Guest Blogger and long-time Council friend, Bob W. presents Part 57 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 evolution of these Notes, we have attempted to look at the afflictions of addiction and alcoholism both in the rampant untreated state and in the long, maybe lifelong process of recovery. We have seen these journeys from a deeply mythic perspective, all aspects of them having stark parallels to the thousands of stories of heroes that attend the human experience.
In recent times, I have begun to see our journeys as coming in stages. First, we stop drinking or using. We deal with the pain, the minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day agonies of living without the substance or behaviors we used to medicate and escape. Slowly, slowly, we begin to feel better and, in time, time itself seems to move along without those daily tremors of abstinence and deprivation. Soon then we begin a second stage…that of working with a sponsor over the steps, one by one, embracing a Higher Power in personal terms and climbing the staircase of the Spirit, coming to understand our disease and its pitfalls in deeper and deeper terms. We commit ourselves to service is small ways, supporting the Fellowship in daily chores and working with others.
In a few months or years, we move to a third stage, life in a container, a network of like women and men with whom we can live and be sustained with increasing ease and comfort. As addicts and alcoholics, we are always at risk, but, in time, staying close to that Community, relapse becomes less and less of an option. We begin to see the true meaning of the idea of a Sunshine of the Spirit. We begin to feel the overwhelming sense of gratitude for our Higher Power and the Fellowship that engulfs us.
Beyond this, I am beginning to see the idea of a fourth stage, maybe another dimension, a fourth dimension. Committing ourselves to service first and foremost, eschewing any recognition, or even any third party knowledge, of such service other than our Higher Power, we become a rock upon which the power of the Fellowship is seamlessly resting.
We become a bit like Dante in the final stages of Paradiso. Earlier in this trilogy, Dante had to trudge through the horrors of the Inferno with all the characterizations of the missteps of mankind. Then he moved into and through Purgatorio where is detailed the struggles to redeem oneself of the travesties of bad behavior. Much of Dante’s larger story here is reminiscent of our own journeys and our progress towards committed sobriety. But then Dante finally ascends into heaven, Paradiso, where he ultimately comes face to face with God. As outlined in earlier Notes, the scene is captivating with God represented as a magical essence of pure love.
It has come to me that there are those of us to whom we all look for leadership and inspiration who have been cloaked with just such a spiritual mantle. Said another way, there are women and men among us in whose presence we all feel especially blessed…women and men who have become a near manifestation, deep within in our mind and hearts, of the power of a higher being. What a joy it is to live in a community of such lightness and splendor!