The fundamental resistance to any form of recuperation from addiction is the addiction itself , which infiltrates the addict’s self and adjusts 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 distortion and subversion of the real ego takes home largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually helpless to withstand it. Lacking the ability to separate himself( his true self) from his addiction( his addicted ego) he falsely believes that his thinking is free and unfettered where reference is 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 incongruity in the specific features defiant individualism of the addict- for there is nothing at all individual about the stereotypical biological process of addiction, and the defiance that is commonly encountered during active junkies has almost nothing to do with their true-life selves and what is good for them but with their false selves and what is good for the craving.” Render me liberty or give me death ,” for the active addict, actually means” Give me my craving or gives people fatality ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my craving even if it causes my fatality !”
Because the active addict assures 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 reality alone virtually guarantees that a well-known recovery 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 regrettably exceptional circumstances, i.e. when the alcoholic has truly 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 disgust 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 convalescence from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation programs. The disadvantage under which all such potential involvements proletariat in the brains 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 he is in a desperate and thus exceptionally receptive district, he avoids them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own extinction from the complications and accidental adversities of his alcoholism.( One is sometimes reminded of the old-fashioned movie vampires, hissing and shrinking from the Cross, by the way urgently ill alcoholics in need or treatment 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 or persons 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 harming the disease ?)
This general resist to anything that might threaten the addiction is the foundation upon which more precise and localise resists rest and from which they glean their strength and, as it were,” take their orders .” Resistance to recovery from craving is a complex and highly adaptive( for the addiction , not for its host !) dynamic process that draws upon the complete the resources available to the self and involves all of the ingenuity and ingenuity of the person to protect the addiction and to stymie recovery. Specific obstructions and resistance to recovery include anxiety, dishonor, embarrassment, humiliation, stupidity, grandiosity and repudiation. 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 friends, clas, or medical professionals.
Simple panic of the unknown is a significant, often school principals taken into account in resistance to AA attendance . It necessitates 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 feeling ailments which add to the natural anxiety associated with such a new suffer. Although some people are able to identify and recognize their fear, many are not. Male alcoholics especially may be ashamed of their anxiety 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 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 drinking problem by himself. There are actually at the least two distinct sources of shame and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with booze, and( 2) that the individual requirement or that he even might require AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and very significant reality is that boozing alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent commentators of the so-called medical simulate of alcoholism. The vast majority of boozing alcoholics view alcohol troubles as matters such as will power and moral values. Alcoholic, in other words, before they get sober, seldom understand or have any respect for alcoholics – a Dilemna that patently complicates and obstructs their own chances of convalescence from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an occasion for healthy dignity and self-congratulation- being honest with oneself about an alcohol question 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 failing and something itself to be ashamed and guilty about.
Because in the majority of cases the alcoholic’s bowl of disgrace and guilt runneth over, i.e. is becoming too intense and painful for him to suffer, the psychological defense mechanism of paranoid projection usually steps in to externalize and thus interval his feelings of self-loathing and self-condemnation. By projecting his negative sympathies about himself onto others he at least removes them one pace 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 control by engaging in defiant-oppositional demeanor against an imaginary external antagonist and likewise to take avoidance precautions by simply biding away from circumstances where “They” might realize and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts entirely the formation of trusting and supportive relations necessary for convalescence from alcoholism. Newcomers to AA meetings are sometimes so panicked of” running into somebody they are aware” at a meet that they are able to wander far across municipality or even to another metropoli to attempt to avoid what is for them the scaring expectation of being heard at a session by someone who they fear could broadcast their horrid and disgraceful secret to the world . This fright of detecting is a projection onto imaginary others of their own intense thoughts of reproach and self-disgust. Unfortunately for the alcoholic in need of the assistance that AA can provide, the most wonderful and simplest behavior to avoid being ensure, ”was talkin about a” and condemned by “Them” is to stay as far gone as possible 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 employ. But what seems to them the safer and easier track is in reality the harder and more deadly one: for by evading health and emotionally corrective experiences with other people who have also struggled with booze problems, the frightened and self-despising alcoholic is isolated, cut off from aid, and worst of all, shut up exclusively with and within himself and his illnes of alcoholism. The usual outcome, of course, is resumed booze, more guilt, more disgrace, more psychotic projection and externalization, and more phobic-avoidance of those who could be of ”the worlds largest” help.
The exceptional alcoholic who manages to overcome, often by the pressure of a still greater anxiety or pressure acting upon him from behind, the formidable obstructions above and who as a result actually shows up, often full of dread and shake 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 inattention cause him to pay particular attention to some things and to forget or downplay others. The general focus of attention will of course be upon continuing his security and self-esteem as he speculations 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 indicates a real or perceived threat to his already threatened ego. The mental defence mechanism of psychotic projection described here makes him to suffer his situation and the people in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, reproaching and spurning. 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 seemed safe, protected and consented- but a far more common answer 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 worlds”. Since a stereotyped and certainly highly adaptive response to threat is to flee from it, and since the typical alcoholic attending his first AA meeting will, by the mechanism of psychotic projection described here, experience 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 reaction is to scan and interpret the environmental issues in such a mode as to build a obliging case to justify the common and entirely visceral or gut degree desire to run away and never come back. Such” case constructing” is of course 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 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, specially when they are driven by powerful psychological and therefore irrational personnels which we do not care to admit openly to ourselves, much less to others. Alcoholics are no exception to this universal human tendency- indeed, they may represent stunning exaggerations of it, just as they sometimes seem to do of other common human neglects and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the newcomer is likely to be searching 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 evidence he can amass to persuade 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 want him to make as soon as is practicable. Thus if he is not meticulous and conscious of the process he was able to very swiftly constituted a litany of grudges and differences that they are able to, at the least in his own eyes, amply vindicate his own version of Caesar’s famed boast:” I arrived, I learnt, and I decided AA was not for me .”
Further complicating these common psychological resistances are the direct and indirect effects of alcohol and often other drugs on the brain , outcomes which impair judgment, attention, information processing, impulse command and humor regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, days or weeks away from his last drink is always in a state of active alcohol withdrawal which further interrupts normal center nervous system functioning and characteristically makes in an anxious, irritable, negativistic state of mind. On top of all this, a significant number of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence( alcoholism) also exhibit symptoms of a climate disease such as sadnes or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary anxiety disease such as social phobia ( social nervousnes disease ).
Given all of the powerful obstructions and oppositions to AA attendance and adoption, the amaze is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they start, 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 stories have simply reached a degree 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 misery or demise from medical complications of alcoholism.