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ITS A JUNGLE IN HERE, BUT RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE!
Humans need dopamine in order to be intelligent and explore the world. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter
that is responsible for wants, for desires. But, alcoholics and addicts have strange neurotransmitter recepters,
the sites on the nerve cell that allow a nerve cell to responds to a dopamine message, a craving message
released in the form of dopamine by the nerve cell next door. The result is that the addicted and alcoholic
brain responds in a strange way to wants and desires. It tends to have reward deficiency, to never have
enough, to always want more.
The alcoholic and the addict need to stay away from things that trigger these out of control cravings, excessive
eating, gambling, sex, emotional outbursts, drugs, alcohol, etc. Emotions like anger, resentment, fear, self pity.
Gregory Bateson develops an interesting recovery model in his "Steps to An Ecology of Mind." Bateson seems
to be saying that the alcoholic reframes his relationship with the world by developing an "ecology of mind," a
state of mind in which he gets himself down to normal size and stops trying to be "God."
Bateson does not discuss neurotransmitters, but, the states of mind associated with this new ecology,
"surrender," "acceptance," "gratitude," "realism," "humility," might tend to increase the amounts of the calming
neurotransmitter serotonin and decrease dopamine, calming cravings, reducing the need to have, to want, to
grasp, to obtain more and more.
Now lets talk about steps. In recovery the 1st step, powerless over drugs, alcohol, codependence, addiction, it
is the step that is totally selfish, must be worked perfectly, is the step where you get to have fears and
resentments, it is the only step where you need to THINK THINK THINK (before you drink, drug, etc.).
The other steps are progressively more and more unselfish, simple, out of your head and into your hands and
heart and feet. The second step is a search for what you believe made you, provides for you. This can be
good old Bateson's "Ecology of Mind." It can be a holistic view of life that makes everything Win-Win rather
than a losing game. It can be the Dharma (the law of the good) of Buddhism or the Nous (Infinite Mind) of
Neoplatonism, or God as Jesus, or Allah, or, or, or. It can even be the highest highest higher power that you
happen to run across today. The point is that it isn't you. Whatever, you are no longer god and drugs and
alcohol and people and addiction are no longer gods. You drop the insanity of your devotion to these false
idols. These higher steps require that you get GAS, if they are going to succeed. When a step works you
should get GRATITUDE, ACCEPTANCE, and SURRENDER to some kind of higher good, more complete
WIN-WIN, higher truth, larger circle, deeper meaning.
Refer to Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Ballantine, 1972
I am 22 years clean and sober in AA, NA, Alanon, SLAA, Naranon,
ACOA, etc. They call me acronym Allan. The acronym is GROWTH
G=Go to meetings, R=Read the Literature, O=One Day at time, don't
drink, use, etc, W=Work Steps, T=Talk to Sponsor, H=Help Others!