If you have found me on Facebook or if you know me from Minnesota’s Left Hand Path Community, you will know that I am an addict and an alcoholic living a life of recovery. I have created a meeting structure that supports a Left Hand Path approach to addiction recovery in Minneapolis, and now meetings are beginning to form in Rochester, New York and Saint Louis, Missouri.
If you have spent any time in the traditional recovery meeting rooms, you know the mantra of the 12 Step program is that it is a “spiritual but not religious” organization. If you have paid attention to the meetings while you were in those rooms, you know that this mantra is not often followed. The meetings may be “spiritual”, however many of the members of the meetings are “religious” and feel the need to spread their message of how their God rescued them in their darkest hours. Many meetings begin to resemble church services, and often Big Book study groups become like Bible study as trusted servants of these meetings let them run unchecked.
I realized the importance of a Left Hand Path based recovery meeting when I was harassed after attending an AA meeting. I went alone to a large meeting in Minneapolis one Saturday night. When the group stood to say the Serenity Prayer, I stood as well. When the group began reciting the Lord’s Prayer, I sat down. As a Satanist and someone who believes that Alcoholics Anonymous should be a spiritual program and not a religious one, I took my seat in protest to what I felt was a religious statement. I endured the stares and looks of judgement during the recitation of the prayer, and then gathered up my belongings once the meeting ended.
I was walking through the dark parking lot when I was approached by three men who wanted to inform me that sitting during the Lord’s Prayer was unacceptable behavior. Luckily for me, and unfortunately for them, I am not easily intimidated, even in a situation like this where I felt threatened. I let them know my feelings on the matter of their prayer. I told them that the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer was an endorsement of one religious path over many. When they pressed the issue, I told them to fuck off, got in my car and drove away. When I got home I emailed my local occult book store, Magus Books and Herbs, and asked if I could host a recovery meeting in their classroom that would be welcoming to those
of us who walk the Path of the Left. Their response was an overwhelming “yes”.
I posted the announcement of the Left Hand Path Addiction Recovery meeting on our Minnesota’s Left Hand Path Community Facebook Page and within 4 days we had over 25,000 post views and messages
from around the world. Most of the messages were positive.
I didn’t know what to expect that cold Wednesday evening in January, 2017 when I walked into Magus Books for our first meeting. The staff at Magus helped me set up 10 chairs. We all had a feeling that we were being wishful in thinking that we would fill them. We ended up having to find more chairs as 18 grateful addicts and alcoholics joined us that night. Each one of them was incredibly relieved that they had found a meeting where they could say the name of their higher power out loud without fear, ridicule or judgement. Now we offer two meetings. We meet Wednesday evenings at 7PM and Monday afternoons at 12:30 in the gallery space at Magus Books and Herbs.
I am currently writing a book outlining the theory behind the meeting. The book covers how to get a Left Hand Path Addiction Recovery meeting started and how to run it effectively.
Recently I was interviewed on a podcast called Witches and Wine, hosted by the beautiful and talented Chaweon Koo.
In the interview, we talked about Satanic and Left Hand Path philosophy and how the approach taken in the addiction recovery meetings I started resonates with those of us living within these paradigms. I posted the link to the interview in an addiction recovery room on Facebook and received this comment.
This person believed that they couldn’t be in recovery and be a Satanist at the same time. Seriously! They felt that in order to find recovery they needed to change their religious views and accept the G-O-D named repeatedly in the Big Book. Someone may argue that this was a misinterpretation of the verbiage of the Big Book and that it is not the intent of 12 Step programs to come across in this manner. However, the truth is many people avoid these meetings because of the religious message so prevalent in the rooms and in the pages of the Big Book.
Now these people have another option in their recovery.
The following is my recovery statement I read on the 6th anniversary of my sobriety. I shared it at the Wednesday night Left Hand Path Addiction Recovery meeting, where I felt safe saying the names of the higher powers that influenced my journey of recovery.
Six years ago, on May 31, 2013 I hit bottom, again. I walked into my kitchen and picked up a bottle of bourbon, and as I was about to pour it into my glass for the fifth time that night, I realized I was an alcoholic. In that moment I was frozen with fear. I knew recovery. I had done my time in treatment in the late 80’s as a drug addict. 1986 was the last time I used heroin. I had a one night relapse in 1998 with cocaine, but I never realized I was an alcoholic until May 31, 2013 when I went to pour bourbon in my glass.
What do you do when you realize that your life is out of control and that you are slowly destroying yourself? You call your best friend. She came to my house that night and helped me take every bottle of wine and spirits out of my cabinet and she listened to me.
I knew what I had to do. It didn’t make peeling off every emotional scab I had ever formed to get to the root of my addiction any easier. I began going to meetings again. I found a sponsor and started doing step work again. I found a therapist and with her help I began to go through a deep inner journey to the depths of my soul.
The week before I had my realization in the kitchen that night, I had been dreaming of huge figures moving under water. I could see their shapes underneath the waves and I could hear them calling me. It was clear some message was trying to get through.
I called another friend who had interpreted my dreams before and she told me of La Baleine and La Sirene. “They want to show you something deep inside yourself” was what she told me. This is when I stepped into the dark waters of my soul and gave myself permission to allow La Baleine to bring me down to La Sirene so I could look into Her mirror and see what was under the surface of my soul that was causing me so much pain.
La Baleine carries the messages held deep inside our darkest places up to the surface where they can be seen in the light. I saw Her messages reflected in the mirror of La Sirene, a liminal goddess, and the mirror She held up to me was a threshold. To cross that threshold would mean stepping into my darkness in order to reignite that light inside myself. It had burned vividly before but somehow I had lost its brilliance and that flame had gone cold. I allowed these two Lwa, who had been so persistent in
my dreams, to come into my life and hold my hand through my recovery. Combining Their healing energy with the understanding that Satan, as I know Them wants nothing more for us than to live to our highest potential, I embarked upon my journey of recovery with these powerful forces to guide me.
I am grateful to everyone who has walked this journey by my side. I am especially grateful for the ones who picked me up, held me up and let me lean on them when I felt I couldn’t go forward on my own. I could list you all, but that list would be miles long.
I do want to thank that special friend of mine who came to me at my darkest hour. She shall remain nameless as to protect her identity. I also want to thank my son, Jakob, who was often the only thing in my life that I felt the need to go on living for. Without your love I wouldn’t be here today.
If any of you struggle with recovery, and believe that you must sacrifice your spiritual paradigm in order to find healing, I stand as proof that there are many paths to recovery. Mine is on the Left Hand Path.
10 thoughts on “There Are Many Paths to Recovery. Mine is on the Path of the Left.”
thank for your story,and keep up the good work
Thank you for reading and following my blog.
I plan on continuing the work. It’s definitely been shown to me that it’s needed.
Your support of it means the world to me.
This is a fucking amazing post. I applaud your efforts to develop an LHP-inclusive recovery program. Some LHP groups and their leaders seem to think that if you ever need counseling or therapy of any kind, you are somehow “weak” and a “failure” when it comes to the LHP. But part of truly being strong means knowing your limits and admitting it when you need help. I hope this important work you have done will inspire other LHPers to help change this toxic attitude and promote a better understanding of recovery.
Thank you, so very much.
This has become my labor of love. Each day I walk into one of these meetings and hear a newcomer tell me they finally feel they can relax and be themselves let’s me know the work needs to be done.
We may be on the Left Hand Path, but we are only human and with that all that comes with it.
Thank you for your kind words and your support. It means the world to me
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This is a great message. I have heard parts of it before in the meeting and I always love it. I also appreciate comments on this blog in social media about how people on the LHP need options because recovery issues can be taken as a sign of weakness, etc. I go to the meeting mostly for co-dependency issues and there is a voice that sometimes says “how can you let yourself be some addict’s bitch like that?” We all know the answer to that and other issues we have dealt with all our lives, but we need a safe place to share. People in recovery need options for constructing a spirituality that include all our moving parts. After years away from meetings, this and the community have become an important part of my journey.
Thank you, Randolph. Your support for my work has been tremendous. If it wasn’t for you, this blog wouldn’t exist.
Forever in your debt
That is a very good story. (not being deemening) You will continue to inspire us all.
Thank you, so much.
Are there still LHP recovery meetings on Zoom? Could you email me the meeting ID and PW if there are? It’s me, Robin Starsfall. I’m not using FB anymore for personal reasons, but I am getting into sobriety again.
For some reason my phone isn’t letting me copy the link.
Let me figure out the technology and I’ll get it to you.
We are meeting Mondays at 7 now