AA was co-founded 80 years ago when Bill Wilson passed on a message of hope to Dr Bob, or Dr Robert Smith to give his full name. I relate to my fellow human beings when I am not in fear or shame. Nobody wants to be out of control, to be teetering on the verge of the next disaster, the next moving of home, the next calling of the police, the next swirling carousel of unmanageabiilty. When things had died down and calm restored I spent the evening not in my fear or shame but in empathy and compassion.
What is the mental obsession in AA?
The mental obsession is described here: “The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.” (Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 30).
As there is no specific reason that someone grows to have a substance use disorder, there’s no defining factor or characteristic that might make someone’s obsession turn light or dark. The good news is that properly treated, those in recovery from the disorder are often able to, with continued growth, use this quality in order to be very successful. The same pursuits that many had, prior to their struggles becoming unmanageable, become easy to focus upon again, often leading to more success than they experienced before. This is greatly inspirational for those who have just come into the room when the mountain looks impossible to climb. Seeing the same traits that were harmful before, turn to assets and lead to a more incredible life is often the first thing that attracts newer members to recovery. The sin disease idea became the “spiritual malady” of AA.
The Spiritual Malady: Bane of the Alcoholic and Addict
Attempting to live according to God’s Will also helps me not react but to act with Grace. The guy was probably in guilt too as he could been working on his recovery more. If we leave self pity to fester long enough it becomes depression, that is my experience anyway. Defense mechanisms are central to psycho-analytic thought – such as projection etc, the idea that we expel “out of ourselves what we do not like about ourselves onto others. This seems compounded by not always being able to read our emotions or somatic states. We seem to compulsively seek to relieve an inherent distress of not having what we set out to get.
When we have the first sip of a https://ecosoberhouse.com/, or whiff of a drug, it is then controlling our bodies. Once we indulge in the first drink, our judgment and normal concerns are skewed. For many folks, including myself, ‘the spiritual’ aspects of recovery can be a challenge. We tend to show up with a truckload of old ideas in this area and a lot of us consider ourselves to be atheists. The great psychiatrist Carl Jung called this a ‘low level thirst for wholeness – for union with God’.
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One of my own spiritual malady is realising I am hungry or tired and I can often end up exhausted by over-doing stuff especially manual work around my house. My stop button broke a long time a ago and probably did not work very well to begin with. We can not rely on our thoughts and feelings or, in other words, our Self Will.
In our addictions, we tried to quench our soul-thirst with fleeting pleasures. The pursuit of them dominated our lives, destroyed relationships, and caused greater desperation than we ever thought possible. We became selfish and self-seeking, ever thirsting for more, and this lust warped us on every level. But we were never satisfied, because but the living presence of God can quench our parched souls.
The Power of Obsession in Alcoholism and Addiction
It is emotionally healthy to be altruistic – to help others without question or expectation. I end, however, with some words from a doctor who seems to be suggesting that AA works because it makes us more emotionally healthy. I believe we can unwittingly complicate our treatment of alcoholism by believing we have other conditions we see as distinct from alcoholism but which are in fact part of this condition called alcoholism.
- None of these things are conducive to a healthy recovery.
- “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference” is the Serenity Prayer used at every AA meeting.
- I was drawing up a web of my emotional dysregulation, a route map of all the wrong ways to go, to emotional cul de sacs.
- These secrets are the emotional and psychic scars of our alcoholic past and they need to be exposed in order for us to fully heal.
- Explains, “If, when you honestly want to, you find that you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably an alcoholic.
They may start to skip meetings, distance themselves from their support system, and eventually relapse. Reach out to our compassionate team to begin your recovery journey. Finally, someone explained to me that those things are not the insanity that the Big Book talks about; nor are those things why the alcoholic’s life becomes unmanageable. First, we searched out the flaws in our make-up which caused our failure. Being convinced that self, manifested in various ways, was what had defeated us, we considered its common manifestations. A business which takes no regular inventory usually goes broke.
Recovery is a Journey
Although social support is key to early engagement in the Twelve-Step membership, over time, spiritual issues emerge as increasingly important and helping others achieve recovery is at the heart of this. I also have other ways of reacting in an emotionally unhealthy way that my step 4 showed. I got as far as deciding it was an inherent problem with processing negative emotions, which it is. Just as revealing where the negative emotions listed which clearly showed how I react, and can still react to people who I believe have caused my hurt or rejection.
The spiritual illness that we faced acted as a catalyst for our addiction, and every attempt to self-medicate our spiritual malady pushed us deeper and deeper into the disease. The “spiritual malady” of the Oxford group seems enhanced in me, I believe I sin more than normal people because of my emotional immaturity and reactivity. My “loss of control” over drinking is also linked to emotion processing difficulties as it prompted impulsive, uninhibited drinking.