The fundamental resistance to any form of recovery from craving is the addiction itself , which infiltrates the addict’s ego and varies his perspective and judgement in a manner congenial to itself and hostile to any form of convalescence. Whatever is or may become a threat to the addiction is normally targeted, devalued, and when possible, destroyed. Because this twisting and subversion of the true self takes region largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually powerless to repel it. Scarcity capacities necessary to detached himself( his true ego) from his addiction( his addicted ego) he falsely believes 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 irony in the characteristic defiant individualism of the addict- for there is nothing at all individual about the stereotyped biological process of addiction, and the defiance that is commonly encountered in 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.” Give me liberty or give me death ,” for the active junkie, actually means” Give me my addiction or give me fatality ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my craving even if it makes my demise !”
Because the active addict considers 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 contradicts those that are not . This psychological reality 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 principle and regrettably 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 disfavor 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 recuperation from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient reclamation programs. The drawback under which all such potential interventions proletariat in the brains of the drinking alcoholic reflects the fact that they aim to interfere with his drinking and have some history of success in doing so for others! Therefore, unless ”hes in” a desperate and thus remarkably receptive nation, he escapes them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own death from the complications and accidental hardships of his alcoholism.( One is sometimes reminded of the old-fashioned movie vampires, hissing and shrinking from the Cross, by the way desperately ill alcoholics in need or treatment or AA flee in horror 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 by injuring the disease ?)
This general opposition to anything that might threaten the addiction forms the foundation upon which more precise and localise resists remainder and from which they outline 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 resources of the self and employs all of the ingenuity and ability of the person to protect the craving and to clog convalescence. Specific difficulties and resist to convalescence include dread, chagrin, embarrassment, dishonour, ignorance, grandiosity and self-denial. All of these roadblocks to recovery from addiction are commonly involved in the remarkably stereotyped aversion to AA attendance manifested by the typical alcoholic to whom such attendance is recommended by pals, household, or medical professionals.
Simple fright of the unknown is an essential, often school principals factor in resist to AA attendance . It expects 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 fear links with such a brand-new experience. Although some people are able to identify and acknowledge their fear, 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 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 also and even more importantly to oneself that he is or might be an alcoholic who has been unable to solve his drinking trouble by himself. There are actually at least two distinct sources of dishonor and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with alcohol, and( 2) that private individuals needs or that he even might necessity AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and very significant fact is that boozing alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent reviewers of the so-called medical modeling of alcoholism. The vast majority of boozing alcoholics view alcohol difficulties as matters of will power and moral importances. 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 recovery from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an moment for healthy dignity and self-congratulation- being honest with oneself about an alcohol 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 omission and something itself to be ashamed and guilty about.
Because in the majority of cases the alcoholic’s beaker of reproach and remorse runneth over, i.e. becomes too intensive and pain for him to birth, 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 affections 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 about to magistrate 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 staying away from situations in which “They” might meet and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts solely the formation of trusting and supportive relationships may be required for convalescence from alcoholism. Newcomer to AA meetings are sometimes so terrified of” running into somebody they know” at a gratify that they will travel far across city or even to another metropoli to attempt to avoid what is for them the frightening expectation of being heard at a session by someone who they fear could broadcast their awful and scandalous secret to the world . This dreaded of detection is a projection onto imaginary other persons of their own intense thinks of shame and self-disgust. Regrettably for the alcoholic in need of the assistance that AA can provide, the most wonderful and simplest mode to avoid being realise, ”was talkin about a” and condemned by “Them” is to stay as far away 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 employ. But what seems to them the safer and easier course is in reality the harder and more deadly one: for by scaping healthy and emotionally corrective experiences with other people who have also striven with alcohol questions, 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 disease of alcoholism. The usual result, of course, is resumed 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 fear or army acting upon him from behind, the formidable obstructions above and who as a result actually shows up, often full of dread and shivering at an AA meeting, faces still more jeopardies and pitfalls 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 retaining his security and self-esteem as he speculations onto brand-new and generally precluding terrain for the first time. Guided by the” contend or flight” reaction he will be sensitive to every cue that intimates a real or perceived menace to his already threatened ego. The mental defence mechanism of psychotic projection described above causes him to suffer his environ and the person or persons in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, reproaching 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 reply is precisely the opposite one, in which the alcoholic feels, quite unrealistically, less safe and secure in an AA meeting than just about any home else in the world. Since a stereotyped and certainly highly adaptive response to danger 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 can at the least in theory run away, a natural reaction is to scan and interpret the environmental issues in such a way as to build a obliging example to justify the common and entirely visceral or gut tier desire to run away and never come back. Such” lawsuit constructing” would certainly be reactionary propaganda and rationalization, for the primary” flight response” has already been activated, may in fact have been activated before the alcoholic ever even set foot in the session 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, 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. Alcoholics are no exception to this universal human predisposition- certainly, they may represent stunning exaggerations of it, just as they sometimes seem to does of other common human neglects and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the newcomer is likely to be searching by default for clues of changes and disagreements with others rather than for evidence of similarity and agreement. The reason for this is obvious: the more testify he was able to amass to persuasion 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 retreat that both his addiction and his damaged and threatened ego lust 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 the least in his own eyes, amply vindicate his own version of Caesar’s famed boast:” I arrived, I experienced, 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 , outcomes which impair decision, attention, information processing, impulse govern and humor regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, days or weeks away from his last alcohol is always in a state of active booze departure which further interrupts normal center nervous system functioning and characteristically outcomes in an anxious, irritable, negativistic state of mind. On top of all this, a significant number of individuals suffering from alcohol dependence( alcoholism) likewise exhibit symptoms of a feeling ailment such as sadnes or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary feeling disorder such as social phobia ( social feeling ailment ).
Given all of the powerful obstructions and oppositions to AA attendance and acceptance, the wonder is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they move, refuse 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 program and begin to receive help from it. Many, though certainly not all, of these success legends have simply reached a degree or been placed in circumstances in which the prospect of AA attendance, frightening and distasteful as it may at first be to them, is nevertheless for them the lesser of two villainies, e.g. captivity, job loss, divorce, emotional sadnes or fatality from medical complications of alcoholism.