Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Are we sheep?
I have been approached for sponsorship by a large number of people over the years.
Some have aborted the process prematurely. Some have followed the process in full.
Every single person who has followed the process in full has stayed sober and had a spiritual awakening, experiencing a liberation of thought. Many of the people who have aborted the process prematurely have ended up with other sponsors and eventually 'got the programme' (as they say), one way or another. A number have aborted the process and are elsewhere or nowhere.
Here is a question: why do people abort the process?
The mind that comes to AA is usually functioning only in part. Some critical faculties are intact, but the reality perceived is not the whole of reality but a fragment, due to rotten cherry-picking of the negative, and the world is always seen from the point of view of self; this fragment of reality is then distorted by a lot of speculation, interpretation, generalisation, and extrapolation.
Frankly, the theological conclusions that are going to be reached any time before the end of Step Nine are highly likely to be warped by unresolved 'issues' (as they are called).
I would not give tuppence for any theological conclusions I came to early in AA, or before the end of Step Nine, even.
The people I have seen be successful are the ones who can muster logic-based faith, not in a God they do not believe in but a sponsor or others they do. That is what 'We Agnostics' in the book Alcoholics Anonymous is all about. It does not seek to convince anyone about a particular brand of God. Its logic essentially relies on this: 'We're doing better than you, aren't we? If you believe that, you are in, and all you have to do is copy us.'
The ones who fail are not the ones who simply copy and complete the first nine Steps and then live in the last three, as instructed.
In fact, the ones who succeed are often the ones who do precisely that, gradually developing spirit-based critical faculties as they go, wake up, and then draw their own theological conclusions with a clear mind, without being warped by cognitive distortions and the emotions that flow from them. Anyone who does that cannot be swayed intellectually if they are truly awake, because their spirit is too strongly in charge. No sheepishness now, in any sense.
The ones who do not succeed typically find some objection to the actions of the programme based not on the experience of having taken said actions but on some speciously concocted world view borne of long-standing misery. The reasons for 'no!' or 'not yet!' are like the reasons for the free-thinking rebel baby not wanting to leave the womb—how could they believe in a world outside they have never seen? Ridiculous!
What unites those who do not take the actions can be boiled down to this: 'you say these actions will get me well. I do not believe you. You have taken them; I have not, but I am right and you are wrong. I have better things to do. Goodbye'.
So, it is not for a surfeit of logic that people typically abandon the programme and take the consequences thereof; it is for an absence of it.