Saturday, January 30, 2010

1032 : My favorite passage from James’ Frey A Million Little Pieces

For those who want to know why I was raving about James’ Frey A Million Little Pieces, this is one of my favorite passages from the book. Read on.

After Lecture, Joanne is waiting for me outside the Hall. She says I am with her this morning and we walk through the Halls toward her Office. The Halls are bright and I do not mind. When we walk inside, she sits down in one of the comfortable chairs and I sit on the couch. She lights a cigarette and I light a cigarette. She leans back, settles in, speaks.
You think about our conversation yesterday?
No. Why?
Because I'm not going to change my mind and I'm not going to bother thinking about changing my mind.
James, you are an incredibly Addicted Person. You have been told by qualified Doctors that any drug or alcohol use is going to kill you. In all of my experience, I have never seen anyone stay sober and survive in the long term using anything but AA and the Twelve Steps. They may last a week or a month or in the best cases a year, but without the necessary support, all of them start using again and most of them die. Is that really what you want? I'd rather have that than spend my life sitting in Church basements listening to People whine and bitch and complain. That's not productivity to me, nor is it progress. It is the replacement of one addiction with another, and if I'm gonna be Addicted to something, it's gonna be something I like. AA is not a replacement addiction. It is a support group based around the Twelve Steps.
You can look at it however you want, but when someone stops doing one thing every day and starts doing another thing every day, that seems like a replacement addiction to me.
She takes a deep frustrated breath.
Would you rather be Addicted to something that makes you a better person and makes you healthier every day, or something that's going to kill you? You can try whatever tricks you want, taking my position or reverse psychology or whatever else you got in your bag, but I'm not gonna believe in AA or the Twelve Steps. The whole thing is based on belief in God. I don't have that, and I never will.
It is based on a belief in a Higher Power, not God.
Same thing.
God, in our Society, is a man with a long flowing beard who sits on a chair in Heaven. You don't have to believe in that. A Higher Power can be anything you would  like it to be or anything that gets you through the day. It could be the Sky, it could be Buddha. It could be the Force from Star Wars. AA does not try to push any one Higher Power or Religion or particular belief on you.
Let's get something straight before we talk about this anymore.
Whether you're saying Higher Power or you're saying God, you're saying the same thing.
I think that's too general a statement. It discounts the diversity of the World's Spiritual Thought.
From where I sit, all Religion and Spiritual Thought are the same thing. They exist to make People feel better about living, to give them some kind of moral code, and to help them feel better about dying by promising something better when their life ends, provided they follow all of God's Rules.
Is something wrong with that purpose?
I think it's bullshit. I don't need something that doesn't exist to tell me how to live.
How can you be so sure that something Greater than ourselves doesn't exist?
How can you be so sure it does?
Because I have faith in it.
I don't.
She pauses, takes a deep breath, speaks.
What do you think faith is?
I think for a moment. I speak.
Faith is the belief in something that can't be proven to exist.
Have you ever considered it?
And why don't you have it?
I think God is something that People use to avoid reality. I think faith allows People to reject what is right in front of our eyes, which is that this thing, this life, this existence, this consciousness, or whatever word you want to use for it, is all we have, and all we'll ever have. I think People have faith because they want and need to believe in something, whatever that something is, because life can be hard and depressing and brutal if you don't.
You may be right, but what about accepting the idea that faith can make your life
better. I know my faith makes my life better, and whether what I believe in exists
or not, because I have faith in it, I get the benefits of that faith.
I'm not going to ever have faith in God or anything like God.
Do you have faith in love?
Meaning what?
Do you believe in love? .
Do you believe it can make your life better?
Do you have faith in anything else?
You believe in friendship?
Very much so.
Anything else?
What's your point?
You can't prove love or friendship exist, but you still have faith in them. I'm asking you to try and apply the same principle to something greater than yourself.
I can feel love and friendship. I can see and touch and talk to the People I love and
the People I choose to make my friends. The idea of God doesn't make me feel anything and I can't see God or touch God or talk to God.
Have you ever tried to open yourself up to the idea of faith?
I've read the Bible. It didn't ring true to me. I know People who consider themselves close to God, but I've never understood their feelings. I've spent time in Churches, and I can appreciate their beauty and majesty, but nothing good has ever happened to me in a Church.
What does that mean?
Exactly what I said.
Is there something you aren't telling me?
Nothing that has anything to do with what we're talking about.
She stares at me, I stare at her. She speaks.
I want you to think more about this and try to come to terms with it. I want you to stop intellectualizing it and try to open yourself to it.
I've never believed in God, not even as a little Kid. I'm not going to start now.
Think about it.
She stands and I stand and we walk to the door and she opens it.
There are going to be some alterations to your Program, which Ken will talk to you
about this afternoon. Come back and talk to me when you're ready.
I walk out and I walk through the Halls.

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1 comment:

vertigo said...

I really like this passage.