To Leslie – Film Review

By Matt Zoller Seitz Leslie isn’t circling the bottom of the drain yet, but she’s sunk pretty low.  We first meet the title character of “To Leslie” (Andrea Riseborough) in an opening credits montage of photos showing what life was like before. Leslie got married, had a son, won $190,000 in a lottery and then burned through it all. The main […]

A Daily Reprieve Contingent on the Maintenance of Our Spiritual Condition

By Dr Wendy Dossett Beliefs and emotions are commonly accepted features of spirituality, but spirituality also includes ‘disciplines’ and ‘practices’. While ‘professional’ language and the ‘spiritual’ practices of 12-Step recovery may be framed differently, they are not substantively different discourses. In setting the ‘spiritual programme’ of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) alongside the evidence for AA’s mechanisms […]

Is Addiction A Chronic and Progressive Illness?

By Steve K. The medical view of addiction suggests it’s a chronic and progressive ‘brain disease’ which requires treatment. In using the term chronic, I mean long-term and incurable. “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.”  American Society of Addiction Medicine. (1) This view is supported by Alcoholics Anonymous […]

Addiction and The Divided Self

By Steve K. Human Beings are complex and the nature of our minds and behaviour is in many respects still mysterious despite all the resources of 21st century science. Although much has been learned by modern science about addiction it’s still a controversial topic among many experts in the field, e.g., brain disease vs maladaptive […]

What Is Emotional Sobriety?

By Steve K. Emotional Sobriety: a combination of emotional balance, emotional autonomy, and emotional maturity. Definition of emotional sobriety by Dr Allen Berger… “Emotional sobriety is a mental state in which we know longer react to our changing emotions as though they were the governing facts of our lives. This mental state is made possible […]

Renouncing Addictive Behaviour

The following excerpt is adapted from the book ‘Higher and Friendly Powers – Transforming Addiction and Suffering’ (1) by Peg O’Connor. ‘Renouncing addiction to alcohol or other substances and behaviour excludes hedging one’s bets. One cannot both become a new person and hold onto old ways of doing and being. Nor can a person genuinely […]

12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety – A Book Summary.

By Steve K. I have recently read psychotherapist Dr Allen Berger’s latest book ‘12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety’, which offers a comprehensive interpretation of the various characteristics that comprise the concept of emotional sobriety. According to Dr Berger, the phrase emotional sobriety was first coined by Bill Wilson, one of the cofounders of Alcoholics […]

A Psychodynamic View of Addiction

By Steve K. I recently spent some time listening to someone who suffers from an alcohol use disorder describing their internal struggle, triggered by anxiety and stress, that takes place before they start drinking again after a period of abstinence. As they were describing their experience Freud’s model of personality came to mind, which is […]

Authentic Pride Vs False-Pride

The literature of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) considers pride to be a singularly bad thing. The main texts (Big Book and 12 & 12) repeatedly describe it as a negative character trait and suggest that it represents an over inflated ego and self-absorbed personality. This picture of pride is no doubt influenced by the Christian tradition […]

An Atheist at Alcoholics Anonymous

The following essay is a powerful and articulate personal story of addiction and recovery by Frank B, an atheist who found sobriety and salvation in AA through human love and compassion. Although ‘spirituality is central to the Twelve Step programme….  [Frank] discovered that even the godless can be saved.’ (1) His story was originally published in […]