Big Book First Edition 1939

Dr. Jung & Rowland H. Story

from the Big Book pg. 26

"Then he had gone to Europe, placing himself in the care of a celebrated physician (the psychiatrist, Dr. Jung) . . .who prescribed for him. Though experience had made him skeptical, he finished his treatment with unusual confidence.  His physical and mental condition were unusually good. Above all, he believed he had acquired such a profound knowledge of the inner workings of his mind and its hidden springs that relapse was unthinkable. Nevertheless, he was drunk in a short time. More baffling still, he could give himself no satisfactory explanation for his fall.

 

So he returned to this doctor (Three years later, it is now 1932), whom he admired, and asked him point-blank why he could not recover.  He wished above all things to regain self-control. He seemed quite rational and well-balanced with respect to other problems. Yet he had no control whatever over alcohol. Why was this? 

 

He begged the doctor to tell him the whole truth, and he got it. In the doctor's judgment he was utterly hopeless; he could never regain his position in society and he would have to place himself under lock and key or hire a bodyguard if he expected to live long.

 

That was a great physician's opinion.  But this man still lives, and is a free man. He does not need a bodyguard nor is he confined. He can go anywhere on this earth where other men may go without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude.

 

Some or our alcoholic readers may think they can do without spiritual help. Let us tell you the rest of the conversation our friend had with his doctor.  The doctor said: "You have the mind of a chronic alcoholic. I have never seen one single case recover, where that state of mind existed to the extent that it does in you." Our friend felt as though the gates of hell had closed on him with a clang.”

 

He said to the doctor, 'Is there no exception?'  'Yes,' replied the doctor, 'there is. Exceptions to cases such as yours have been occurring since early times. Here and there, once in a while, alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences.  To me these occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them. In fact, I have been trying to produce some such emotional rearrangement within you. With many individuals the methods which I employed are successful, but I have never been successful with an alcoholic of your description.'

 

Upon hearing this, our friend was somewhat relieved, for he reflected that, after all, he was a good church member. This hope, however, was destroyed by the doctor's telling him that while his religious convictions were very good, in his case they did not spell the necessary vital spiritual experience.”

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Jungian Analytical Psychology