godless Recovery

Brooks Park
6 min readMar 11, 2018

In the early fall of 2010 I sat cross legged on the floor of my apartment, as I had every morning for a year. It was around 10:00am and I was following a routine I stuck to as if my life depended upon it (because I had become convinced it did). Every morning and evening, I meditated as part of my process of recovery from drug addiction. And every time I engaged in this practice I was awash with peace. This morning was different from those which had preceded it for the previous year. I was adhering to a practice which had brought me serenity with one minor, yet profound, alteration.

As I sat to meditate, after skipping the preliminary prayer, I began to practice as usual. I began to focus on my breathing. I took notice of how the air felt entering my lungs, and how it felt leaving my body. I took notice of the change in temperature from being inhaled to being exhaled.

I was practicing meditation as I had every day. Only this time I made a mental declaration: “I do not believe in God!!”

Returning my focus to my breathing the answer to my inquiry arrived. What I had been referring to as a spiritual experience (a tranquil, cognitive euphoria) enveloped me as always, despite my denouncement of belief. A belief which I had been told was a crucial element of recovering from addiction.

I was conducting an experiment. Since I had entered recovery I had followed the directions to give myself over to the care of God (proper noun God). I had become convinced that the spiritual experiences I had enjoyed were proof of divinity. My experiment was to ascertain the validity of my belief. If what I experienced was from the presence of a god, then my declaration would disqualify me from the spiritual intoxication of the faithful. However, if I made that declaration and still had the “spiritual” experience, then it was my own mind which generated those experiences. Further, it was my own mind which made it possible for me to quit using drugs and regain stability.

I realized then that the “spiritual experience” was a human experience. Pleasure and benefit from the meditation practice, to which I had attributed to the god of 12 Step, was now realized to be of my own making. I knew at that moment that there was no god.

In retrospect this change in the practice was so truly minor, but at the time I was filled with apprehension. If I was wrong, then this change in my daily practice could result in drastic consequences. It may mean relapse, relapse related…

Brooks Park

Mystical Hedonist; Drug Geek; Psychonaut. Prone to irreverent social commentary.