Joseph Campbell’s model of the hero’s journey points to the struggle we must face in order to untangle our discontent. The 12 steps of AA take us through a structured program that can begin to break down our pathological structures.
We are thrust headlong into remembering what we tried so hard to forget…our failures…our attempts at control. We begin to break loose the hard soil of denial, and emotions come forward. It is then that we see the beginnings of conscious contact with the power we have sought in so many counterfeit forms. Dr. Jung wrote to Bill W. that alcoholism was “…a spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness…for the union with God.”
A deep dive into our buried pain, in combination with an intentional lifestyle shift toward honesty and community is the gold standard for sustainable recovery. Our daily lives become aligned with reality, we regularly look at our malady and even learn to laugh at ourselves. And, in this more flexible and less-guarded rhythm, a genuine desire to live well and to live from the heart emerges. We are naturally thrust toward a life of health and authentic service to others.