To continue with my letter dated 7\1\97 I must clear up a typo my friend Jeff noticed in the small bio I wrote. My sober date is NOT July 1991, but IS rather July 1981. I have been continuously clean and sober 16 years, and not simply 6 years as the typo suggested. I am making use of a spell-checker with this letter :) Well, that cleared up, let's continue.
Thank you Brian, for your interest and warm welcome. I must say I did not expect so quick a reply to my comment just made yesterday! I am quite happy, pleased, and prepared to explain my statements. It is an honor to be in this form, and I accept that this forum is really just a way of sharing between writer and reader, not in itself inherently more difficult than face to face conversation.
Brian, your request for me to explain my intergration of the Gestalt Theory with the practice of the 12 Steps is no small matter, as we can all imagine. Perhaps I can best show the intergration of the two by weaving the common threads from each into a cloth well suited for our purposes at hand.
We accept the goal (if I may) of any gestalt is actually the process itself experienced in that particular way of perception (focus) which defines itself as an insight of the awareness to the structual and functional understanding of the moment the goal is clearly understood as a perceptual field.
We also accept the NOW\THEN of phenomenology to help us experience the now while we examine the possibilities of any then upsetting or blinding the natural perceptions of the now. I say possible because I am quite ready to state that in recovery work, ALL truly addicted (as defined by the practice of the 12 Steps) persons who attempt the discipline of phenomenology with a therapist find themselves constantly telling lies about the truths and vice versa, and that they do so with a complete aware knowledge of either being blind and deaf and dead to the gestalt of the NOW or to the gestalt of the THEN.
It follows then that it is no longer important "what" the person is blind or not blind to, but that what is important is that the addict understand that the blindness is in itself a gestalt, no less or more important then any other gestalt.
Is this clear?! At this point we could use some insight into the structure of an addict as defined by the practice of the 12 Steps.
Step 1 states "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-- that our lives had become unmanageable."
Step 1 is much more then it might appear to be at first glance. Many structures are made manifest with the acceptance of working this Step.
"WE" is a stucture elegantly defined by the simple acceptance of there being more then just I. This simple acceptance empowers the structure of the "we" NOT to find new knowledge BUT to ADMIT what insight the structure, at this point, can readily identify as a gestalt reached and acknowledged. From this then we have "WE admitted WE".
To continue we have "...were powerless over alcohol--". This is easy also because NO addict believes that the "I" in himself/herself was ever powerless over alcohol. But in the "we" field, alcohol has NO existance because me getting drunk does not make us drunk. It follows then that the "we" are IN TRUTH powerless over alcohol because the "I am drunk" does not exist within the field of the "we". The "were" in the statement of admission supports this because it speaks of a THEN, of a past when before the gestalt of the "we", the "I" could never admit to being powerless over alcohol because if it could the whole addiction would never come to be in the first place.
"...that our lives had become unmangeable" is a new gestalt reached by the understanding that the faliure of an agreement with the "we field" had consequences. The "I field" paid the price of a life unmangeable by failing to understand the perception of the lie of powerlessness over alcohol because the truth of being under the influence of alcohol is anything but a feeling of non-power; not turned on; being dead to the wants, needs, and demands of the self-centerd "I" and the practice of selfishness while in the "I field".
To close now, as an addict who practices the 12 Steps, I clearly see the gestalt of my life; of "I" being dead, gone and buried by the gestalt of the "WE", which brings the light of the truth of many to the darkness of the lies of my oneself. I had thought I really was alive when I was drunk, and I loved it dearly, but now I see the truth of the lie, and I NOW love the truth more THEN I ever did the lie.
We are now ready to move on to Step 2. I would appreciate your insight to my comments on Step 1, please Brian, before we continue. I hope I have made enough sense to warrant your response. I look forward to your dialogue.