Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 49 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 all these Notes, the fundamental core element is the idea of the Hero, the individual who journeys into the Underworld of her/his life to initiate a process of ongoing recovery from the ravages and horrors of addiction. This is the same Hero that attends the core of thousands upon thousands of stories told in all the societies of the human experience all over the world. We have merely focused on it here in these Notes, seeing its parallel in the lives of all of us.
The recent DC Comics movie, Aquaman, is a tale of an undersea society of women and men living in many tribes, the center of which is the mythic world of Atlantis. Atlantis was also a world of hubris that was created by Plato and other scholars and which, as a result of massive mythical conflicts, was eventually buried on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
The hero of the modern movie, Aquaman, was a crossbreed of the queen of the undersea world and a surface human, a lighthouse keeper who rescued her from near death on the rocks at the foot of his lighthouse. This hero, Aquaman, is blessed with significant powers and, upon reaching adulthood, he is drawn into a conflict between the tribes of the undersea world. He is charged with the mandate to restore order to this world. To carry out this mandate, he must journey to a strange and dangerous realm and retrieve a golden trident, a weapon which grants him a set of powers that approach invincibility. This trident will enable him to prevail over all others and to restore peace and prosperity to the undersea realm.
The parallel to other mythic systems, particularly to that of King Arthur of early Celtic lore, is clear and very powerfully done in Aquaman. As in King Arthur, the golden trident is akin to the sword Excalibur which Arthur, a seemingly common man of royal blood, retrieves from a stone and is elevated to the mantle of King. As King, Arthur leads the Knights of the Round Table, each of whom set out episodically on quests of chivalry, conquest and spiritual enlightenment.
Does all of this strike you as profoundly as it strikes me…that all of us in recovery, those of us who have truly committed ourselves to lives of responsibility, accountability and service, are heroes of precisely equal stature and power…all of us? Our journeys to achieve levels of sobriety have the same elements of these majestic stories, from the explorations into the frightening darkness of our pasts to the glory of the milestones that we celebrate with our Fellows and through the service that we are challenged to provide to others.
As we look at all the great heroic stories of the human experience, all those stories that mirror the lives of so many of us, there is this heroic mantle that seems to have been laid upon all of us. It is the grace of a Higher Power, a mantle which we all are mandated to wear, to work, to be of service, in small and large ways, to make the world in which we live a better, safer place.