This post is part of the series Losing Over 100 Pounds
Other posts in this series:
- Day 30: Don’t Hate, But I Just Ate a Bunch of Bananas
- Video: The Science of Self-Control and Weight Loss
- Day 31: The Psychology of the Atheist 12 Steps (Current)
- Day 35: I’m Not Cheating… It’s Just an Experiment… …
- Day 37: Don’t Make the Same Mistakes I Made
Current Weight: 260.2 lbs
Body Fat %: 36.6
Lost Weight: 32.0 lbs
Avg Per Day: 1.07 lbs
Target Weight: 180 lbs
Need to Lose: 80.2 lbs
Even though I fully explain the reason that I wrote the “Atheist 12 Steps”, I never really touched on the reasons why it’s better in a few ways. Not to say that the various official versions of the 12 Step programs don’t work for many people, but this one might work for more.
A lot of people don’t realize the reason why diets work or don’t work to the point that many consider “diets” a joke altogether. It has to do with having faith in what you’re doing is going to give you results. Without that faith, it’s too easy to blame anyone, but yourself, when you don’t follow through, for there being a lack of results, because you’re literally sabotaging the experiment you’re conducting… “Do these behaviors give me the results I’m being told they should?”.
If you don’t have the ambition that comes with faith to follow through, then it’s too easy altogether to fall into this trap.
The issue with the traditional 12 Step Programs are that they require you to have faith in something existing first (supernatural higher-power) despite your reasonable justifications for not having faith in that existence. Without that faith, you’re unable to also have faith in the presumed intentions, guidance, or love from that higher-power. Therefore, anyone who is a skeptic (as we all should be about everything if we are to have a high standard for how we come to conclusions and then change our mind with new information that brings us to entirely new conclusions) will not do well using the traditional programs unless they find a way to forego their standards in what changes their mind and take on the faith in a higher power to allow them to have faith in the traditional 12 Steps. This only happens when a person finds more comfort in one over the other, because the main goal of our reasoning is to find or maintain comfort. *Phew*.
On the other hand, the “Atheist 12 Steps” doesn’t require faith in a supernatural being existing to then enable a faith in the Atheist 12 Steps. All it requires is faith in a friend or someone you can trust and what they say to you, no differently than Penn Jillette put faith in his friend Ray Cronise, who told him to take his word “as gospel”.
Theists can quickly argue that “Well, God is a friend that you can put faith in”. This shows how they do not understand why someone has very reasonable justifications for not having faith that there’s a supernatural and almighty being looking out for them, whereas a tangible friend can actively show while knowing without a doubt that it was credited to that friend and not an entirely circumstantial random force in the world. Saying that “God does actively show that he looks out for you in everything that happens around you when you follow his word” is actually just circular reasoning… for example “He exists because he can show that he cares about you through everything around you, because everything around you shows that he cares about you and therefore he exists.”
Skeptics don’t accept circular reasoning as it doesn’t meet the very high standard of “valid logic”.
While those proud of their success using the traditional 12 Step programs and proud of their faith, remember, this isn’t a sleight against you. To improve your life, do whatever works for you. This is about what has more opportunities to help people between the two sets of 12 steps. If I point out something that is true and you don’t like it, I don’t take any responsibility for why you don’t like it and how that makes you feel. I’m just observing and reporting.
If it makes you feel any better, I can easily acknowledge that a god might exist, and part of me hopes that one sort of does (but not in the context of the bible, because that god can be a real jerk, “almighty” or not). I fully understand why it’s so easy to see things of such beauty in the world that someone would want to believe “it had to come from something greater”, because I’ve had those moments myself, but that doesn’t disconnect the dots I’ve connected so far.
Just like Penn has the faith in his friend, because he knows that his friend is real and cares about him through trust (why the faith is possible in the first place), people can look at the “Atheist 12 Steps” and say “These make logical sense and they imply the very same things as the traditional 12 Step programs, but they don’t require a faith in something I can’t have faith in, so I’ll use these instead”.
If you compare the two to each other, you’ll see that wherever the traditional programs have you relying on faith in a higher power, the Atheist 12 Steps has you having faith in something anyone can know is real… conclusively valid statements that guide the same behaviors the rest of the programs do.
What Ray Cronise was to Penn, Penn was to me through his talks and book. What the traditional 12 Step programs are to theists, the Atheist 12 Steps are to me.
If I didn’t write the Atheist 12 Steps, I wouldn’t be able to use any of the existing “official” 12 Step programs. The Atheist 12 Steps is available to everyone.
To any theists who don’t understand how someone can go on not “knowing” there is a higher power, remember, “atheist” doesn’t only mean someone who doesn’t believe their is a god. “Atheist” means anyone who doesn’t have a belief in any god. And given the fact that theists only believe in one of thousands of religions out there, they’re only one away from becoming an atheist. Hopefully you picked or coincidentally fell into the right one.
The Atheist 12 Steps
- We admitted we were powerless over [insert desire which sabotaged ourselves, others, and the relationships with them]—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that an alternate set of behaviors could restore us to a consistent non-contradicting sanity where our actions match our words and our words match our actions.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to something we haven’t tried before, as it could very well work where everything else hasn’t and if that doesn’t work, will continue to try anything reasonable until something does work.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready for our new behaviors to remove these defects of character.
- Humbly knew that only a proper change in behavior would remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through curiosity and research ways in which to improve our understanding of intellectual traits and the behaviors that allow us to better exemplify them in order to verify that we actually meet the standards of our own self-concepts of being both moral and consistently well thinking individuals.
- Having had found a set of behaviors that worked as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others addicted to destructive behaviors, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
All stats went up a bit, but that’s due to how much food I ate in weight and the fact that it simply hasn’t passed yet (or at least I hope that’s what it is). I’m not sure how much longer I’ll do this banana/fruit experiment (within a diet experiment, an experiception) to really see it through, seeing as daily changes don’t explain anything on their own, but I really don’t want to lose too much momentum on this thing.
People at work can’t stop congratulating me, saying how different I look (it’s weird how that works when you see them almost every day), or asking me how I’m doing it. I love talking about it too. I really hope this blog and everything that it leads people to, including Ray Cronise’s eventual book, genuinely helps people.
Had an ear/nose/throat doctor’s appointment yesterday and it lasted only 5 minutes.
“How you feeling?”
“Great. Just lost thirty pounds and it’s greatly helped with my breathing and sleep, and I’m only one third of the way to my goal.”
“That’s awesome! Well, I guess we don’t have to see each other again then. Keep up the good work!”
“Thanks, you um… too…”
Before I left, I grabbed my last visit’s vitals from November, so I can keep better track of this as well.
Blood Pressure Vitals:
November- 137/85 (Almost High Blood Pressure)
December- 122/70 (Prehypertension)
Janurary- 110/76 (Normal)
According the following chart from Heart.org, I caught my blood pressure in time. I don’t hear blood rushing in my ear when I go to sleep even 1/10 as much as I used to, which is a sign of possible hypertension.
I know too many people that want to lose weight, but are resilient, because they want the emotional highs they get from food (despite the lows) and the convenience of being able to satisfy the withdrawal symptoms crap food creates and will likely always be with us in some small way.
If you read this, please remember… all it takes is wanting a healthier life and everything that includes SLIGHTLY more than the one you have now and everything that includes. The trick is figuring out what’s really stopping you from wanting one more than the other and whether or not you’re going to let it stop you.
Continue reading this series:
Day 35: I’m Not Cheating… It’s Just an Experiment… …