook.
Among our rapidly growing membership of thousands of alcoholics such transformations, though frequent, are by no means the rule. Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves.
Most of us think this awareness of a Power greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience. Our more religious members call it “God-consciousness.”
Most emphatically we wish to say that any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in the light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to all spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial.
We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”