I need tips from you seasoned pros. How do you all deal with life's serious challenges?

Relatively recent convert here ( 6 months ago) and I am still in the post- break-up somewhat- disoriented phase. My life has a few very trying situations, which in the past would have turned me toward asking for divine assistance.

I abandoned my belief in God because I just could not justify the problems of suffering with a loving, caring and omnipotent God.

My most current version of God was formed by 12 step group think ( 18 and a half years of it) ie, the everything happens for a reason, let go and let god variety...

I realized that that is basically bullshit in the face of certain life events that are clearly not for my benefit...and I refuse to believe that "character development" was the purpose for the loss.

In any case, please share with me how yo cope with prolonged stress, and other "threatening" feelings and events. I'm afraid I am floundering at times.

Thanks in advance!

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Congratulations on getting out of the 12-step cult - that's really poisonous and insidious. It's clever, though, to see how they keep people in the cult by making a virtue of their claim that they can't cure the disease. Funny how much the smoke, too, if they were in the business of trying to stop addiction, rather than run a profitable cult, that'd be out too. It wouldn't work, of course, the AA cult has the same success rate with alcohol as no treatment at all, so they'd probably just get people to smoke more.
I'd love to see the study which shows the success rate of AA compared to that of no treatment. I wonder how they woudl get 'Anonymous' memebr sot participate. And if they use law enforcement statistics... results would not be accurate. lots of courts punish DUI offenders by sentencing them to AA...which is not the same as joing of one's own free will because they seek assistance and support.

I went to meetings for 18 years in a smoke free privately owned ALano Club.
Reaffirm your new found lack of faith and get your hands on a lot of non-theist literature, debates, lectures etc. I believe this step is important for someone just loosing faith so they dont experience a laps in judgment and go back :) or worse feel insecure about their choice.

Feel free to admit "I dont know" and learn to live with it. Be at awe with the world you live in and on.

Find new friends, this is often a must when you loose your faith. Your old friends will always try to pull you back, demonize you, and will never look at you the same again. See if there are groups where you live who all like to do the same thing (anything) together. Just dont mention your lack of faith for now and get to know them.

Once you have a network of non-theist friends and critical thinkers around you you should be good to go :) Good luck!
I want to say that as a recovered Cat-holic (you've never been licked till you've been Cath-licked) I worried that fully abandoning all faith would be scary. Man was I wrong.

I was atheist by the time I found myself in a hospital awaiting a surgery that could mean life or death. And I discovered how relaxed I was knowing that death was no different than the 14 billion years before I was conceived. Having one life makes it a million times more precious. But what I figured out was that, rather than fearing death, or yearning for heaven (as some Christians do) I became focused on life. Atheism focuses me on how little time I have to waste indulging in self-pity, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I am not being insensitive to your pain. I lost my step-father-in-law (a man I loved and greatly admired), my mother, and 40% of my pay in the past year alone. I am staving off foreclosure and bankruptcy - and finally think I may have won both battles.

As people here point out - stay busy, put one foot in front of the other, lean on friends (that's what they are for), do something to help other people (this works wonders), write things down (even if you burn them later), and know that the best part of surviving a worst day is that, when things look bad you can look back and say - but not as bad as that. And I'm still here.

BTW - (and I paraphrase) From a recent episode of Men of a Certain Age:

"It's just the universe pushing on itself."
"Like fate?"
"Or utter randomness. Either way - a hundred years - all new people."

That was an ironically comforting thought to me - and not in a defeatist way.
Howard...I am worried about foreclosure and bankruptcy too..Maybe you have some suggestions. I will ask privately.

I like that quote too, and the thought that all mens foolishness will be erased in a a million years or so, when we run out of resources and nuke ourselves to death.
Wow! What a strange form of optimism - "[we will survive] a million years or so, when we run out of resources and nuke ourselves to death." Man, you sure have a lot of faith in the power of procrastination!
Kim-
I'm with Howard. As I've gone through what was a very slow de-conversion process (about 8 years or so) and my outlook on life has changed dramatically. Christians say when you leave god your life will be meaningless, without god we are nothing. Ironically, my life suddenly got more meaningful. The second I realized that there is no life after death, no eternal punishment or reward… suddenly I found my life to be extremely important. In fact, I was a little embarrassed for wasting so much time. Now, I refuse to pass up the opportunity to spend time with my children. (I used to pass up opportunities all the time, knowing we'd have many more- especially with eternity in heaven together). I also found myself becoming a better husband. Not passing up an opportunity to let me wife know what an important part of my life she is. Life is so short. I'm spending my time surrounding myself with the people I love and distancing myself from the people I don't. I'm enjoying it as much as possible now, because this is all I have and I'm not going to waste it.
Thank you for this. You are right.

Man, I love the perspectives I'm getting. I finally fell like I've found the folks from my planet.

I've always liked the expression, "Enjoy life, This is not a dress rehearsal."
Also - "If all the world's a stage, where the hell is the audience?"
"pay no attention to the man behind the curtain"
Humbug!
This (A|N) is a great outlet.
I love stand up comedy and other sorts so, outside of reading all the time I also like to watch things that are positive and amusing.
Raising a child has helped me open up to science in a way I never did before. I was raised Pentecostal with the whole anti-evolution brew ha ha. I was good at science, but afraid of it at the same time. Now I'm learning so much. I like the book "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett where he describes the lies we tell ourselves. (Paraphrased) "The world is vast as moving at an alarming speed filled with dark matter and nothing is in our favor yet we thing going to sleep at night in a bed is normal."
Or.
The Galaxy song

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