The irrational, anti-intellectual

When I came to A.A.I was a person who believed that “I” had managed my life and achieved many of my self-defined goals.  I had many friends.  I had gone to college, graduate school and received my Ph.D. degree.  I had published a number of academic journal articles that were the measure of professional success that many of my peers employed.  I was a professional psychologist and had an excellent clinical position making an excellent salary.  I knew I was pretty effective with some patients with an early cognitive behavioral approach.  Beyond that I had a house/home I really liked in Boston, a great wife, friends and many activities I enjoyed, particularly physical activities like running.  I had two boys from a previous marriage that I loved dearly and an extended family that had always and still cared about me.  I was of course about to loose many of these things, some permanently, but that’s alcoholism.

When I came to A.A. I had no real trouble with admitting and accepting that I was an alcoholic.  Because of my Catholic upbringing the spiritual part of the program which was not pushed by my sponsor anyway, nor by my immediate circle of recovering peers, was nothing I hadn’t encountered before.  I didn’t have any particular hostility toward the spiritual part of the program I just wanted to do what I needed to do to get sober and learn to stay sober.  I was an agnostic, an empiricist, a pretty contemporary secular person.  But I had to acknowledge the irrationality of my life.  I had tried in many ways to change my behavior, but I couldn’t do it.  I needed help.  There was a strong sense of being out of control, not being rational, not being true to my own perception of people as rational beings.

In some sense this ground of the irrational is where so much of recovery occurs.  There seems to be something there, something within that wants to break through, take control, destroy you.  It is this illogical, irrational force that is combated by the group, the Steps and the other pieces of the A.A. program.  Whatever else recovery is, it is in some respects not rational.  That’s what people mean when they talk about a spiritual solution.  It is a solution that is often ineffable but it works.  
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