The fundamental opposition to any form of recuperation from craving is the addiction itself , which infiltrates the addict’s ego and varies his perspective and judgement in a way congenial to itself and hostile to any form of convalescence. Whatever is or may become a threat to the craving is normally targeted, devalued, and when possible, destroyed. Because this twisting and subversion of the true ego takes region largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually powerless to withstand it. Absence the ability to detached himself( his true ego) from his addiction( his addicted ego) he falsely am of the opinion that his thinking is free and unfettered when it reality it is wholly subservient to the requirements of his addiction. In a certain 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 incongruity in the characteristic defiant individualism of the addict- 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 egoes and what is good for them but with their false egoes and what is good for the craving.” Make me liberty or gives people extinction ,” for the active junkie, truly signifies” Give me my craving or gives people extinction ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my addiction even if it causes my extinction !”
Because the active junkie experiences the world through the eyes of his addiction he necessarily notices those things that are favorable to his continuance of his addiction and he neglects or actively contradicts those that are not . This psychological reality alone practically guarantees that a well-known recuperation technique such as AA will one way or another be found wanting by the alcoholic to whom it has been recommended. Except under principle and unfortunately exceptional circumstances, i.e. when the alcoholic had really and conclusively ”ve 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 aversion and avoid AA meetings for the simple-minded 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 method of convalescence from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient reclamation programs. The drawback under which all such potential interventions labor in the brains of the drinking alcoholic is the fact that they aim to interfere with his booze and have some history of success in doing so for others! Hence, unless he is in a desperate and thus exceptionally receptive government, he escapes them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own fatality from the complications and accidental misfortunes of his alcoholism.( One is sometimes reminded of the old-time movie vampires, hissing and diminishing from the Cross, by the way desperately ill alcoholics in need or care or AA flee in horror and loathing from the very things that can help them, even save ”peoples lives”. Could it perhaps be not the person but the disease that has, vampire-like, overpowered and enslaved him which dreads and thus attempts to hide from everything that might save the person by injuring the disease ?)
This general resistance to anything that might threaten the addiction forms the foundation upon which more precise and localized resistances remainder and from which they glean 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 resources of the ego and involves all of the ingenuity and ability of the person to protect the craving and to obstruct recovery. Specific obstructions and opposition to recuperation include fear, reproach, embarrassment, mortification, ignorance, grandiosity and repudiation. All of these roadblocks to recovery from addiction are usually involved in the remarkably stereotyped aversion to AA attendance manifested by the typical alcoholic to whom such attendance is recommended by friends, family, or medical professionals.
Simple panic of the unknown is an essential, often a principal taken into account in resist 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 nervousnes ailments which add to the natural fear links with such a brand-new experience. Although some people are able to identify and recognize their fear, many are not. Male alcoholics specially may be ashamed of their fear and hence deny it, focusing instead upon any number of largely deceitful rationalizations or red herrings to justify their AA avoidance. Shame and embarrassment are nearly universal responses 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 also and even more importantly to oneself that he is or might be an alcoholic who has been unable to solve his drinking difficulty by himself. There are actually at least two distinct sources of chagrin and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with booze, and( 2) that private individuals necessity or that he even might necessity AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and highly significant fact is that boozing alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent critics of the so-called medical model of alcoholism. The vast majority of boozing alcoholics view alcohol problems as matters such as will power and moral values. Alcoholics, in other words, before they get sober, seldom understand or have any respect for alcoholics – a Dilemna that plainly complicates and stymie their own chances of convalescence from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an moment for health pride and self-congratulation- being honest with oneself about an booze question and taking appropriate action to overcome it- more often than not feels to the alcoholic 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 bowl of reproach and regret runneth over, i.e. becomes too intense and painful for him to carry, the psychological defense mechanism of paranoid projection commonly steps in to externalize and thus interval his feelings of self-loathing and self-condemnation. By projecting his negative thinks 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 denounce myself, it is those other people who magistrate or are due to magistrate me negatively .”
Paranoid projection permits the alcoholic to gain a sense of command by fully participate in defiant-oppositional action against an imaginary external adversary and likewise to take avoidance precautions by simply biding away from situations in which “They” might ascertain and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts entirely the formation of trusting and supportive relations may be required for convalescence from alcoholism. Newcomers to AA meetings are sometimes so panicked of” running into somebody they know” at a fulfill that they will trip far across town or even to another city to attempt to avoid what is for them the panicking potential of being viewed at a session by someone who they fear could broadcast their nasty and scandalous secret to the world . This fright of spotting is a projection onto imaginary other persons of their own intense thoughts of dishonor and self-disgust. Unfortunately for the alcoholic in need of the help that AA can provide, the most wonderful and simplest route to avoid being assured, talked about 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 notice and talk unfavorably about one. And this in fact is the usual and customary psychotic phobic-avoidance protection most shame- and guilt- ridden alcoholics utilize. But what seems to them the safer and easier track is in reality the harder and more lethal one: for by evading healthy and emotionally corrective experiences with other people who have also struggled with booze difficulties, the frightened and self-despising alcoholic is isolated, cut off from assist, and worst of all, shut up alone with and within himself and his cancer of alcoholism. The usual answer, of course, is sustained drinking, more guilt, more chagrin, more paranoid projection and externalization, and more phobic-avoidance of those who could be of ”the worlds largest” help.
The extraordinary alcoholic who manages to overcome, frequently by the pressure of a even greater panic or violence acting upon him from behind, the formidable obstructions above and who as a result actually shows up, often full of fear and trembling at an AA meeting, faces still more perils and pitfalls before he can hope to tie down his weather-beaten ship and disembark in a safe harbor. Selective attention and disregard make him to pay particular attention to some things and to forget or minimize others. The general focus of attention will naturally be upon maintaining his security and self-esteem as he undertakings onto brand-new and generally outlawing terrain for the first time. Steered by the” oppose or flight” reply he will be sensitive to every cue that suggests a real or perceived menace to his already threatened ego. The mental defence mechanism of psychotic projection described above causes him to suffer his surrounding and the people in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, dishonor and scorning. This naturally throws him on “on guard” and on the lookout for danger.
One sometimes hears from alcoholics that as soon as they sauntered into an AA meeting for the first time they experienced safe, secure and admitted- but a far more common reply is precisely the opposite one, in which the alcoholic feelings, quite unrealistically, less safe and secure in an AA meeting than just about any region else in ”the worlds”. Since a stereotype and indeed highly adaptive response to hazard is to escaped from it, and since the typical alcoholic attending his first AA meeting will, by the mechanism of psychotic projection described above, experience himself to be in danger that comes from outside him and from which he can at least in theory run away, a natural reply is to scan and interpret the environmental issues in such a manner as to build a compelling case to vindicate the common and entirely visceral or gut degree desire to run away and never come back. Such” suit constructing” would certainly be reactionary propaganda and rationalization, for the primary” flight reaction” has already been activated, may in fact have been activated before the alcoholic ever even set foot in the gratify for the first time. But it is usually necessary to provide ourselves with a plausible face-saving excuse for actions that we suspect may be contrary to common sense or against our best interest, especially when they are driven by powerful emotional and therefore irrational powers 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 spectacular exaggerations of it, just as they sometimes seem to does of other common human miss and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the beginner will be scouring by default for clues 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 anybody else who might be interested that he” doesn’t really belong in AA ,” the faster and more honorably he can beat the hasty withdraw that both his addiction and his shattered and threatened ego longing him to make as soon as possible. Thus if he is not careful and conscious of the process he was able to very swiftly wrote a litany of grudges and changes that they are able to, at least in his own eyes, fully vindicate his own version of Caesar’s famed boasting:” I saw, I learnt, and I decided AA was not for me .”
Further complicating these common psychological resistances are the direct and indirect effects of booze and often other stimulants on the brain , influences which impair decision, attention, information processing, impulse restraint and climate regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, days or weeks away from his last-place booze is always in a state of active booze pullout which further interrupts normal center nervous system serve and characteristically outcomes in an anxious, irritable, negativistic state of mind. On crest of all this, a significant number of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence( alcoholism) likewise exhibit symptoms of a humor ailment such as depression or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary feeling disease such as social phobia ( social nervousnes disorder ).
Given all of the powerful obstacles and resists to AA attendance and acceptance, the amaze is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they run, refuse to return- but that any at all do so and that at least some of these keep going back until they are able to connect with the program and begin to receive help from it. Many, though surely not all, of these success stories have simply reached a point or been placed in circumstances in which the prospect of AA attendance, startling and distasteful as it may at first be to them, is nevertheless for them the lesser of two immoralities, e.g. captivity, job loss, divorce, psychological sorrow or death from medical complications of alcoholism.