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  #1  
Old Jul 12, '12, 7:59 pm
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Default Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Hello Everyone,

I was skimming a book this afternoon entitled The Twelve Steps for Christians. I just skimmed a couple of pages, it is not a book that interests me. However, it did get me thinking about Alcoholics Anonymous and a priest in Ireland who although not given credit is truly the first to have started such a program. I was thinking that there appears to be a correlation between Power and Control and Disbelief and Alcoholism.

I remember in my youth having lived through a difficult youth although I was 'Catholic' I did not want to speak with a priest. I just felt that I had 'survived' and no one was going to tell me how to live my life. I would go to church but would never speak with a priest. I was being Catholic MY WAY and I was going to live my life MY WAY. I was in control, I held the reign of the horses in my hands and I was not going to give it to anyone. I was a survivor and to give control to anyone or anything meant weakness and leaving myself open to being vulnerable. It was not that I knew of anything the priest may or may not tell me to do or not do, I was simply not willing to give or acknowledge anyone having authority over me. I matured out of that stage, thanks be to God.

I was thinking about how difficult it is for some people, and often times with good reason, to give up control. To believe in God means to give up a lot of control. It is not simply a limited very guarded control that a person who has a problem of loosing control, perhaps due to some difficult experiences, may give to another person such as a spouse or employer etc... but it is to give it to a being that would have control that cannot be controlled. A being that is so powerful that He is above not just the individual but the whole family, the whole society, the whole country, the whole world and every human being and all living creatures and, and, and the whole universe. I was just thinking of the role the lost of control and power plays in disbelief.

I was thinking also about the effectiveness of belief in God to help people that have an addiction problem to alcohol. It's that giving up of control that helps them and of course, God and knowing God and developing a relationship with God.

Let me not make this (War and Peace) too long. I wonder if there is a correlation with alcoholism, power, control and disbelief? What do you think?

Peace

Abba
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1 John: 9
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  #2  
Old Jul 12, '12, 11:42 pm
Edmundus1581 Edmundus1581 is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abba View Post
Hello Everyone,

I was skimming a book this afternoon entitled The Twelve Steps for Christians. I just skimmed a couple of pages, it is not a book that interests me. However, it did get me thinking about Alcoholics Anonymous and a priest in Ireland who although not given credit is truly the first to have started such a program. I was thinking that there appears to be a correlation between Power and Control and Disbelief and Alcoholism.

I remember in my youth having lived through a difficult youth although I was 'Catholic' I did not want to speak with a priest. I just felt that I had 'survived' and no one was going to tell me how to live my life. I would go to church but would never speak with a priest. I was being Catholic MY WAY and I was going to live my life MY WAY. I was in control, I held the reign of the horses in my hands and I was not going to give it to anyone. I was a survivor and to give control to anyone or anything meant weakness and leaving myself open to being vulnerable. It was not that I knew of anything the priest may or may not tell me to do or not do, I was simply not willing to give or acknowledge anyone having authority over me. I matured out of that stage, thanks be to God.

I was thinking about how difficult it is for some people, and often times with good reason, to give up control. To believe in God means to give up a lot of control. It is not simply a limited very guarded control that a person who has a problem of loosing control, perhaps due to some difficult experiences, may give to another person such as a spouse or employer etc... but it is to give it to a being that would have control that cannot be controlled. A being that is so powerful that He is above not just the individual but the whole family, the whole society, the whole country, the whole world and every human being and all living creatures and, and, and the whole universe. I was just thinking of the role the lost of control and power plays in disbelief.

I was thinking also about the effectiveness of belief in God to help people that have an addiction problem to alcohol. It's that giving up of control that helps them and of course, God and knowing God and developing a relationship with God.

Let me not make this (War and Peace) too long. I wonder if there is a correlation with alcoholism, power, control and disbelief? What do you think?

Peace

Abba
The story of your youth and needing to be in control is one we often hear in 12-step meetings, and, indeed, such an attitude to God and life can lead to addiction. Often, there are also good reasons that the attitude developed as a defence mechanism - but this makes no difference to the outcome, as an addiction has the same effect regardless of how it came about. If you survived and surrendered control to God without become addicted to anything then you have done well! As you observed, the 12 steps are based on surrendering control of one's life to God.

Twelve step programs are also about meeting other people who share the same struggles, and admitting our need for the group. This is where Catholics and other Christians seem to have the biggest difficulty - we are happy to let God control our lives, but hate the idea that we need a group of addicts around us to keep sober. Control and disbelief also come into play here. "I believe that with God I can overcome this (despite my years of failed efforts and worsening behaviour). I won't go to AA because of .....".

In your reading, you have no doubt encountered the 12 steps, which is why you posted, but, for the benefit of any other readers, I will post the first three:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
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  #3  
Old Jul 13, '12, 3:01 am
Sair Sair is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abba View Post
Hello Everyone,

I was skimming a book this afternoon entitled The Twelve Steps for Christians. I just skimmed a couple of pages, it is not a book that interests me. However, it did get me thinking about Alcoholics Anonymous and a priest in Ireland who although not given credit is truly the first to have started such a program. I was thinking that there appears to be a correlation between Power and Control and Disbelief and Alcoholism.

I remember in my youth having lived through a difficult youth although I was 'Catholic' I did not want to speak with a priest. I just felt that I had 'survived' and no one was going to tell me how to live my life. I would go to church but would never speak with a priest. I was being Catholic MY WAY and I was going to live my life MY WAY. I was in control, I held the reign of the horses in my hands and I was not going to give it to anyone. I was a survivor and to give control to anyone or anything meant weakness and leaving myself open to being vulnerable. It was not that I knew of anything the priest may or may not tell me to do or not do, I was simply not willing to give or acknowledge anyone having authority over me. I matured out of that stage, thanks be to God.

I was thinking about how difficult it is for some people, and often times with good reason, to give up control. To believe in God means to give up a lot of control. It is not simply a limited very guarded control that a person who has a problem of loosing control, perhaps due to some difficult experiences, may give to another person such as a spouse or employer etc... but it is to give it to a being that would have control that cannot be controlled. A being that is so powerful that He is above not just the individual but the whole family, the whole society, the whole country, the whole world and every human being and all living creatures and, and, and the whole universe. I was just thinking of the role the lost of control and power plays in disbelief.

I was thinking also about the effectiveness of belief in God to help people that have an addiction problem to alcohol. It's that giving up of control that helps them and of course, God and knowing God and developing a relationship with God.

Let me not make this (War and Peace) too long. I wonder if there is a correlation with alcoholism, power, control and disbelief? What do you think?

Peace

Abba
There is almost certainly a correlation, especially when one looks at the psychology of addiction.

Let's be honest - if one is addicted to any substance, be it alcohol or some other intoxicant, then it is really that substance that is controlling the individual in all respects, from thoughts to behaviour. Yes, control can be imposed without consciousness! And it is also undoubtedly the case that many addicts are unaware of their predicament until they have a serious wake-up call in the form of the effects of their addiction upon their lives.

I have no doubt that AA and other varieties of the 12-step program have positive, highly beneficial effects in people's lives. But I have also encountered alternative strategies that emphasise personal, internal control. The thing is, the first step in any of the 12-step-type therapies for addiction basically requires that the addict must admit, whole-heartedly, that they cannot exercise any kind of self-control, but must surrender control to a higher power - usually, whatever is their personal concept of god (apart from their drug of choice, of course).

This really does work for some people, but for others, it is counterproductive. In short, it demands the addict admit that they absolutely can't control their own behaviour, but must rely upon outside influences.

In some ways, this is dependent upon how the therapy is framed. It may well be the case that those who pursue avenues other than the 12-step programs do come to depend upon the regular meetings with their therapist or the group sessions. But if it is imparted as a personal choice - as something one does to strengthen one's own resolve, rather than something one must do because they have no other hope, then that can make all the difference for a recovering addict, particularly one who has previously been without - or has since rejected - any belief in a higher power.

All things considered, it's a pretty fine gradation - no man or woman is an island, as the saying goes. It depends upon what an individual perceives as a motivating factor. If group therapy sessions provide an opportunity for both sharing and for self-vindication and empowerment, that is perhaps, for the person in question, less of an admission of helplessness and more of a series of steps to take in conscious self-healing. Importantly, it is probably more likely to be the latter - knowing that one can do this for oneself - that will stick if times get tough and addiction beckons once again.
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  #4  
Old Jul 13, '12, 7:07 am
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Abba Abba is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmundus1581 View Post
The story of your youth and needing to be in control is one we often hear in 12-step meetings, and, indeed, such an attitude to God and life can lead to addiction. Often, there are also good reasons that the attitude developed as a defence mechanism - but this makes no difference to the outcome, as an addiction has the same effect regardless of how it came about. If you survived and surrendered control to God without become addicted to anything then you have done well! As you observed, the 12 steps are based on surrendering control of one's life to God.
I was fortunate, as I had been raised in a very pious home during my childhood. My grandmother's sister made a living by making rosaries and I was raised in a community of people that lived the faith. I was raised by my grandmother who had thirteen children, one of them was a sculpture who made statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. They were not saints but they tried to live the faith and when they failed they struggled to get up again. I wanted to be a nun.

I originally shared a little personal point to open up the topic, but, since I am here now, I would further share that what happened to me which lead me to have such an attitude of being protective of my control, is that I was moved to the USA when I was nine years old. I was taken away from my peaceful Catholic home to a home of people that were not practicing Catholics and were very materialistic. Their God was the American Dollar. Their Catholic faith was put in a place where it would not bother and taken out every once in a rare while to justify their goodness and self aggrandizement. They were cafeteria Catholics and did not go to church nor received the sacraments and made their faith and beliefs such that it suited their life style. I remember someone saying that we did not need the Church to be saved and that all we had to do was follow the commandment of Jesus. The faith was condensed to a motto: love God and do good to your neighbors. That's it. Although I requested to be taken to church, it never happened, it was always too inconvenient. The difference from that household to my previous one was like night and day. It was awful. Finally, three years later, at the age of twelve, I ran away and never returned and that's where the survival thing comes in. I never became addicted to alcohol nor drugs .

It did not happened that one day I decided to give control and acknowledge the authority of a priest, it just happened somewhat naturally as I followed that calling that pulled me like a magnet to get closer to the heart of the Church. At the core of my being, was my Catholic faith. It was guiding me even when I did not notice it. My guardian angel was working hard those years and protecting me. As I wrote these last few sentences, I have realized that I have grown spiritually these past couple of years. I have known enough to recognize that teachings of the Church are true. Whether I understand her teachings intellectually or not I acknowledge that they are true and correct. Often times, it happens that I come to understand a teaching that I did not understand before though I accepted it. Just like now, spiritually I can appreciate the teaching of baptism of desire more and the comment of Mother Theresa. A comment of Mother Theresa, alarmed me when I first read it a couple of years ago. The one about helping a Buddhist become a better Buddhist and a Muslim become a better Muslim etc...but now I understand that I have ascended spiritually to appreciate her understanding. It is because I am taking a glance at my past and see how God never abandoned me. God loves each and every one of us and I mean each individual.

My apologies for the digression. So, yes, I grew out of the need of self control. It was a stage of my teenage years. Having experienced it, I can see the need for or fear of loosing control in people which blocks their advancement in their search for God. A lot of focus is made with 'pride' being an obstacle and the idea of belief in God being 'absurd' but 'control', separate from pride and with its own roots, is an obstacle for some too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edmundus1581 View Post
Twelve step programs are also about meeting other people who share the same struggles, and admitting our need for the group. This is where Catholics and other Christians seem to have the biggest difficulty - we are happy to let God control our lives, but hate the idea that we need a group of addicts around us to keep sober. Control and disbelief also come into play here. "I believe that with God I can overcome this (despite my years of failed efforts and worsening behaviour). I won't go to AA because of .....".

In your reading, you have no doubt encountered the 12 steps, which is why you posted, but, for the benefit of any other readers, I will post the first three:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
What do you think about this article in where the person presents AA as a cult?

http://www.geocities.com/drugsandalc...roltactics.htm


I was just googling the topic and read on a UK forum that some of the members of an AA group are bi-polar. One of the reasons for alcoholism is self medication of perhaps un-diagnosed disorders not just, of course, the desire for control which is the focus that interests me right now for this topic.

Complete self-control is an illusion. Human beings by their very nature are social.
__________________
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John: 9

Last edited by Abba; Jul 13, '12 at 7:18 am.
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  #5  
Old Jul 15, '12, 1:31 pm
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Christmastwin Christmastwin is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

I always refer people to the book Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly known as the Big Book, to get a clear picture of what AA is all about and describes the alcoholic and what we suffer from pretty well (at least this one!).

There's tons of stuff on the Internet about AA (pro and con) but better to get an education on it from the original source.

You can find it at www.aa.org

Who was the priest in Ireland?
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  #6  
Old Jul 15, '12, 6:27 pm
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Abba Abba is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Hello Christmaswin, and welcome to CAF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christmastwin View Post

Who was the priest in Ireland?
Father Matthew:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=603443
__________________
The Sacrament of Reconciliation
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John: 9
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  #7  
Old Jul 16, '12, 3:57 am
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Christmastwin Christmastwin is offline
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Default Re: Control, Alcoholism and Disbelief.

Thank you!
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