The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 53

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 53 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

The 2010 movie, Inception, portrays the activities of two thieves, Dom, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Arthur, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who are “extractors,” performing corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to obtain information by infiltrating the subconscious of corporate execs.  They execute their craft by establishing a shared dream platform in their targets’ minds.  Dom has been successful in this practice to such an extent that he believes he can also embed information and ideas in targets to cause them to accept something or do something they would otherwise reject.  In fact, he has been accused of the murder of his wife because he embedded her with an idea that resulted in her demise, and he has been a fugitive of such crime living in various places outside the U.S. ever since.

In the firm, his beliefs in this regard approach the level of grandiosity, maybe even a growing grandiosity that is quite familiar to many of us inflicted with the disease of alcoholism.

A Japanese businessman hires Dom and Arthur to perform this advanced procedure on a business rival. This client offers to hire Dom with the promise that he can remove any connection Dom has with his wife’s disappearance and the alleged crime, allowing Dom to return to the U.S. and be with his children.

In the film, the evolution of the scheme to accomplish this feat becomes incredibly intricate and complex and there are many hiccups as they work through the execution thereof.  Dom has not been entirely straight with Arthur and the members of their team of operatives about the possible pitfalls of the procedure they have designed. As the movie unfolds, the complications become more and more intricate, but it is only in the clear headed advice and hard direction of Ariadne, another member of the team, that Dom finally makes the adjustments for the whole scheme to be successful. In the end, he achieves his best outcome and is re-united with his kids.

How fascinating it is that this particular team member is called Ariadne.  Played by Ellen Page, it is Ariadne who provides the path to the solution in the movie.  Ariadne was also the character in an ancient Greek myth, the daughter of King Minos of Crete who gives Theseus the means to kill the Minotaur and escape from the Labyrinth.  Ariadne had given Theseus a sword and a bunch of twine as he was being led into the Labyrinth to be eaten by the Minotaur.  Theseus used the twine (Ariadne’s Thread) to mark his course into the Labryrinth and the sword to kill the Minotaur. 

The Thread was then the means he used to find his way back to the opening.    DiCaprio’s performance in playing Dom, and the process of misinformation he uses to manipulate everyone, is very resonant with this alcoholic.  How many times in our disease did we create a complex web of lies and deceit to accomplish some idiotic goal that had very little useful purpose except to feed our disease…and how many times was there an Ariadne, and, ultimately, a group of Ariadnes, to guide us to the opening of an ultimate path to Recovery.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 24

Bob W.

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 24 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

In classical and renaissance academia, there was an idea of an Astral Plane, a spirit world above the physical that may or may not have been equated with Heaven, Hell or Purgatory. It was seen as a place of spirits, maybe the soul, where otherworldly beings existed to whom we might appeal or supplicate ourselves. It also showed up in the world of psychics and mediums in recent centuries.

In more recent times this idea has been used in various sci-fi or action hero genres, in movies like the 2016 Dr Strange, based on an action hero first created by Stan Lee of Marvel Comics in 1963.  The hero, Steven Strange, is a renowned, but massively egotistical, neurosurgeon whose hands are irreparably crippled in an automobile accident. He explores all sorts of traditional and experimental systems in an attempt to heal himself. He journeys to the far side of the world in such pursuits and is eventually transformed into a powerful mystic who is able to access and employ unusual energies and systems. His transformation process takes him to a higher plane and is much like ours in the development of our sober living ethos. The paranormal abilities he gains in his transformation now make him much less interested in his former skills as a surgeon; he is now compelled to pursue his new gifts and energies in attempts to save mankind from various cosmic dangers.

This seems to be an uncanny, if a bit weird, analogy for those of us who see our journey in sobriety leading us to much higher levels of service than we could ever have imagined in our days in the disease.  In the constant exploration of whom and what we were in our disease and who and what we are in recovery, we begin to discover the core, the soul of our most authentic inner selves. We are naturally drawn to explore ways to be of service to everyone and everything, in everyday simple and massively expansive ways.

We see that, in carrying the message, in working to help others, in gaining a sense of the profound meaning of service to the cosmos, we are able to move to a plane of existence that is truly glorious. We now live a good part of our lives on a very real and present Astral Plane.

The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 7

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 7 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

So…having taken the steps to engage the process of Recovery in earnest, we have seen that the initial requirement is a rigorous exploration of the events of our past lives in the addictions. This “fearless inventory of ourselves” is meant to bring into consciousness the full extent of our disease, in all of its aspects.  We take inventory, try to understand the full extent of our disease and who we hurt in the travesties of our “acting out,” and then work to repair such travesties where we can.  The final steps, outlining the requirements of a continuing life in sobriety, provide a road map for daily living.

Continue reading “The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 7”

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey – Part 5

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 5 of a series dealing with Alcoholism and Addiction from a Mystical, Mythological Perspective, reflecting Bob’s scholarly work as a Ph.D. in mythological studies.

In the movie, The Matrix, Morpheus, the leader of a rebel group, is trying to recruit a young neophyte, Neo, into joining him in a revolutionary plot to destroy the Matrix, a simulated system that has enslaved the human race.  Morpheus offers Neo a choice between taking one of two pills, a blue pill or a red pill.  He says:  “This is your last chance, Neo. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.  Remember:  all I’m offering is the truth.  Nothing more.”

This is wonderful analogy for the choice that those of us living in the fantasy of an addictive brain must do in our efforts to get and stay sober.  Do we accept the challenges of those standing by to help us, our sponsors, and take the red pill, or do we turn away, take the blue pill and stay in Neverland (where nothing is ever real) forever? The red pill takes us deep down into the labyrinthine passageways of our own brain, where pathologies of decades, simulated fire-breathing dragons and cruel prickly demons, may be lurking to derail our pursuit of Sobriety.

Neo takes the red pill and wakes up in a pool of gel, a pod where every enslaved member of the human race is locked in a comatose state. Being conscious of the Matrix now, he breaks free and begins the journey to understand the depths and terrors of the Matrix.

For us, this begins the process of taking inventory of our lives in the grasp of addictions, a journey into the depths and breadths of the horrific experiences we heaped on ourselves and countless others when our disease was running rampant.  This process of taking inventory is difficult, tedious to say the least, but we must be honest, rigorously honest, to make progress in freeing ourselves and our loved ones from the Matrix-like terrors of our addicted lives.