“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root or our troubles.” (from Alcoholics Anonymous , 4th Edition, 2001, page 62.) The paragraph details further aspects of this, namely self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity. Another section of the basic text of AA talks about alcoholism as “self-will run riot”. (I can’t find the page, sorry.)
I think the key word in the above paragraph is “self.” Alcoholism can be a world view turned inward upon the self. We alcoholics have certain problems with the world. It is not ordered according to our liking and God did not consult us. Therefore we turn our backs on the world in a selfish manner and seek to recreate it in the fantasies aided by alcohol. This increases our isolation from the world and escalates our negative attitude towards it. The world is an even more unfair.
One thing that AA teaches is that in recovery we have to change how we react to things. Since our worldview was messed up to begin with we reacted in a way in keeping with our delusional, fantastic interpretation. If the world is against us everything is sucked in through that filter. We react in a way that mirrors the world’s perceived hostility. And the world get more hostile.
Therefore we need to change how we react to things. The world is just there. It is indifferent to us, although we are an important part of it. (Hence Jesus’ Death and Resurrection) People do not go around plotting ways to cause our demise or tick us off, although many times it seems that way. Through a slow process of conversion initiated by whatever got us to stop drinking, we gradually begin to reprogram ourselves and change how we interpret the world and what it does. Our recovery starts with an admission of our powerlessness over that which brought us solace (and others pain).
As we continue down this path or recovery, we gradually repair our relationships. Our physical, mental and finally our spiritual healing develops as we also repair our relationship with God and then others.
We can continue this outward sign of our recovery by a further giving of ourselves in service and volunteering. I wrote about this a few days ago. When we give of ourselves without expecting anything in return we enhance that healing and the world looks different. You begin to feel and sense joy.
This is not an overnight happening. It takes time and courage to keep going this route. But the giving of oneself, in a sense almost a sacrificial offering, is a saving act. We are bringing ourselves closer to God. We cannot save ourselves in the sense of meriting heaven by our own efforts, but we can open ourselves to God’s graces by being in service to our community.
The Church teaches that God never sends anyone to Hell. Hell is chosen by those who reject God. Their rejection is so total because they are consumed entirely by the self. There was no room in them for genuine love and sacrifice.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"