The fundamental resist to any form of recovery from craving is the addiction itself , which infiltrates the addict’s ego and alters his perspective and judgment in a style congenial to itself and hostile to any form of recuperation. Whatever is or may become a threat to the craving is typically targeted, devalued, and when possible, destroyed. Because this aberration and subversion of the real ego takes place largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually powerless to resist it. Absence the ability to detached himself( his true self) from his addiction( his addicted self) he falsely believes that his thinking is free and unfettered where reference is reality it is wholly subservient to the requirements of his addiction. In a sense it might even be said that it is the addiction that is doing his thinking for him, though of course he does not recognize this and would defiantly deny it if presented with it. There is a terrible irony in the characteristic defiant individualism of the junkie- for there is nothing at all individual about the stereotyped biological process of craving, and the defiance that is commonly encountered during active addicts has almost nothing to do with their true-life selves and what is good for them but with their false-hearted selves and what is good for the addiction.” Pass me liberty or gives people death ,” for the active addict, genuinely entails” Give me my addiction or give me fatality ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my addiction even if it induces my death !”
Because the active addict views the world through the eyes of his addiction he necessarily notices those things that are favorable to his continuance of his addiction and he forgets or actively belies those that are not . This psychological fact alone practically guarantees that a well-known convalescence technique such as AA will one way or another be found wanting by the alcoholic to whom it has been recommended. Except under ideal and unfortunately exceptional circumstances, i.e. when the alcoholic has truly and conclusively had enough and is therefore willing to do whatever it takes to recover from his alcoholism, the active alcoholic can be expected and are anticipated to disapproval and avoid AA meetings for the simple and obvious reason that such meetings pose a formidable threat to the survival and progression of his addiction. The same might be and in fact is true of any technique of recuperation from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient reclamation programs. The disadvantage under which all such potential interventions proletariat in the brains of the drinking alcoholic is the fact that they aim to interfere with his drinking and have some history of success in doing so for others! Hence, unless he is in a desperate and thus remarkably receptive government, he avoids them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own extinction from the complications and accidental misfortunes of his alcoholism.( One is sometimes reminded of the old-fashioned movie vampires, hissing and withering from the Cross, by the way urgently ill alcoholics in need or therapy or AA flee in anxiety and loathing from the very things that can help them, even save their lives. Could it perhaps be not the person but the disease that has, vampire-like, overpowered and enslaved him which frights and thus attempts to hide from everything that might save the person or persons by injuring the disease ?)
This general resistance to anything that might threaten the craving is the foundation upon which more precise and localized resistances remainder and from which they attract their strength and, as it were,” take their orders .” Resistance to recovery from addiction is a complex and highly adaptive( for the craving , not for its host !) dynamic process that draws upon the complete the resources available to the ego and involves all of the ingenuity and clevernes of the person to protect the addiction and to clog recovery. Specific obstructions and resistance to convalescence include anxiety, dishonor, shame, shame, stupidity, grandiosity and self-denial. All of these roadblocks to recovery from craving are usually involved in the remarkably stereotyped aversion to AA attendance manifested by the typical alcoholic to whom such attending is recommended by sidekicks, clas, or medical professionals.
Simple horror of the unknown is a significant, often school principals taken into account in opposition to AA attendance . It involves great courage -or great desperation- for the purposes of an alcoholic individual to walk into an AA meeting for the first time. Many alcoholics have transient or ongoing anxiety disorders which add to the natural fright associated with such a brand-new experience. Although some people are able to identify and recognize their anxiety, many are not. Male alcoholics specially may be ashamed of their fear and hence deny it, focusing instead upon any number of largely dishonest rationalizations or red herring to justify their AA avoidance. Shame and embarrassment are nearly universal reactions of alcoholics to the prospect of attending an AA meeting. To show up at an AA meeting, after all, makes a proclamation to all who are present, but likewise and more importantly to oneself that he is or might be an alcoholic who has been unable to solve his booze problem by himself. There are actually at the least two distinct sources of disgrace and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with alcohol, and( 2) that the individual requirement or that he even might requirement AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and very significant fact is that boozing alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent critics of the so-called medical simulation of alcoholism. The vast majority of drinking alcoholics consider alcohol troubles as matters of will power and moral values. Alcoholics, in other words, before they get sober, seldom understand or have any respect for alcoholics – a Dilemna that obviously complicates and obstructs their own the possibility of recuperation from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an occasion for healthy dignity and self-congratulation- being honest with oneself about an booze trouble and taking appropriate action to overcome it- more often than not feels to the alcoholic ”ve been thinking about” attending his first AA meeting like an enormous and almost unbearable personal failure and something itself to be ashamed and guilty about.
Because in the majority of cases the alcoholic’s cup of disgrace and guilt runneth over, i.e. is becoming too intense and pain for him to suffer, the psychological defense mechanism of psychotic projection commonly steps in to externalize and thus interval his feelings of self-loathing and self-condemnation. By projecting his negative thoughts about himself onto others he at least removes them one step from himself and can say to himself” It is not I who despise and condemn myself, it is those other people who adjudicator or are about to adjudicator me negatively .”
Paranoid projection permits the alcoholic to gain a sense of power by engaging in defiant-oppositional action against an imaginary external antagonist and also to take avoidance precautions by simply biding away from situations in which “They” might interpret and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts alone the formation of trusting and supportive relationships necessary for recovery from alcoholism. Newcomers to AA meetings are sometimes so terrified of” running into somebody they are aware” at a fulfill that they are able to trip far across municipality or even to another metropolitan to attempt to avoid what is for them the frightening potential of being witnessed at a fulfill by someone who they fear could broadcast their nasty and disgraceful secret to the world . This dreaded of detection is a projection onto imaginary others of their own intense thoughts of chagrin and self-disgust. Unfortunately for the alcoholic in need of the help that AA can provide, the most wonderful and simplest space to avoid being interpreted, ”was talkin about a” and denounced by “Them” is to stay as far gone as is practicable from “Them,” namely from the vicinity of an AA meeting where “They” are certain to placard and talk unfavorably about one. And this in fact is the usual and customary psychotic phobic-avoidance defense most shame- and guilt- ridden alcoholics employ. But what seems to them the safer and easier track is in reality the harder and more lethal one: for by scaping healthy and emotionally corrective experiences with other people who have also striven with alcohol difficulties, the frightened and self-despising alcoholic is isolated, cut off from assist, and worst of all, shut up exclusively with and within himself and his disease of alcoholism. The usual make, of course, is resumed drinking, more guilt, more disgrace, more psychotic projection and externalization, and more phobic-avoidance of those who could be of ”the worlds largest” help.
The extraordinary alcoholic who manages to overcome, often by the pressure of a still greater fear or force-out acting upon him from behind, the formidable difficulties above and who as a result actually shows up, often full of panic and trembling at an AA meeting, faces still more perils and difficulties before he can hope to tie down his weather-beaten ship and disembark in a safe harbor. Selective attention and inattention induce him to pay particular attention to some things and to forget or minimize others. The general focus of attention will of course be upon retaining his security and self-esteem as he undertakings onto brand-new and generally precluding terrain for the first time. Steered by the” fighting or flight” answer he will be sensitive to every cue that intimates a real or perceived menace to his already threatened self. The mental defense mechanism of paranoid projection described here makes him to experience his situation and the person or persons in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, reproaching and scorning. This naturally sets him on “on guard” and on the lookout for danger.
One sometimes hears from alcoholics that as soon as they went into an AA meeting for the first time they felt safe, secure and admitted- but a far more common reaction is precisely the opposite one, in which the alcoholic feelings, quite unrealistically, less safe and secure in an AA meeting than just about any home else in the world. Since a stereotype and indeed highly adaptive have responded to jeopardy is to flee from it, and since the typical alcoholic attending his first AA meeting will, by the mechanism of paranoid projection described here, feel himself to be in danger that comes from outside him and from which he can at the least in theory run away, a natural response is to scan and interpret the environment in such a fashion as to build a compelling example to justify the common and entirely visceral or gut tier desire to run away and never come back. Such” occurrence constructing” would certainly be reactionary propaganda and rationalization, for the primary” flight answer” has already been activated, may in fact have been activated before the alcoholic ever even set foot in the meeting for the first time. But it is usually necessary to provide ourselves with a plausible face-saving excuse for actions that we suppose may be contrary to common sense or against our best interest, especially when they are driven by powerful psychological and therefore irrational armies which we do not care to admit openly to ourselves, much less to others. Alcoholic are no exception to this universal human tendency- certainly, they may represent stunning exaggerations of it, just as they sometimes seem to do of other common human failings and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the beginner will be scouring by default for signs of gaps and disagreements with others rather than for evidence of similarity and agreement. The reason for this is obvious: the more testify he can amass to convince himself and anyone else who might be interested that he” doesn’t really were within AA ,” the faster and more honorably he can beat the hasty withdraw that both his addiction and his damaged and threatened ego lust him to make as soon as is practicable. Thus if he is not careful and conscious of the process he was able to very swiftly wrote a litany of grudges and differences that they are able to, at least in his own eyes, amply justify his own form of Caesar’s famous boast:” I reached, I met, and I decided AA was not for me .”
Further complicating these common psychological resists are the direct and indirect effects of booze and often other drugs on the brain , consequences which impair opinion, attention, information processing, impulse govern and feeling regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, periods or weeks away from his last-place glas is always in a state of active alcohol departure which further interrupts normal central nervous system work and characteristically outcomes in an anxious, irritable, negativistic state of mind. On pinnacle of all this, a significant number of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence( alcoholism) also exhibit symptoms of a climate disorder such as sadnes or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary anxiety disease such as social phobia ( social nervousnes ailment ).
Given all of the powerful obstacles and oppositions to AA attendance and acceptance, the amaze is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they proceed, wane to return- but that any at all do so and that at least some of these keep going back until they can continue to connect with the programmes and begin to receive assistance from it. Many, though surely not all, of these success legends have simply reached a degree or been placed in circumstances in which future prospects of AA attendance, startling and distasteful as it may at first be to them, is nevertheless for them the lesser of two evils, e.g. captivity, job loss, divorce, psychological agony or demise from medical complications of alcoholism.