It's a Thinking Disease, not a Drinking Disease! 

“I am not addressing myself to the happy possessors of faith, but to those many people for whom the light has gone out, the mystery has faded and God is dead.  For most of them there is no going back, and one does not know either whether going back is the better way.  To gain an understanding of religious matters, probably all that is left to us today is the psychological approach.  That is why I take these thought-forms that have become historically fixed, try to melt them down again and pour them into molds of immediate experience.”

Jung, C.G., Psychology and Religion: West and East

"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.' "  

Alcoholics Anonymous, There Is A Solution, page 27

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"The bottom line is that you can take responsibility

for how you occupy your mind."

Robert Thurman, Infinite Life

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In a 1954 article, Tiebout introduced a definition of the term "ego" which was to become important in his later writings, particularly those for AA audiences. Although his use of the term was new, the concept behind it had been developed by Tiebout during the early 1940's.  In these early articles he was addressing a professional readership, and use of the term might have created confusion between the psychoanalytic meaning of ego and the colloquial "ego" which was Tiebout's essential meaning.


Based on work with 250 alcoholics during his first 10 years at Blythewood, Tiebout developed the following conception of the alcoholic mind:

"In the normal individual there is a tendency to create some privacy for his inner life, for his motivations, reflections and emotions, so that they are not completely accessible to the environment. Normally this attempt interferes only slightly with the freedom of movement of outgoing and incoming stimuli and impulses. The boundary which the normal individual sets up between himself and the environment may be called a floating or diffuse boundary. In incipient alcoholism, however, it appears that the boundary is drawn somewhat tighter than is usual, and that with each stage of further development of the alcoholism more and more gaps are closed until the alcoholic seems to have erected what may be called a barrier which permits only a minimum of interplay between the inner self and the environment."

Using examples from dreams of patients he had analyzed, Tiebout presented evidence for the existence of this rigid barrier. As long as the barrier remained, "As long as the self feels protected in a deep unconscious sense, it cannot be and is not disturbed by the warnings of reality, which characteristically roll like water off a duck's back." 


"Tactics are governed not only by strategy; they are also guided by three basic principles in technique. These are, briefly, that the patient must suffer or feel anxiety about himself and his condition; second, that it is the impersonal pressures of reality which activate suffering; and third, that it is the first and most immediate task of the psychiatrist to overcome the patient's refusal, unwillingness or inability to sense or feel these pressures of reality."


In his 1954 article, 'The Ego Factors in Surrender in Alcoholism,' Tiebout began using the term "ego" to describe this concept of a self barricaded by defenses. He related it to Freud's "His Majesty the Baby" and to a similar concept introduced by Sandor Rado in 1933.  Rado hypothesized that the elation induced by alcohol produced a reaction in the form of a "tense depression," which then reactivated the childish megalomania normally outgrown by adulthood. The result was a type of magical thinking in which "the ego secretly compares its current helplessness with its original narcissistic stature . . and aspires to leave its tribulations and regain its old magnitude."  Tiebout acknowledged his indebtedness to Rado's conception, while eliminating much of the psychoanalytic complexity of the original. He also felt that Rado was incorrect in advising only the "reduction" of the ego. Tiebout's view was that "reduction" represented a compromise and that there should be no compromise with the ego. "The old ego should be eliminated entirely and replaced with a new one through 'surrender.' "

(Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol; that our lives had become unmanageable.)

From Wikipedia

“Now he feels himself a participating partner in the collective human enterprise - the painful evolution of human consciousness - which began in the darkness of the primordial swamp and which will end we know not where."   

                                                                                                       Jung, C.G., Memories, Dreams, Reflections 

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