I find it very difficult to feel like I have equal rights as an atheist at support groups. Whether it's a health related group, a recovery group for PTSD or abuse, there always seems to be a spiritual or religious focus. I have found it very hard to get support for the trauma in my life because I feel badgered or gently encouraged to develop some spirituality. So many facilitators have the impression that spirituality is a very useful tool for recovery, but I feel it can be damaging to some of us especially those of us who've suffered serious trauma from spirituality. I also think a lot of these new age beliefs tend to blame the victim which is counterproductive to healing.

It just seems there are no groups for healing that are entirely secular. I'm feeling really exhausted having to defend my non beliefs in order to get help. Any thoughts?

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There's a support group called Recovering from religion. They have a page here. Darrel Ray of the God Virus started or helped start it. Their focus is helping people overcome the pain of having been raised spiritually. They may help.
Thanks Brandon!
I've heard that there are secular groups out there, but I haven't been able to find them in my area of the deep south. I've resisted going to Al-Anon meetings for years because they're always held in churches and while they may say they're not Christian, they DO rely on a higher power. I've had the same... problem... going to AA meetings with my mother - and having to say the Lord's Prayer at the end of every meeting. In addition to all that, my mother is in recovery and she flat out told me not to tell her case worker that I'm an atheist because then she might not be able to see me. Sigh....
I know what you mean about 12 Step programs.  They didn't bother me when I was religious, but they're so fixated on the concept of a higher power and saying prayers.  Wow, that sucks about having to lie about yourself :(

I guess I'm also wondering if there are any church v. state regulations regarding non-faith-based support groups.  Or if any atheist groups are working towards that goal of having the right to secular support groups. 

 

I think it would be something worth pursuing, particularly challenging the widely held opinion that spirituality is such a wonderful tool that is either positive or neutral.  Every place uses it, because no one is writing books that it can be detrimental to recovery. 

Thanks Tonya!  I'm not sure if I found the right Nathanial Branden because this book says "reflections on self-esteem and spirituality."  I wouldn't have thought someone involved with Ayn Rand would be reflecting on spirituality.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Nathaniel-Brandens-Self-Esteem-Every-Day/dp/0... 

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