Happiness Academy Online

A Blog about Psychology (Jungian), Spirituality and Happiness, By Roberto Lima Netto.

Alcoholism and the need for a spiritual experience

Alcoholism and the need for a spiritual experience

Bill W, co-founder of the AA organization, sent a letter to Jung mentioning “a certain conversation you once had with one of your patients, a Mr. Rowland H., back in the early 1930′s, did play a critical role in the founding of our Fellowship.”

Jung considered the struggle of an alcoholic against dependency to be one with spirit. He called attention that “’alcohol’ in Latin is ‘spiritus,’ the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. Therefore, the helpful formula is: spiritus contra spiritum.

Alcoholism is difficult to get rid of because, as Jung said, the craving for alcohol “is equivalent, on a lower level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language as the union with God.”

Spiritus contra spiritum. That is the basis of the AA philosophy. The twelve steps to recovery require that the alcoholic searching for a cure has to “believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” In other words, we have to meet God.

But how could we get close to God? Saint. Paul’s epiphany occurred in the road to Damascus; Bill W also had a dramatic experience, recounted in Alcoholics Anonymous book. However, a shattering experience is not for everyone. It frequently happens when the person is passing through a difficult period in his life. It is common in episodes of near death, and the person generally turns his life for the better. However, for most persons the conscience of a higher power happens gradually and needs to be grown as a tender plant.

How? Meditation, prayer, conversations with your daemons using Active Imagination, a Jungian method we already discussed in a blog Would you like to talk to your demons?

Roberto Lima Netto believes that our objective in life is to be happy, and that Jungian psychology and Spirituality, his main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. He is the author of several books, including “The Little Prince for Grown-ups”  and  “The Jungian Bible”  that can be found in Amazon. His blog is www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.

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Alcoolismo e espiritualidade

Bill W, co-fundador da organização AA- Alcólicos Anônimos, enviou uma carta a Jung mencionando que “uma conversa de Jung com um de seus pacientes, o Sr. Rowland H., no início dos anos 1930, teve um papel fundamental na fundação da nossa Sociedade.”
Jung considerava que a luta de um alcoólatra contra a sua dependência era na verdade uma luta contra o espírito. Ele chamou a atenção para o fato de que álcool em latim é “spiritus” a mesma palavra para a mais alta experiência religiosa, bem como para o veneno mais depravador. A fórmula útil, portanto, é: spiritus contra spiritum. Jung também disse que o desejo para o álcool do dependente é equivalente, em um nível baixo, a sede espiritual de nosso ser pela totalidade, expressa em linguagem medieval como a união com Deus.”
Spiritus contra spiritum. Esta é a base da filosofia do AA. Os doze passos para arecuperação exige que a busca do dependente pela cura passe por acreditar em um Poder superior que poderia lhe devolver à sanidade. Em outras palavras, temos que encontrar Deus.
Mas como poderíamos chegar perto de Deus? São Paulo na estrada de Damasco teve sua revelação, seu encontro com Deus. Bill W. também teve sua experiência pessoal, narrada no livro Alcoólicos Anônimos. No entanto, uma experiência avassaladora não é para todos, mas acontece frequentemente quando a pessoa passa por um período dramático em sua vida. É comum em episódios de quase morte, e a pessoa afetada geralmente passa a levar uma vida mais equilibrada e mais feliz. No entanto, para a maioria das pessoas a consciência de um poder superior acontece gradualmente, e precisa ser cultivada como uma tenra planta.
Como? Meditação, reza, conversas com seu Self atravéz de Imaginação Ativa, um método junguiano que já discutimos neste blog.

I was involved in the business world, as an executive of large companies and university professor since recently. I was the president CSN, the largest steel-mill of Latin America and was responsible for its turn-around. My first encounter with the teachings of the Swiss psychologist C. G. Jung, one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century, was during my midlife crisis. Reading "Man and his Symbols" at that time, inspired me to go into Jungian analysis and to begin devouring the writings of Jung and his disciples. Since then, I've been studying psychology, especially Jungian psychology and, after reaching my seventies, I decided to become a full time writer, specializing on books on Jungian psychology and psychological thrillers. Every masterpiece of literature can be absorbed through multiple interpretations, and yield powerful insights for our daily lives. My first Jungian book, “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, in its fourth edition in Brazil, was based on the famous book of Saint-Exupéry. The second, - “The Jungian Bible” - interprets some stories of the Old Testament and world myths. As I get older and, with a bit of luck, wiser, I want to pass on to the younger generations the lessons life has taught me. Jesus Christ taught that it was easier to sell ideas with stories. Following the Master, I published in English "The Amazon Shaman" and "In Search of Happiness", two psychological thrillers around the theme of happiness.

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  1. Roberto: Thanks for this excellent blog. It’s meaningful to me that Carl Jung, one of the pioneers of depth psychology, identified addiction as one aspect of a lack of wholeness.
    Synchronistically, I wanted to let you know about a free 4-week Teleseminar Series “The War of the Gods in Addiction” with Jungian analyst David Schoen, based on his book of the same name which starts January 9. This is in conjunction with the free online book club on Depth Psychology Alliance. More details here if anyone is interested: http://www.depthinsights.com/pages/book_club/addiction-jungian-archetypes-schoen-jan2013.html

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