Affirmations

Prayer

 

Affirmations are simply statements that are designed to create self-change.  People use affirmations for a variety of purposes. Generally speaking, affirmations are used to reprogram the subconscious mind, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it.  Research in the treatment of addiction indicates the value of what are referred to as self-affirmations.  Self-affirmations refer to behavioral or cognitive events that sustain, support and strengthen the perceived integrity of the self.  From a psychological standpoint, a significant aspect of addiction is that at the moment of relapse the desire for instant gratification overcomes our self-control.  The rationale behind the use of self-affirmation as a strategy to enhance self-control is that the act of self-affirmation allows people to respond in a manner that counters their automatic response tendency for self-gratification. In other words, self-affirmation counters habits of action, and this is the essence of self-control - our action is consciously volitional (a choice) as opposed to habitual.  The most powerful mode of self-affirmation is expressing one's core values.  In our case as alcoholics and addicts, that means the spiritual principles that underlie the 12 Steps become our core values.  There are literally thousands of books and websites devoted to affirmations and how to create them specifically for you.  Don’t get hung up on creating perfect affirmations.  Focus on the 12 Steps and the spiritual principles the underlie them. 

 

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

 

  • “I am now completely honest and I understand the exact nature of my disease.”   

  • “I am a member of alcoholics anonymous and have the experience, strength and hope of the fellowship to guide me.”

  • “I have self-control and the higher power necessary to make the right choice.”

 

As I stated on the HOME page of this site, the idea of an anthropomorphic god, an old man with a beard who lives in the sky, watching over us all, meting out grace and punishment depending on our obedience to a specific set of rules is absolutely preposterous to me.  I don’t really know if there is such a thing as god, but I am absolutely convinced that if there is a god he, she, whatever, is not like that.  I’m also quite sure that if there is a god he, she, whatever, does not need to be worshiped, thanked or solicited for favors.

What does make sense to me is the psychology of Carl Jung, the doctor we first encountered in the story of Roland Hazzard.  His psychology, what is known today as Jungian Analytical Psychology, defines our “self” much differently than Bill W. does in the Big Book.  Jung defines “Self” as our inherent “divine core.” Where is this core?  To my way of thinking our core, if it is anywhere, is at the center of our subconscious mind.  The work that I have to do then is to purify my subconscious or essentially, strip away all of the misconceptions, false beliefs or emotional harm I’ve done to myself, or had done to me, over a lifetime of sensory input.  Jesus said this another way.  He said in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  Many have referred to our heart as the location of our soul and the condition of our soul as being synonymous with the state of our subconscious mind.  It states in “How It Works” that we read before every A.A. meeting:

 

No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints.  The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” 

 

Therefore, to me, when I work the Steps I practice these principles and when I practice these principles I begin to improve the condition of my subconscious mind.  Ultimately, if I remain on this path long enough, through this and perhaps many other lifetimes, I will reach and then manifest my “divine core,” what Buddhists refer to as enlightenment or nirvana, Christians call salvation or heaven and Muslims believe to be Paradise or what in Arabic is known as Jinnah.  That to me is the promise and the gift of the 12 Step program of A.A.

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