The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to alcoholism as a sort of “insanity”. Step one asks us to admit to our powerlessness over the insanity of alcoholism, recognizing that we have lost manageability in our lives. Then, step two asks us to come into belief regarding the power of something greater than ourselves. Specifically, it asks us to believe that ‘power’ could restore us to sanity. “There is a Solution”, claims the book, and that solution is a spiritual and psychic change.
At first, it is a lot to handle. In the immediate aftermath of consistent drinking and using, conceptualizing a spiritual healing at the hands of God might sound insane in itself. Breaking down this process one piece at a time can bring clarity and transformational psychic change.
“Insanity” is defined as being “not of sound mind” or “mentally deranged”. The insane mind is one that is no longer healthy and has lost its way. Alcoholism and addiction are illnesses of the mind, body and spirit. Since the mind is the control center for all things, including how one regards their spiritual soul self, an unsound mind would be problematic. Alcohol and addictive drugs change the functioning of the brain on a cellular level. To be mentally “arranged” would mean that the inner systems of the mind are in proper order.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that communicates pleasure and reward. It has a specific place, volume, and production rate which helps keep the brain in balance. Addictive substances create a surplus of dopamine, throwing everything out of order. For example, on the totem pole of survival functions, managed by the midbrain, alcohol rises to the top above sleeping and eating. Rather than staying “arranged,” the mind quite literally becomes “deranged”.
The “sane” mind is defined as being healthy and sound, “free from mental derangement”. Many of us tried to get and stay sober many different times. Neither our worst ideas nor our best ideas seemed to work. To be free from the mental derangement of addiction, we had to seek guidance from a power who has greater capabilities and ideas than ours. It only makes sense. Vulnerable, desperate, and in need of guidance, we can easily see for the first time that we cannot do this on our own.
You do not have to do this alone.