The Monster Under the Bed

Is it odd that Alcohol Explained is such a practical and pragmatic book, and yet I will still read a book of pure fiction, maybe a horror story, with a part of me (and not a small part either) believing every single word of it. If not believing it in actuality, then at least totally accepting its potential to be true?

I don’t think so. I am a genuine believer that there is far more in heaven and earth then is dreamt of in the usual, scientific human philosophy as it currently stands. That’s not just faith either, it’s just common sense. The universe is far bigger than we can comprehend. Sure, people will tell you they can work out the dimensions of it, but can they really comprehend the vast distances involved? Can anyone really comprehend the millions of years it has taken for life to evolve on this planet? To think that we have a good basic understanding of how things work just isn’t a viable proposition.

But the thing is that I always want to understand everything. I look for practical solutions. I’m not alone in this, I don’t even think I’m unusual or rare in this. I think seeking understanding is a basic human trait.

If someone tells me a tale about a monster that hides under my bed a part of me believes it, or more accurately believes that it has the potential to be true. So if a wake up to hear rustling under my bed I want to check it out, I want to see what it is. And if I look under there and see a piece of tissue paper fluttering in the summer breeze from the open window, then I know there is no monster. But that doesn’t mean I no longer believe that there is the potential for there to be one.

When I first encountered addiction on a personal lever I didn’t understand it. I was prepared to believe a higher power could help me, I was open minded and looked to understand it, and if that meant a spiritual aspect then so be it. I looked under the bed if you like. What I saw wasn’t anything as simple as a tissue fluttering in the breeze, it was far more convoluted than that, but I still saw a practical reason for it. I saw a way to understand it, every aspect of it, without having to go outside our practical, pragmatic, human understanding of the world.

Isn’t constantly seeking to understand everything robbing the world of its wonder? I would say two things to this. Firstly even if it is there is nothing I can do about it. I can no more stop myself from seeking a practical understanding of something than I could stop myself blinking when dust gets blown into my face. I was at a ball before Christmas and there was a magician doing the rounds. I love magicians but when I watch them I am always trying to work out how they do their tricks.

Secondly there is no wonder in addiction, only misery. Addiction isn’t like enjoying the wonder of the magician, it is like the magician demonstrating his power and then using it to make you do terrible things out of fear. Imagine a magician that was real, who could kill or maim with a wave of his hand. Imagine he told you to leave your family without a word, never explaining who you left, or he would maim or kill them. Would you go, even though you knew it would hurt them desperately for you to go, that for the rest of their lives they would wonder why you left and believing you no longer loved them even though they were the most precious and wonderful things in your whole universe? Of course you would, you would have to.

But imagine if someone could explain to you that this magician was not magic at all, that all his tricks were just that, clever illusions, that he had no power or control over you at all? Well that would be very different wouldn’t it? You’d be free. You could ignore him and get on with your life, knowing he was just a pathetic old man with a few clever tricks up his sleeve, tricks that could no longer leave you in awe now you understood them.

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7 Responses

  1. Yes, we need to leave our capacity for wonder to the things that cannot be explained – not the things we can. And you have explained Alcohol very well. It is ironic that AA explains insists a person with an addiction admit ‘powerlessness’ when in so many cases people who turn to their addictive substances and behaviours do so because they have been robbed of power in their life. They have been abused or overpowered by someone or something in life and turn to their addiction for freedom.
    I used to say to myself that all “magic comes with a price” when thinking about alcohol. The effects were magical (feel good, problems disappear) but the price was expensive (hangover, more problems, and craving for more alcohol). It’s not magic though is it. It’s a drug – a simple, explainable and detrimental drug that CAUSES (not just linked to ) cancer, addiction and accidents and trauma. There is no mystery, this is fact.
    The wonder and unexplained is in the human brain and the evolution of our society. We seem to crave pain, struggle and war. We create these situations for ourselves by hurting each other so we can dig deep, learn lessons, rise up and experience being human. How can we have this wonderful human experience without have to repeat these patterns?
    Books like yours I suppose are a very good start –
    Thanks for another great post!

  2. I just read the first five chapters to your book and I’m anxious to get the book and read the rest. I’m a member of AA and owe my life to the program but in my opinion your book breaks down alcoholism in the truest manner. As we have learned about addiction and the brain this is it folks. This is it. Alcohol Explained explains it. Simple truth. Once you get it, you can beat it. Just like Allen Carr’s “Easy Way to Stop Smoking”. It told the truth about the addiction to cigarettes and what was happening in our brain and why we craved and there it was. Knowledge. Power. The ability to see it for what it was and beat it!

  3. Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a top notch article…
    but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

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William Porter

William wrote Alcohol Explained to share his approach on recovering from alcohol dependency.

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Alcohol Explained

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