Christ is Risen!
It has been a busy last few weeks, but well worth the wait.
So, I'm going to jump right into the question: what is addiction?
Is it a mental disorder? A moral failing? Those two are the most common categories used in the last few centuries to classify addiction. The problem is that the tools available in these fields are generally ineffective in helping the addict to recover. Psychology and moral teachings can have some positive effects, but generally not enough to make a huge difference in addiction. Most addicts continue to die even with all the religious or psychological encouragement to get sober.
So, what does that leave? In the 12-Step concept, a spiritual solution is offered, but there isn't really a very clean understanding of 'how' it works beyond describing the phenomenon of people working the steps and somehow 'magically' getting sober. If God is working on us, what exactly is he fixing?
Think about it for a moment. There may be a 'spiritual awakening,' but how does that effect one's decision-making processes, particularly since the addict knows that thoughts alone cannot save the addict from the addiction. Were that true, psychology would work. But, it doesn't.
As I see it, the problem is a fundamental one of not understanding how humans make decisions and even how human consciousness works. We once did understand human consciousness in a way that, in fact, prevented addiction from taking hold. But, as we abandoned ancient wisdom and chased after psychology as the solution to all suffering, we lost out on the key to comprehending human awareness.
So, let's stop and use some reason. Let's assume that the 12-Step concept is true (but its explanations are incomplete). So, God does something to the addict, and the addict breaks the cycle of bad decisions. Where would God place the 'fix'?
If you follow the concept of human consciousness found roughed out in Genesis and later with the Greeks, human appetites rise up from within, and thus the senses are used to find the 'solution' to the appetite.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Mt 6:22-23)
"Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness." (Lk 11:34)
The wise man has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; (Ec 2:14)
Judgement is vision, both what we see and how what we see. This means that our physical perceptions are key to recovery. How you see determines what you will do. And, while sight and taste along with the other senses are important (think about the physical experience of the addict when he takes a drink), it has much to do with 'sight' both in terms of overall intellectual perception as it does the physical one.
Are you aware of how your body truly 'feels'? Are you aware of all your stress you are carrying around? Do you 'see' threats in other people around you?
The 12-Step group acts as 'eyes to the blind' because the addict learns, with Divine assistance, to not trust what he sees. Some of this is thought, but a great deal of it is feeling. When anger or fear arise (which are thoughts but have enormous physical components), the addict learns not to trust either the 'reasons' or the 'feelings.'
Recovery is about correcting one's sensory experience of the world. If one learns not to trust one's feelings, then one has a shot at recover.