The fundamental opposition to any form of convalescence from craving is the addiction itself , which infiltrates the addict’s ego and adapts his perspective and judgment in a fashion congenial to itself and hostile to any form of convalescence. Whatever is or may become a threat to the craving is generally targeted, devalued, and when possible, destroyed. Because this deformation and subversion of the true self takes region largely outside the addict’s consciousness he is usually helpless to resist it. Absence capacities necessary 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 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 junkie- for there is nothing at all individual about the stereotyped biological process of addiction, and the defiance that is commonly encountered during active junkies has almost nothing to do with their true-blue egoes and what is good for them but with their false selves and what is good for the craving.” Pass me liberty or gives people fatality ,” for the active junkie, truly signifies” Give me my craving or give me demise ,”- and even, at times,” Give me my craving even if it makes my fatality !”
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 forgets or actively contradicts those that are not . This psychological fact alone virtually guarantees that a well-known convalescence method 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 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 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 recuperation from alcoholism, e.g. inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation 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 he is in a desperate and thus uncommonly receptive country, he avoids them more carefully than he sometimes seems to avoid the risk of his own death from the complications and accidental lucks of his alcoholism.( One is sometimes reminded of the old movie vampires, hissing and shrinking from the Cross, by the way desperately ill alcoholics in need or care or AA flee in panic and loathing from the very things that can help them, even save their lives. Could it perhaps be not the person or persons 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 by injuring the disease ?)
This general resistance to anything that were likely to threaten the addiction is the foundation upon which more precise and localized resistances 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 employs all of the ingenuity and ability of the person to protect the craving and to stymie recovery. Specific difficulties and resistance to recovery include dread, dishonor, shame, dishonour, stupidity, grandiosity and refusal. 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, family, or medical professionals.
Simple dread of the unknown is a significant, often school principals taken into account in resistance 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 nervousnes ailments which add to the natural fear links with such a new suffer. Although some people are able to identify and recognize their anxiety, many are not. Male alcoholics specially may be ashamed of their anxiety and hence deny it, focusing instead upon any number of largely dishonest rationalizations or red herrings 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 booze trouble by himself. There are actually at least two distinct sources of shame and stigma here:( 1) that there has been a serious problem with alcohol, and( 2) that private individuals needs or that he even might require AA to deal with the problem.
The interesting and highly significant fact is that drinking alcoholics themselves are among the most intolerant and intransigent commentators of the so-called medical framework of alcoholism. The vast majority of boozing alcoholics view alcohol difficulties as matters of will power and moral values. Alcoholic, 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 recovery from alcoholism. Thus what ought to be an occasion for healthy pride and self-congratulation- being honest with oneself about an booze difficulty 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 beaker of shame and regret runneth over, i.e. is becoming too intensive and pain for him to bear, the psychological defense mechanism of paranoid projection usually steps in to externalize and thus distance his feelings of self-loathing and self-condemnation. By projecting his negative apprehensions about himself onto others he at least removes them one step from himself and can say to himself” It is not I who loathe and denounce myself, it is those other people who magistrate or are due to judge me negatively .”
Paranoid projection lets the alcoholic to gain a sense of govern by engaging in defiant-oppositional demeanor against an imaginary external adversary and likewise to take avoidance precautions by simply biding away from situations in which “They” might learn and judge him. All of this of course gravely impairs and in many instances interdicts alone the formation of trusting and supportive relations necessary for convalescence from alcoholism. Beginner to AA meetings are sometimes so terrified of” running into somebody they are aware” at a meet that they will wander far across town or even to another municipality to attempt to avoid what is for them the scaring potential of being realise at a gratify by someone who they fear could broadcast their horrid and scandalous secret to the world . This fright of detection is a projection onto imaginary other persons of their own intense seems of dishonor and self-disgust. Unfortunately for the alcoholic in need of the assistance that AA can provide, the easiest and simplest behavior to avoid being determined, talked about and condemned 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 notification and talk unfavorably about one. And this in fact is the usual and customary paranoid phobic-avoidance protection most shame- and guilt- ridden alcoholics apply. But what seems to them the safer and easier course is in reality the harder and more deadly one: for by eschewing health and emotionally corrective experiences with other people who have also struggled with booze questions, the frightened and self-despising alcoholic is isolated, cut off from assistance, and worst of all, shut up wholly with and within himself and his disease of alcoholism. The usual make, of course, is resumed booze, more guilt, more reproach, more paranoid projection and externalization, and more phobic-avoidance of those who could be of the most help.
The extraordinary alcoholic who manages to overcome, often by the pressure of a still greater fright or pressure acting upon him from behind, the formidable obstructions above and who as a result actually shows up, often full of anxiety and quivering at an AA meeting, faces still more jeopardies and difficulties before he can hope to tie up 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 minimise others. The general focus of attention will naturally be upon retaining his security and self-esteem as he ventures onto new and generally preventing terrain for the first time. Guided by the” battle or flight” reaction he will be sensitive to every cue that indicates a real or perceived menace to his already threatened ego. The mental defence mechanism of psychotic projection described above induces him to experience his environment and the people in it, including other alcoholics, as sinister and potentially critical, dishonor and repudiating. This naturally sets him on “on guard” and on the lookout for danger.
One sometimes hears from alcoholics that as soon as they trod into an AA meeting for the first time they felt safe, protected and accepted- but a far more common answer 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 worlds”. Since a stereotype and certainly highly adaptive response to jeopardy is to escaped from it, and since the typical alcoholic attending his first AA meeting will, by the mechanism of paranoid projection described here, 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 environment in such a style as to build a compelling lawsuit to justify the common and entirely visceral or gut level desire to run away and never come back. Such” occurrence constructing” 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 meet 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, 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. 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 neglects and foibles.
In many, perhaps most instances the beginner 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 prove 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 retreat that both his addiction and his injury and threatened ego lust him to make as soon as possible. Thus if he is not careful and is cognizant of the process he may very swiftly compose a litany of grudges and gaps that they are able to, at least in his own eyes, amply vindicate his own version of Caesar’s famous boasting:” I arrived, I investigated, and I decided AA was not for me .”
Further complicating these common psychological resists are the direct and indirect effects of alcohol and often other drugs on the brain , impressions which impair opinion, attention, information processing, impulse self-control and humor regulation. And it should not be forgotten that the alcoholic who is only hours, periods or weeks away from his last-place drink is always in a state of active booze departure which further interrupts normal central nervous system function and characteristically answers 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 mood disorder such as sadnes or manic-depression ( bipolar disorder) as well as a primary nervousnes ailment such as social phobia ( social anxiety ailment ).
Given all of the powerful obstructions and resists to AA attendance and adoption, the meditate is not that so many alcoholics refuse to go to meetings or, if they travel, diminish 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 help from it. Many, though certainly not all, of these success narrations 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 cruelties, e.g. incarceration, job loss, divorce, psychological agony or death from medical complications of alcoholism.