Beginning With Fire
The Story of Addiction, Human Nature, and Evolution
Sobriety is all about moving through pain, to fulfillment of longings.
Why use the word “resolution” to describe sobriety? Because the word “recovery” suggests regaining something we once had. In the case of a disease, for example, once the disease is cured we are restored to a prior state of health. But the disease construct is not our model here. We’ve seen above how a misplaced trust in control leads to the downward spiral of addiction. Sobriety, then, is about resolving — literally, re-solving — the problem of self which had seemed to be brilliantly solved by strategies of control during the enchantment phase of the addictive process. In sobriety we relocate our trust through a process of healing and growth involving five stages, or levels. This is not recovery, a return to old familiar ground, but rather discovery; an ongoing odyssey into the three perennial mysteries of self, of choice — and of love.
This section also introduces us to AA, described by its co-founder as “an utter simplicity which encases a complete mystery.” We find that the familiar association of AA with the disease label is more atavistic than essential, and that AA has a great deal to teach us about the re-solving process. AA is not the only possible road to sobriety. It is, however, widely traveled, well known — and especially instructive for our purposes in this book.