Yesterday, Tina and I went to the doctor for a checkup. We decided to see the same family practitioner. Tina’s old doctor is really difficult to see, and mine just got back from a maternity leave.
Let’s call our doctor Dr. Dub.
I have found that men doctors are somewhat abrasive and hard to open up to. Not Dr. Dub. She’s nurturing, yet strong. She’s compassionate and caring yet compelling with her advice.
We had a great visit. Each of us had a long interview with Dr. Dub, and we were all three there to give support. It was an interesting dynamic.
While Tina talked, she reviewed some of our fertility treatments and broke down into tears. I was able to hold her hand, and Dr. Dub was able to offer the most sincere words mixed with great sympathy and an open ear.
How cool is that.
My blood pressure was fine when the assistant took it. Then I pulled out my home machine, and took my BP immediately after and it was skyrocketed.
They took my BP twice, and I took it twice. It looks like my machine might be off, because immediate readings one after the other rendered very different results.
Regardless, Dr. Dub wants met to do a followup EKG. I had one done a year and a half ago. The EKG told her that there might be some long-term effects of elevated/high blood pressure. And she would like to see if there was any progress.
So over the next couple weeks, I’m going to monitor my BP, and track my exercise, stress levels and diet.
She didn’t ask me to track my diet, exercise or stress levels, but I thought it might be a good idea. I will keep a note of the level of stress I have during the day, as well as other indicators of things that might effect my BP, like arguing with Talulah over what toy she should play with.
There is something therapeutic about doctor visits with Dr. Dub. There’s a sort of validation about fears and anxieties. There’s also an accountability factor. A doctor might tell you you’re doing A, B and C right, but D and E you need to work on. In a way, the therapy is a decrease in anxiety and an increase in awareness.
This was the kind of accountability group that I could get behind.
Back in college, I was in a Christian men’s accountability group. A Christian accountability group is a group of people who gather on a regular basis to ostensibly share their innermost sinful secrets and struggles. Then at the end, each member prays for the rest of the group.
My accountability group — was strangely enough — with all the top Christian student leaders at my college. I was invited into their circle, because I was one of them.
And, man, was it awful.
At first I loved the prospect of going. Finally, a chance to be open and honest with a group of guys about the real, Christian struggles I had with sex, not spending enough time “worshiping god,” or “reading his word,” or “spreading the gospel.” I helped lead music on Wednesday nights one year, but I never went to church anymore.
Firstly, I don’t believe anyone is honest in Christian accountability groups. I wasn’t honest, and how could I have been? No one else opened up about the same struggles I had. It got to a point in which all I could do was count the ways my accountability group prayed similarly. Who started the same annoying cadence that all of them had? You know the cadence of self-righteousness that you must have when you truly think you’re talking to the creator of the universe? Who started the tick of ending a sentence with “father god”?
“Please, god, help Jeremy, god, with his struggle to stay focused while studying, father god. And lord, remember him when he’s running in the morning that he doesn’t fall down, father god.”
In fact, who started the trend of ending that sentence of “father god” with a strain to the voice like you were holding in a fart and urinating in your pants at the same time? Or how about integrating the redundant “abba father” in prayer?
Furthermore, accountability group stressed me out, because admission of sinful guilt is like admitting you’re guilty for natural crimes. Often, I found I was guilty for being a normal kid. Or I was guilty of being a normal ambitious kid. And that’s just stupid.
None of the things we talked about were for “this world.” They were for the next. You were trying to impress the guys in the room with how awesomely spiritual you were. It’s a lesson in beguiling swashbucklry. It’s grandstanding spirituality. And I found that it was a lesson in superfluity. I wasn’t honest with those guys. And those guys weren’t honest with me. I mean, if these guys weren’t admitting to the same “sins” I was struggling with, how the hell was I supposed to open up about mine?
The accountability group was a test of wills to see who would open up first about the Christian guilt we all felt about sexuality and lifestyle temptations we were really dealing with.
Spiritual accountability. What a hoax.
One distraction technique you learn in accountability groups is the “bible verse that spoke to me this week.” Just before going, you flip through your bible, and land on a verse. You determine ridiculous connection to the way you’re feeling, right now, and then share it with the group. It’s like someone asking you how you’re feeling and then saying, “Let me read you this hallmark card, because I’m too stupid to tell you how I really feel.”
Accountability groups are a major waste of time.
The weird thing about spiritual anxiety is that the only being you can REALLY be honest with is “god”. So as a believer that’s the being you open up to. That’s the one spirit you can be honest with. But god doesn’t have a voice. And no matter how many times you read Colossians 3:13, you still can’t forgive yourself for breaking the 6th commandment.
I mean, murder is so fun sometimes.
Once you realize that all your prayers are really thoughts to yourself about yourself, “spiritual” forgiveness is finally possible. Once you realize that spiritual sins are bizarre, unnecessary limitations on self awareness and growth, you can concentrate on things that matter, like loved ones, and making the unloved feel loved.
Accountability groups aren’t groups that promote self forgiveness or betterment. They promote self-deception and public duplicity.
At least they did for me. And I’m obviously an anomaly to the entirety of Christian hasbeens.