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 recuperation. Whatever is or may become a threat to the craving is normally targeted, devalued, and when possible, destroyed. Because this distortion and subversion of the real ego takes home largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually helpless to fight it. Absence the ability to separate himself( his true self) 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 for the provisions 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 specific features defiant individualism of the addict- for there is nothing at all individual about the stereotypical biological process of craving, and the defiance that is commonly encountered in active addicts has almost nothing to do with their true-life egoes and what is good for them but with their false selves and what is good for the addiction.” Afford me liberty or give me extinction ,” for the active junkie, truly intends” Give me my craving or give me demise ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my addiction even if it induces my demise !”
Because the active junkie views the world through the eyes of his addiction he inevitably notices those things that are favorable to his continuance of his addiction and he neglects or actively belies those that are not . This psychological fact alone virtually 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 predicted to disapproval 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 technique of convalescence from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient reclamation programs. The disadvantage under which all such potential involvements proletariat in the mind of the drinking alcoholic is the fact that they aim to interfere with his booze and have some record of success in doing so for others! Hence, unless ”hes in” a desperate and thus extraordinarily receptive state, he eschews them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own death from the complications and accidental adversities 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 therapy or AA flee in fear 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 horrors 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 oppositions remainder and from which they depict 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 self and commits all of the ingenuity and imagination of the person to protect the craving and to stymie convalescence. Specific difficulties and opposition to recuperation include anxiety, dishonor, embarrassment, shame, stupidity, grandiosity and denial. 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 attending is recommended by friends, house, or medical professionals.
Simple panic of the unknown is a significant, often a principal factor in opposition to AA attendance . It involves great courage -or great desperation- for an alcoholic individual to walk into an AA meeting for the first time. Many alcoholics have transient or ongoing nervousnes disorders which add to the natural fear links with such a new experience. Although some people are able to identify and acknowledge their panic, many are not. Male alcoholics especially may be ashamed of their fright and hence deny it, focusing instead upon any number of largely dishonest rationalizations or red herring to vindicate their AA avoidance. Shame and embarrassment are nearly universal answers 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 drinking difficulty by himself. There are actually at least two distinct new sources of reproach and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with booze, and( 2) that private individuals necessity or that he even might require AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and very significant reality is that drinking alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent commentators of the so-called medical simulation of alcoholism. The vast majority of boozing alcoholics consider alcohol difficulties as matters of will power and moral importances. Alcoholic, in other words, before they get sober, seldom understand or have any respect for alcoholics – a Dilemna that certainly complicates and obstructs their own chances of recuperation from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an occasion for health pride 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 los and something itself to be ashamed and guilty about.
Because in the majority of cases the alcoholic’s bowl of reproach and guilt runneth over, i.e. becomes too intensive and pain for him to endure, the psychological defense mechanism of paranoid projection commonly steps in to externalize and thus distance his feelings of self-loathing and self-condemnation. By projecting his negative thinks about himself onto others he at least removes them one pace from himself and can say to himself” It is not I who loathe and denounce myself, it is those other people who judge or are about to judge me negatively .”
Paranoid projection permits the alcoholic to gain a sense of govern by engaging in defiant-oppositional behaviour against an imaginary external adversary and also to take avoidance precautions by simply standing away from circumstances where “They” might appreciate and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts exclusively the formation of trusting and supportive relations necessary for recovery from alcoholism. Newcomers to AA meetings are sometimes so terrified of” running into somebody they know” at a fulfill that they will wander far across township or even to another metropolitan to attempt to avoid what is for them the panicking prospect of being viewed at a fulfill by someone who they fear could broadcast their awful and disgraceful secret to the world . This fright of detecting is a projection onto imaginary other persons of their own intense beliefs of shame and self-disgust. Unfortunately for the alcoholic in need of the assistance that AA can provide, the easiest and simplest route to avoid being determined, talked about and denounced by “Them” is to stay as far away as possible 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 paranoid 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 deadly one: for by avoiding health and emotionally corrective suffers with other people who have also striven with alcohol troubles, the frightened and self-despising alcoholic is isolated, cut off from help, and worst of all, shut up wholly with and within himself and his malady of alcoholism. The usual outcome, of course, is resumed booze, more guilt, more shame, 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, often by the pressure of a even greater fear or personnel acting upon him from behind, the formidable obstructions above and who as a result actually is demonstrated by, often full of fear and shake at an AA meeting, faces still more perils and difficulties before he can hope to tie up his weather-beaten ship and disembark in a safe harbor. Selective attention and disregard induce him to pay particular attention to some things and to neglect or understate others. The general focus of attention will naturally be upon continuing his security and self-esteem as he speculations onto brand-new and generally outlawing terrain for the first time. Guided by the” fight or flight” reply he will be sensitive to every cue that shows a real or perceived menace to his already threatened self. The mental defence mechanism of paranoid projection described above makes him to suffer his environ and the people in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, dishonor and rebuffing. This naturally sets 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 consented- but a far more common response is precisely the opposite one, in which the alcoholic feelings, quite unrealistically, less safe and secure in an AA meeting than just about any place else in the world. Since a stereotyped and certainly 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 paranoid projection described above, seem himself to be in danger that comes from outside him and from which he was able to at the least in theory run away, a natural response is to scan and interpret the environmental issues in such a style as to build a making occurrence to justify the common and entirely visceral or gut tier desire to run away and never come back. Such” case building” would certainly be reactionary propaganda and rationalization, for the primary” flight reply” has already been activated, may in fact have been activated before the alcoholic ever even set foot in the fulfill for the first time. But you typically 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, specially when they are driven by powerful emotional and therefore irrational pressures which we do not care to admit openly to ourselves, much less to others. Alcoholics are no exception to this universal human predilection- indeed, they may represent stunning exaggerations of it, just as they sometimes seem to does of other common human failings and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the newcomer is likely to be scouring by default for signs of changes and disagreements with others rather than for evidence of similarity and agreement. The reason for this is obvious: the more prove he was able to amass to persuade himself and anybody else who might be interested that he” doesn’t really were within AA ,” the faster and more honorably he can beat the hasty retreat that both his addiction and his damaged and threatened ego longing him to make as soon as is practicable. Thus if he is not careful and is cognizant of the process he may very swiftly wrote a litany of grudges and changes that they are able to, at the least in his own eyes, amply vindicate his own version of Caesar’s famed boast:” I reached, I assured, 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 drugs on the brain , influences which impair ruling, attention, information processing, impulse govern and humor regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, periods or weeks away from his last drink is always in a state of active booze retraction which further interrupts normal center nervous system running and characteristically results 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 feeling ailment such as depression or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary nervousnes ailment such as social phobia ( social feeling disorder ).
Given all of the powerful obstacles and resists to AA attendance and acceptance, the wonder is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they move, slump 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 certainly not all, of these success storeys have simply reached a phase 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 immoralities, e.g. captivity, job loss, divorce, emotional sadnes or fatality from medical complications of alcoholism.