One of the things I’ve been thinking about recently is alcoholic thinking. Are we as alcoholics exclusively those who have warped, fear-driven thinking? Or can people have this too, but without our addiction to alcohol?
I think its possible for someone normal, that is to say a non-alcoholic to still have alcoholic thinking. So what sets them apart from us?
Alcoholic thinking, our disease is all about fear. Living in fear of not being enough or not having enough in their lives can lead us to living and acting a life of anger, intolerance, self-pity, jealousy, dishonesty and more. As alcoholics, we realise this in the programme and actively work to stop living this way and try to live a life of love instead, a life that is honest, peaceful, useful and born from humility.
A normal person can still be driven by fear, they can have the same thinking that we do. We see this in the world around us, people who are driven by their insecurities and act from their own character defects. People who gossip, people who manipulate, people who look to try and control the world around them. We can all probably relate to this on some level, we can all recognise people who share the same thinking as us. At one point, we both may have turned to drink to escape this fear at the end of a stressful day, the difference however being that we as alcoholics developed what the book calls ‘a physical allergy’, an extreme reaction to alcohol, this drove our addiction. We used our addiction to try and disconnect ourselves from this thinking and our emotions.
Alcoholics in the programme who work the steps actively recognise our lives as having been driven by fear, we recognise our defective thinking, our lack of spirituality and the character defects which have dominated our lives, and we put in daily action to instead live a life of love. We are given the tools we need to move on an embrace a new way of living.
What about those who don’t have our addiction, but share our way of thinking, our disease? They can have a drink at the end of a day without becoming powerless over alcohol, but what does this mean for them in their daily lives? Without strong spiritual foundation, we see them act out of fear on an ongoing basis, they may not think they need a programme because they’re not alcoholics, they’re not like us, but where does this leave them?
They will continue to act from their anger, self pity, intolerance and impatience, driven by their insecurities and low self worth. They build self defence mechanisms and try to mask a sense of not being enough. They will continue this their entire lives. They may not develop alcoholism or our addiction, but their warped thinking still can be seen in the way they react to others and the world around them.
So what sets us apart? We may have our addiction and our disease, we may have gone through hell, but we have been given a gift, we now have the tools to move forwards with our lives. Unlike them we choose and work to act a better life, one of humility, understanding, patience and honesty. We will be fine as long as we work the programme, but they sadly, may struggle for the rest of their lives.
This is why I consider myself a grateful recovering alcoholic, thank god for the programme.