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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alcoholism and Addiction: A Transpersonal View

"(The) craving for alcohol (is) on a low level the thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: union with God."

(Carl Jung to Bill Wilson, letter dated January 30, 1961.)
In the attached must-see video, noted transpersonal psychologist, Christina Grof (author of "The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path") shares her insights on the spiritual crises underlying alcoholism and addiction, as well as the insights she garnered from her own descent into alcoholism after she had already established herself as a successful psychotherapist and a noted "spiritual teacher".

Ms. Grof's story brings to mind that of the person "full of faith but still reeking of alcohol," and she tackles this issue, as well as issues about powerlessness and those revolving around the personal crises that evolve well into sobriety when repressed or forgotten incidents, often from far into childhood, emerge.

Speaking about the irony that alcohol and other drugs brings about what she calls "a pseudo-mystical experience," and tipping her hat to William James and Bill Wilson, Grof notes that "addicts and alcoholics are seekers," and that "they want to know about the mysteries of God and life, but they make the mistake of looking in the wrong places."

"Unless the spiritual aspect of addiction and alcoholism is addressed," she notes, "the quality of recovery is really limited."

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