Do you have a longing? A quiet grief? An unanswered call?

Old 04-19-2015, 07:24 AM
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Back to the topic (along with mecanix).

A longing? A quiet grief? An unanswered call?

Yes, on all three counts. And I handled them in the worst way possible: drinking.

Sobriety doesn't come with a "fulfillment guaranteed" card. But it does open doors, for which I am so very grateful.
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by FreeOwl View Post
MI... I agree that the power greater than ourselves is important....

I just believe that the power greater than ourselves isn't the whole shooting match.

The power deep within ourselves is equally important and too often overlooked by many spiritual' paths.

I believe our soul's wisdom is of and part of spirit's - and to deny or ignore our inner selves, placing all our importance on 'our higher power' leaves us wounded and grieving.
I personally believe the path to our inner soul is through our higher power. I have proved to myself countless times that I am the problem not the solution.

We all have to find our way but I believe I have found a path that works for me. I had to go outside myself to go into myself
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by FreeOwl View Post

I powerfully relate to this and have felt for a very long time some fundamental misalignment, loneliness, grief - which I increasingly associate with my own unanswered call. My soul wound.
Deepak would probably answer by saying, "Meditate. Meditate. Meditate"
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:21 AM
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So I don't want to use the G word and offend people......but for me that what fills the emptiness. Perhaps we can agree more on a spiritual nature that fills us the void and provides hope.

Hope to me is the journey of or for happiness - as long as there is hope which keeps us in pursuit of whatever we are guided towards there is peace for me. Just look at my current avatar!! Want to take about hope = faith!!!

Go Cubs...
Good stuff FO
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by FreeOwl View Post
One aspect of addiction not covered much in the rooms, the recovery literature or even here in personal experiences - is the call of the soul.

Depth psychology - and many poets and nature-based cultures - suggest that a major cause of addiction is the unanswered call.

In this modern world, so much time and attention is given to ego-based pursuits of the game of life.... That some say it is a sickness of society itself which drives addiction.

I powerfully relate to this and have felt for a very long time some fundamental misalignment, loneliness, grief - which I increasingly associate with my own unanswered call. My soul wound.

I wonder if there are others whose experience of addiction and recovery includes this theme?
FOR ME, the 3 most powerful words "Unsuspected Inner Resource"
facilitated MY recovery. The words are from the text Alcoholics Anonymous on Page 569 3rd Edition in the section titled Spiritual Experience.

The AA text also reads that alcoholism is a Spiritual Malady.

There's scientific evidence indicating that a chemical imbalance is the cause of the high rate of alcoholism among indigenous cultures, e.g. Australia, North America, Africa, etc. What's rarely addressed are the effects of genocide of indigenous cultures by various Christian European colonial powers such as the Spanish and British empires. I believe that the enslavement of indigenous people of Australia and North America where by law were forbidden to practice their culture / religion caused a Spiritual Malady.

Could it be that whether one is abstinent or not, that this is a description of the Spiritual Malady? "Negative feelings and emotions, remorse, guilt, shame, shattered self-esteem, self-doubt, self-loathing; loneliness, alienation, apartness, isolation, depression and feelings of hopelessness, futility and a pervasive sense of meaninglessness of life."
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:02 AM
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oh boy, this is starting to get good...

Do you ever wonder... There are fish in the river below the dam. One day the dam breaks and the fish are washed out violently and tossed upon the dry land to whither and die. Just before the fish dies it thinks, "I guess this was meant to be." Maybe?

Since this has already gotten off track - dog pile on the rabbit time.

When I first read this - before the interlopers joined in with 'out there' ideas - what came to mind was the lumberjack sketch. I didn't wish to demean this thread. But I think it's appropriate now. If to only prove a point. Because, yes, some of us ended up in places not intended for us or by chance or by just settling because it was expected to get a job and support a family and become a part of "society". A regular taxpaying citizen who goes into debt for a home because it is the expected norm - not unlike indentured servitude. And after a few years of this many figure, what's it all about. Is this it? Is this all there is? Some have the means to get out. Most just go along with the flow and survive life. And many others drink as they feel it is their only solace.

So without further adieu:

Then someone comes along and talks about leaving society, civilization, and living an anarchistic kind of life. Pack it in and become a mountain man?
Here's a video response to that:

ain't youtube great?

So yes, if I could go back and do it all over again would I be where I am today? No. Unfortunately we don't have a 'way back' machine to go set things right. We must play the hand we are dealt. It doesn't matter how we got the cards (were they dealt from the bottom of the deck or are there cards missing?) we have to play the cards we are holding today. We can try to get better cards as the game goes on if we wish. Or we can stand pat.
I won't even get into the "chaos speech" by the character played by Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.
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Old 04-19-2015, 11:36 AM
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I am not now , nor do I ever want to be a hunter or gatherer, I love being a go to the store and getterer. I say a silent thank you prayer to the gods of electricity from my perch on my bit of indoor plumbing daily. If some self- engaged indentured servitude is the cost , so be it ,glad to pay.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:10 PM
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Yes FreeOwl, depth psychology addresses this issue. Below is a quote from Carl Jung's letter to Jung's to Bill Wilson.

"His (Rowland W.'s) craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.

How could one formulate such an insight in a language that is not misunderstood in our days?

The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to higher understanding. You might be led to that goal by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism."
Carl Jung's letter to Bill Wilson, 1961

Jung suggests a solution to alcoholism which involves an understanding which is beyond rationalism. Regrettably, some never get past it's confines in any meaningful way. It seems to me that you have an understanding of the basic need most of us have to appreciate something more.

In Bill's second letter to Jung (only parts of which have ever been disclosed) Bill refers to Jung's book "Modern Man in Search of a Soul". If you have not seen it you might want take a look.

All the best in your search.
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:40 PM
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I wasn't aware of either of these, thank you!
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Old 04-19-2015, 01:59 PM
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Is there a book or other reference of correspondence between Jung and Bill W.? I'd definitely like to read more of that if so.
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Old 04-19-2015, 02:54 PM
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Bill's initial letter to Jung. Bill Wilson's Letter To Dr. Carl Jung , Jan 23, 1961

Jung's reply to Bill.

The second letter from Bill to Carl Jung has never been released in its entirety by the New York AA archives (where it resides). If I remember correctly parts of it are quoted in "Pass it on" along with a discussion of the correspondence.

aahistorylovers site has had several discussions of this also. Here is one. https://groups.*****.com/neo/groups/...ns/topics/7706
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:17 PM
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This theme has been prevalent pretty much throughout my life, but in a bit different way. I think I am so sensitive to this whole "longing" and "calling" area that it led to actually the opposite of what you describe as "unanswered calls" -- a sometimes obsessive pursuit of meaning and purpose in everything, and an often equally compulsive desire to follow these inspirations, or calls. I have been this way as far as I recall since childhood, and interestingly, what "gave me a break" from it was the period of active addiction, when I was drinking very heavily and isolated a lot. Of course not surprising: I think what happened was that my alcoholism and cravings for the effects of alcohol managed to override most natural motivations and rewarding experiences. I was actually quite afraid that I would not regain "myself" after getting sober and was struggling with existential issues off and on pretty much in the whole first year of my sobriety. It finally evened out and more or less dissipated (for a while? who knows) so I am quite happy to have my familiar internal drive, inspiration, and strong motivation to follow my heart back. It was a serious form of torture for me to lose this especially during the last ~2 years of my drinking career. Like, nothing seemed familiar anymore, and not in a good, exciting novelty sense. Definitely a sort of spiritual death for me, a truly painful one and alcohol of course could never serve as a substitute and in the end my drinking habit just amplified the longing. I don't enjoy the kind of often romanticized longing for the unavailable, it is actually disturbing for me, exactly because when I am sober and mentally in a good place, I usually have a quite steady inner drive and pragmatic attitude to pursue my interests. Losing that in the world of active alcoholism was pretty much losing myself for me, and not in the positive kind of "ego death" way that people often describe in association with spiritual experiences.

The area of my life I'm not exactly satisfied with these days is my personal life, but I am working on it and am determined to turn that around as well.

I do really understand these concerns. I think for some of us, it's most natural to know (and if we don't know, figure out) what we like and how we want to do it... and for others, it's not an easy problem at all but may easily lead to seeking substitutes, such as mind altering substances. For me, I think it can turn excessive in such a way that while I do typically have a very strong sense of purpose, sometimes it clearly wasn't enough and I was seeking "fulfillment" in all the wrong ways as well.
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:46 PM
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Those are some great pieces of history and draw some important connections for me.... Thanks!

'Spritus contra spiritum!' I dig it.

So true.
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:39 PM
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I understand this longing. I'm starting to see that for me, my attachment to alcohol was just one manifestation of a much greater dis-ease. Since abstaining from alcohol it has sought similar expression in food, coffee and religion. As I systematically reign in those areas, my way is getting increasingly difficult as I'm forcing the underlying dis-ease to surface.

It's a bit grim for me right now. I deal with feeling angry, irritated and unfulfilled. I am selfish, ego-driven and want a life of security, comfort and ease wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of "spirituality lite" and positive psychology.

As I move forward into this, AA (at least the way I've been doing it) feels like a prescriptive, paint-by-number canvas that seems superficial. Religious doctrine, dogma and practice are becoming kind of meaningless. Maybe where I'm at is where they are supposed to be taking me. I get the sense that they are just symbolic fingers pointing to a deeper and more fundamental spiritual reality.

All I really know to do now is to sit in silence and patience and have faith that this is the painful part of spiritual growth. There are short stretches where I'm able to let go and have direct experience of God deep within myself. At these times I find that prayer becomes less of an outward exercise of words but more silent contemplation and inner communion.

This is not easy stuff to do. Thanks for this timely post.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:02 PM
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My first month sober, I cried.

Second month sober, I tried to just keep busy--physically and mentally.

Third month sober, I had an emotional breakdown and a spiritual awakening.

Fourth month sober, my gravitational pull has been to return to my roots, the person I was before alcohol entered my life. To find my purpose, fulfill what makes me happy and live and love life.

Honestly, I have never felt better in my life.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:09 PM
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I've always been a bit of a "lost soul" when it comes to life, not sure where I'm supposed to be, not really tied to anything, my life doesn't contain a wife and kids, no significant other at the moment, so I always think if I died tonight there wouldn't be any consequence.

That line of thinking used to perpetuate my drinking, there was nothing to live for, to get Sober I needed to find a reason and that reason was me, happiness is not something I think about much, but contentment and building a life to be proud of those are my goals these days, sitting back at the end of the day and being able to think, "I'm doing alright"!!

My soul? I'm not even sure what that is either, I don't have any faith or system of belief that I follow, which I think makes things difficult, because the thoughts of what are we here for can get out of hand if I don't keep them in check!!
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:13 PM
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Maybe so but I don't blame it on anything or anyone.

As they say, nobody ever held me down so as to pour booze down my throat.

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Old 04-19-2015, 05:31 PM
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I can relate to suzieq above. I experienced a LOT of emotional turmoil in early sobriety.

Alcohol became a problem during a kind of existential/spiritual midlife crisis. I realized I had lost sight of my passions, lost touch with spirituality, and settled for a career that doesn't meet my needs.

Through meditation and creativity, I'm reigniting my passions, developing my spirituality, and though I'm still settling for an unfulfilling job, there is light at the end of the tunnel (called retirement and new pursuits).

I'm gonna be a geriatric punk rock icon. Ha!
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mountainmanbob View Post
Maybe so but I don't blame it on anything or anyone. As they say, nobody ever held me down so as to pour booze down my throat. Mountainman
Nor do I.... My enquiry here isn't about blame, just wondering whether there is a common soul ache amongst we who struggle with addiction that perhaps isn't just God, just steps, just 'not drinking' - but something deep within us, unique to each of us yet the same.....
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Old 04-19-2015, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by FreeOwl View Post
Nor do I.... My enquiry here isn't about blame, just wondering whether there is a common soul ache amongst we who struggle with addiction that perhaps isn't just God, just steps, just 'not drinking' - but something deep within us, unique to each of us yet the same.....
I hear you, Free.
Sometimes I think the 'soul ache' is common to all humans....addict or not. Maybe we just feel it more deeply....I don't know.
I do know that my ache is less and less the more I grow in my sobriety. I think that's because I am now living a life more in line with my true self....I'm not at such great odds with myself anymore. I have inner peace and that is an incredible balm for the soul.
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