If we come to hate drugs and alcohol because they prevent us from growing spiritually, we will begin to naturally repel anything that takes us away from God.
This is how you get better. When you are properly educated about addiction, you come to realize the damage you have done. You also come to understand and respect the law of cause and effect. You being to see that everything you do has a consequence in kind.
If we achieve physical sobriety but do not repair our conscience, we have little chance of staying sober. But if we work on ourselves spiritually, it will nourish and expand our conscience and we will begin to care deeply about the consequences of what we do. This process of the expansion of one’s conscience is the process of a person returning to sanity.
We do not need to have some white-light experience necessarily. Many addicts can undergo a psychic change of the ‘educational variety’, as William James put astutely. That is, through rigorous work, right action, and the development of faith, the addict is gradually restored and then one day he wakes up recovered. Obsession gone.
Regardless of how an addict recovers, the secret is in beginning to care. Trust me, what keeps me sober today is the fact that I care profoundly about cause and effect. I know that if I hurt others, I will hurt myself, and my mind and spirit will become sickened. I heard some wannabe comic at an AA meeting tell the adoring crowd that he was still an asshole, just a sober asshole. Besides the nature of his message, it is also rather unfortunate that you have so many people in AA that aren’t real alcoholics.
I cannot impress upon you enough how effective the spiritual solution is. If the conscience of an addict is restored and burns like a fire within, he or she will never use again. The step process is simply a set of directions that we can use to do the necessary inner and outer work that we must accomplish in order to live with ourselves, forgive ourselves, and move forward. Some think that this blog is harsh, but trust me, if you could see some sort of visual depiction of your mother’s and father’s torn hearts, you wouldn’t think so.
Some of us need to rationalize our addiction or our child’s addiction and to do this we see ourselves (or you see us) as a victim. But in the case of addiction, what seems up is really down, and this frame of mind is actually very destructive and unloving. Over the years, I’ve worked with many addicts individually, and while I probably come across in a much more loving way in person, the gift of candor and honesty is what changes them and helps them to ultimately tap into God.
What critics fail to understand is that the approach will change depending on who the sponsee is. I am present and listen deeply to the person in front of me, and it is they who tell me what approach they require. The attitude of this blog is simply the approach that worked for me personally. I got better and stay better everyday by trying not to be a fucking wimp, so if you don’t like it, read something else 😉
“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.” -Alcoholics Anonymous, p.89
What do you mean that some people in AA are not real alcoholics. What would you say defines a real alcoholic?
Well, it is AA's own definition – that an alcoholic cannot stop on his own power. If you can just go to meetings and still be asshole and stay sober, than you are not powerless. Alcoholics have lost the power of choice, and thus cannot stay stopped, as they have lost the willpower to defend against the mental obsession, and any self-knowledge they may have accrued also provides no defense. As well, they cannot stop once they start, which we refer to as a sort of allergic reaction to alcohol.
Forgive me, I gotta go, but you might want to read 'Allergy', 'Mental Obsession' and 'Most People in AA Are Not Alcoholics', or just read the Big Book, including the chapters entitled, 'The Doctor's Opinion', 'There is a Solution', 'More About Alcoholism', and 'We Agnostics.'… and then I would read the rest of it (up to p.164.)
Thanks Charlie 🙂
You bet 😉
The other problem with moderate to heavy drinkers in AA who are not powerless is that they pump a message that fails to keep those who are truly powerless sober, let alone one that elicits fundamental change within. 'Slogan or cliche AA', so to speak, is also a message that contradicts the fundamental principles of the very program its members are supposedly representing. For instance, the slogan “put the plug in the jug” or “just don't drink” contradicts the very foundation on which AA is built. Alcoholics can't “just not drink” – that's the whole point.
So what then do we do when we have lost power? We are suffering from something that only a spiritual experience can conquer… at least that's what it says in the Big Book, which is the very text, the very program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Most people in AA are moderate or heavy drinkers that maybe racked up a couple DUIs and were court-ordered to attend meetings. Being lonely, social misfits or inept in perhaps a host of other ways, they grab onto group therapy and snack time and pretend to be alcoholics. Look, there is nothing wrong with that, but “just keep comin' [to meetings]” is robbing those who really can't stay sober on their own power of a solution.
There is a solution contained in the principles and spiritual actions of the Twelve Steps, but “just keep comin” is not a solution. In fact, it is a recipe for relapse, misery and failure. Why do that to yourself? Why do that to your loved ones? Shouldn't we should get off our pathologically self-centered, easy-street asses and go do some actual work on ourselves by applying the steps rigorously? Shouldn't we, a group of people who have robbed so much from so many, including ourselves?