Much has been said and written in regards to Alcoholism and addiction to other substances. It is interesting that in many of the years that have gone by since A.A. started that some of the core principles that Bill W. and Carl Jung were thinking about have not been dealt with in the manner in which was intended. I say this because when you read the letters between him and Carl Jung it is apparent that there is a belief that there is an actual spiritual energy that is in action in what is called addiction. Of course Bill. W. addressed this in the steps, but I believe that in our modernistic form of thinking we think that Bill W. was talking in metaphors and not in realities.
One of the main points that I hope to make in this humble booklet is one in which we can go back to thinking about addictions as an actual state of possession and a spiritual quest for union with God by real spiritual forces that go beyond medical disease models. There is nothing wrong in thinking in disease models; they are just one explanation and I think it’s always good to see things from a different perspective. This makes more sense especially if you are from a group of people who sees the world from a different cultural understanding.
It is perfectly ok to think in disease or behavioral or other psychological models; they are just one explanation and I think it’s always good to try different approaches if the present one isn’t working. After all the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.’ Well as I see it this applies to recovery also. If the present way towards wellness is not working for you then try something else my brother or sister. This is even more important if you have been struggling with different ways of dealing with this state of addiction/possession.
My spiritual teacher taught me that alcohol and other substances are all spirit energy. If you don’t believe this, next time you go to a restaurant where they serve alcohol see what they call it on the beverage page---spirits.
It is no surprise that they call this beverage ‘spirits.’ My teacher went on to explain that these spirits in the bottle in and of themselves are not good or bad. For instance the same spirit in the bottle that many have used to destroy their lives becomes the blood of Christ in the celebration of the Catholic Mass. The difference being that in the Mass the intent is to consecrate, when you drink to just drink the intent is unknown or destructive.
The main point is that the intent we place in the act of drinking is what determines whether drinking is a sacred act or an act of sorcery against ourselves and our loved ones. Yes, you heard it right drinking and using is an act of sorcery when done in the context of destroying yourself and your family.
How so you might ask?
Well, medicine is to be used only by people who have been initiated into the type of medicine. If you aren’t a priest, medicine man/woman, doctor or shaman then you should not be practicing medicine. If you do so as in drinking or using drugs, the natural law stipulates that you must be the opposite of a holy person...which means—you guessed it a witch or a sorcerer. When you take the substance in this manner then you are practicing sorcery against yourself, your family and your community. Remember that you are placing intent on the alcohol/medicine that you are drinking. As you approach the drink there is intention in your mind. The intention also has a wish that you place on the drink and this wish connects to the spirit of alcohol. These intentions are serious and generate a contract with the spirit of alcohol (Don’t worry this will get even weirder as we go along but remember that the spirit of alcohol is baffling and cunning). A contract is when you have a mutual agreement with someone right? Well, when you drink alcohol, it tells your spirit that it will give you something and it always does as you know.
Every time you drink you will get some kind of buzz or high or whatever. That is the spirit of alcohol fulfilling its part of the bargain. Now it’s your turn to pay because you cannot get something for nothing...remember natural law. Spirit wants spirit, so when it comes time to pay your end of the contract, you have to pay in spiritual currency. This usually translates into a life and it’s amazing that with all the alcohol related deaths we don’t stop and wonder about the spiritual price of abusing medicine/alcohol/spirit. Many people in the world are taken every day due to this spiritual contract with alcohol and we still insist on thinking that this is just a beverage that has no energy of the type I am discussing here. Not only is it apparent that we are helpless individually and as a society when it comes to dealing with this powerful spirit, we have also been unwilling to delve deeply to find out what this relationship is about.
Bill W. knew this when he found the first steps towards healing himself. This gives us a new understanding of step one, two and three. In order to recognize that we are powerless it is important to realize that we are dealing with spiritual forces and not simply bio-medical ones. In these steps we realize alcohol/substance is spirit and because it is spirit it takes possession of our spirit and only a spiritual intervention will restore balance. This requires intent...remember intent? Intent must be present in order to undo the contract with the spirit of alcohol. In order to make space in our spirit for the transformation that needs to occur we need a complete clean up of our spirit which is where steps 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are deeply understood.
There’s a bit more than what we are used to in this process. Amends must be made also to the spirit of alcohol because remember? It is a spirit and when you abuse someone you must include them into the fearless inventory and make amends to them. We must face the spirit of alcohol and ask forgiveness for our violation of it and also make amends by making some sort of offering. Again, remember natural law. If you take something you must give something in return otherwise alcohol will take spirit which is usually a life.
The spirit will take spirit unless you make amends to the spirit of alcohol. Amends can be made in a prayer offering that is given to alcohol/substance with the intent of bringing harmony and balance to your relationship with these medicines and behaviors called addiction. Offerings in most Native communities consist of making a tobacco offering to the earth with the intent of making amends. Remember intent is the stuff of prayer. It is and was intent that got us into difficulty in the first place. It all starts with a thought and goes from there. It is interesting that tobacco (as in cigarette smoking) has been used extensively in AA meetings for many years and no one has connected the fact that perhaps tobacco has been trying to help you make amends the whole time. Unfortunately the type of tobacco use that is being done is of an addictive nature which in turn activates the spirit of possession which is already in control of the person. It is important that tobacco is medicine and has a spirit that is aware of what is going on.
Tobacco, according to many tribal traditions has been placed on earth by Creator/Higher Power for one reason. The reason is for prayer. Tobacco has the ability to take your prayer intent directly to Creator and in this way fulfills its purpose. Unfortunately, the spirit of Tobacco has become yet another addiction since most people do not recognize it as a spiritual energy that has a purpose very different than the one given by the tobacco companies.
The only thing missing in the smoking that happens in most recovery meetings has been the intent of prayer. This is because most folks smoke or use tobacco from possession and addiction rather than prayer. It seems that we do a lot of things in our lives from this perspective. Once you make your prayer offering, there will be insights coming to you from the spirit of alcohol/substance.
Insights from alcohol you ask? I mentioned earlier that this would be a bit strange but most spiritual things usually are. Spiritual things have the capacity of being strange and also carry some pain in the process of understanding them. This pain is mostly because of ego, since ego wants to stay in control.
Most spiritual traditions believe that there is spiritual value in suffering that is done for the purpose of spiritual insight and growth. The old saying of ‘no pain no gain’ is an example of this. The Sufis teach that we should not become bitter at the amount of suffering that has been entrusted to us.
Many people over the years have expressed guilt at the fact that they have wasted so much of their lives because of drinking and drugging. My belief is that this is a waste of life and suffering only if you allow it to be. Again, remember the power of intent. Place your intent on offering the suffering that you have done and give that suffering back to your higher power with the intent that this suffering energy be used for the healing of others. This will make your suffering an offering of healing. Making this type of offering ensures that your suffering becomes prayer for others and not merely a waste of time and your life.