The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey – Part 9

 

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 9 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 incidence of war in the human experience is enormous; it has been estimated that, in the 5,600 years of recorded human history, there have been 14,300 definable wars.  In our modern times, the wars of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan and their aftermaths occupy much of the period of the last 100 years. Wars affect everyone, not just the participants, but their families and larger communities as well, in many subtle and powerful ways. Continue reading “The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey – Part 9”

The Lifelong Quest for Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 8

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 8 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 ancient mythopoetic story of the Odyssey, Odysseus is desperately trying to find his way home after a 10-year war, to the Island of Ithaca where he is King. The armies of the great city states of Greece had been locked in a struggle to conquer the impregnable City of Troy on the extreme west coast of modern day Turkey. Odysseus was one of the leaders of the Greeks, the one who devised the plan to penetrate Troy through the gift of a giant horse secretly filled with soldiers, the Trojan Horse.  The behavior of the Greeks once inside the City and the slaughter of the Trojan population angered the gods.  The Journey home of all the Greek leaders was fraught with calamity, but none so severe as Odysseus.’

Odysseus encounters all sorts of disasters on his tortuous Journey home, much of it accompanied by the bad behavior of his men and him.  After nine years on the Journey, having lost everything, all his ships, all his men, all his possessions, he is washed up on the island of Scheria, naked, exhausted and broken.  He is taken in by the people of this land, and in a fit of surrender, he tells his whole long story.  It is in this telling that he finally gains the support and insight to complete his Journey home and, once back in Ithaca, to ultimately regain his rightful place as King.

The story is another classic hero’s journey, filled with all the elements of similar epics. Odysseus’ arrival home results in some additional conflicts with others on Ithaca seeking to rule.  With the help of the goddess Athena, a peace is declared by all the conflict parties accepting a sacred oath to restrain from any further violence forever.  This ending is dealt with rather briefly in the actual story, but the journey of Odysseus, in the torments and trials he must overcome, very much parallel our own Journeys to Sobriety.

He can only finally find forbearance and release from his tragic journey after he loses everything, surrenders and tells his story.  Having done so, and following the dictums of his hosts on Scheria, he can find his way home and achieve a sense of peace for himself and his people. For all of us, it is in telling our story, truthfully and with energetic rigor, that we can finally make progress on the elusive quest of Sobriety…and, in having done so, we can finally find peace and a rightful place for ourselves in the world.

The Red Flag Warnings of Cocaine Use and Withdrawal

Although the opioid  epidemic has recently taken the spotlight and overshadowed the devastating impact of other substances, the use of cocaine has remained steady since 2009. Cocaine is a potent stimulant drug. It comes in a powder form and also a solid rock form typically known as ‘crack’. If you feel someone you know and love may have a problem with cocaine, there are many clear warning signals to look for.

Continue reading “The Red Flag Warnings of Cocaine Use and Withdrawal”

Alcoholism…Are Genes to Blame?

Are issues with alcohol a future risk for you? Have you ever questioned yourself and thought, “Am I an alcoholic?”

Many Americans drink alcohol, but can have one drink and put it down for the rest of the evening. Not everyone who drinks develops a dependence on alcohol. However, many individuals are concerned about their chances of struggling with alcohol dependence due to their genetic predisposition. The question is, “How much do genes truly affect the likelihood of becoming an alcoholic?”

Continue reading “Alcoholism…Are Genes to Blame?”

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.

The Lifelong Quest For Sobriety…The Ultimate Hero’s Journey—Part 2

Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W., presents Part 2 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 Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, has said that “the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”  For those of us sufferers of addiction, the first step in the Journey to Sobriety may seem more like “a giant leap for mankind.”  Few of us are able to take that step without great difficulty and without many, many mis-steps.  The step to commit ourselves to the pursuit of a sober life can actually be the most difficult one in our lives.

In the concept of the Hero’s Journey, as it is known in literary and psychical circles, the first step results from a very poignant internal “call to adventure.”  It is the call to pursue a journey to gain some desperately needed boon for one’s self, for one’s family or for one’s community. For the addictive personality, mired in the terror of mindless consumptive or behavioral activity, this call is a deep internal cry for help.  When that cry finally hits us as unavoidable and impossible to ignore, we finally begin the journey…we enter the “rooms.”

We may have begun this before, perhaps many times. In the Hero’s Journey, there is a phase called “refusing the call,” where intense fear of the journey causes hesitation and procrastination.   For we sufferers of the diseases of addiction, the required admission of powerlessness to begin the journey can be elusive. Each time, the ability to reject the notion that the substance or behavior pattern that consumes us is too “valuable” to relinquish, looms as impossible.  Each prior time we couldn’t make that leap.  But then something hits us, that internal call to “adventure,” the call to pursue the life we see more clearly as absolutely necessary, strikes deep in our soul…and we begin. We embrace all the women and men who are standing by to help. We open our ears and we finally begin to listen. It still hurts, it still pains us to live each moment, each day without the drug…but we do, because we must, because to not do so is, eventually, to die.

…and, by doing so, by beginning, by surrendering, by just listening, we slowly but surely start to grow….