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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in alcoholism

One of the main signifiers of many Pagan traditions are the way in which they seek to reframe the material and specifically the body as holy and sacred.  Unlike other religions which might cast the affairs of the flesh as sinful or of a base nature, Pagan traditions seek to break up these associations and honor things like sex, desire, and pleasure. Many traditions today still do their rites naked, as a way of proclaiming their freedom from the slavery of shame modern society places on the body. 

I will just put this out there:  I struggle with this embrace of the body, and I suspect my history as an addict and an alcoholic play no little part in this.  Addicts and Alcoholics historically have problematic relationships with our bodies.  Our addictions are embodied obsessions.  We experience them as physical cravings that crawl through our nervous system, scrambling our brains ability to think clearly or cogently.  The fierce need to experience pleasure becomes a thirst that drowns out all other concerns, a strong steady drumbeat that gets louder and more insistent until you finally feed it.  I’ve often experienced my body as a prison, a needy demanding egocentric organism that keeps my spirit-which in my ignorance I think is my TRUE self-- from being truly free.  

It is difficult for me to trust my body.  My body seems designed to deceive me.  Its way of reacting to sugar, sleep, caffeine, or anything else that can even slightly alter my mood or mind is quite startling.  Pretty much immediately upon experiencing it, my body will flood me with hormones and chemicals demanding more, more MORE!!! I wonder where this leaves me when it comes to that famous in the Charge of the Goddess, “All Acts of Love and Pleasure Are My Rituals.” What does that mean for someone who has a sex and love addiction?  For whom the experience of love and sex is dangerous and pathological?  What does that mean for someone that has a complicated relationship with pleasure, a person for whom pleasure can cause a series of binges and non-sober behavior?

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  • Alay'nya
    Alay'nya says #
    You've written an amazing and thought-provoking blogpost, Hope, and I'm so glad you've given this topic so much depth - and have s
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Thank you for your wise words.
  • Taylor Ellwood
    Taylor Ellwood says #
    Good article. I find that this rings true and that its something not overtly addressed in general.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 “Made the decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous


“We now honor our connection with the divine, as we understand it, and we accept the process of change.” Step Three of The Spiral Steps

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  • Patrick Califia
    Patrick Califia says #
    I wanted to thank you for this whole series. I have been struggling in a 12-step program in the Deep South. I am the only pagan. M
  • Melanie Swaim
    Melanie Swaim says #
    Thank you. You said a lot of great things here and in your column. I really appreciate the insight that this is about there bein
  • Melanie Swaim
    Melanie Swaim says #
    This is where I am with this process. I am struggling to know how much of my will, choices, etc. is given over to a Higher Power.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Step Two- We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

The First Step leaves us in a terrible position.  We are utterly beyond human assistance. Our lives are unmanageable no matter what we do.  We will never be able to control our drinking.  Certainly this is a stance of hopelessness. 

Many alcoholics or addicts will say “I worked the First Step long before I came into the program.”  This means that they spent many years well aware of the hopelessness of their situations while still in active addiction. This was my experience as well.  I was in terrible pain, and knew my lifestyle was unbearable and untenable, but I could not envision a way to live that did not include alcohol and drugs to numb the anxiety and panic that swelled up to swallow me whenever I was sober.  I had to stop, but how?

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  • Hope M.
    Hope M. says #
    What a beautiful story, Brian, and I thank you for sharing it. Your experience in understanding a Higher Power as a non-divine en
  • Brian Nelsen
    Brian Nelsen says #
    I have come to really identify with the term "Higher Power". When I found out my son was a drug addict I was first shocked and co
  • gary c. e.
    gary c. e. says #
    hi again and again, let me say the 12 step program in not a silver bullet (not that you were saying that), and it is not for ever

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