from an alcoholic family, had my own problems with alcohol, married an alcoholic.
i believe God helped me to no longer desire alcohol. i have been told by
counselor that i am codependent and should go to al-anon. have been for awhile
but cant seem to stick with it. what do you think of aa and al-anon? i was
born and raised catholic and know it is the true church. i have been trying
to do Gods will for years and years now. some of the aa and alanon seem catholic,
and some of it seems anti-christian. i very much agree with what you say
though i havent read it all, i think God led me to it. my husband is drinking
again and is physically addicted but not violent. his daughter has a lot
of problems. i just want to help people. do you think al-anon is okay? the
catholic church seems to say aa and alanon are okay but i still dont
lcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups
and Al-Anon groups for the family of an alcoholic can be useful to a large
extent. The problem is that these groups simply offer a watered-down, secular
version of Christianity, and many people who dont really know what
religion is make such groups into their own
religion. Therefore, as you have seen, some meetings are as far
from Christianity as hell is from
The truth is, if people lived
the Catholic faith as it is
supposed to be lived (that is, with as much conviction
as AA members have for their groups), there wouldnt be any problems
with addictions in the first place.
Core and Strength
core of any addiction involving intoxication
or euphoria is your feeling so deprived of your primal
desiretrue love from your
especially through the lack of your fatherand
so angry about it, that you use the addiction to
hide (i.e., deny) the stain of the anger. Thus you settle for
any satisfaction of intense excitementand then, because the intensity
of the satisfaction is, according to its own materialism, short-lived, you
crave it more and more, over and over. And all of this is an unconscious
way to avoid giving to others the true love that, despite your craving
for it, you secretly fear.
If a father fails
in his role as a proper father, for reasons described
elsewhere, then he will also fail in his duty to
separate the child from its infantile dependence on the mother. In sadness
and anger at this loss, the child can then return to the mother unconsciously,
thus setting up the dynamic of an addiction.
a substance (e.g., alcohol, drugs, food) can therefore serve the unconscious
purpose of numbing the pain of the loss of the fathers guidance and
draw their strength from your lack of
trust in God. When you lack trust in God, and when despair is therefore the
unconscious essence of your life, then nothing in you can stand up to the
overwhelming urge for momentary pleasure and say, Wait! This isnt
Therefore, any addiction is in
itself proof that you are preoccupied with the immediate sensory gratification
of your own bodydesiring to escape the demands
of personal responsibilities and return to an idyllic
infantile feeling of care-free blissas a
psychological defense against your lack
of belief in something greater than your own
And what could this something greater than your own body be?
Simple. Its the Body and Blood of Christ. When you have the Body of
Christwhich is faithand the Blood of
Christwhich is lovethere is nothing
you lack. The entire meaning of life is mystically embodied in the
To be honest, however, I will
admit that AA offers something in which the Catholic Church often fails:
intense social support in avoiding specific behaviors. People go to AA meetings
because each meeting focuses on doing whatever it takes to avoid alcohol.
If bishops and priests could preach about living a genuine
holy lifestyle the way AA preaches
about day-to-day life without alcohol, the Church wouldnt be in the
mess its in today.
that some persons have a genetic predisposition (a) to craving alcohol as
a defense against emotional vulnerability or
(b) to becoming addicted to alcohol once it is used as such a defense. And
once addicted, such persons can be subjected to changes in body chemistry
that are beyond their control.
Still, if alcoholism is a disease, its an unusual one. A person with
cancer, for example, cant just wake up one morning and say, You
know, Im sick of this illness. Today Im going to stop having
cancer. And yet an alcoholic has to do almost precisely that. He or
she has to say, Today Im going to stop drinking. And if I cant
do it myself, I will get into a treatment program that will force me to stop
drinking. In other words, treatment for alcoholism is behavioral. If
youre an alcoholic, your behavior has to change. You have to stop drinking.
And, once you get clean and sober, you might have to refrain from drinking
thereafter. Its all a matter of your personal
responsibility, regardless of genetics or brain
The True Catholic
To approach your problem from
a true Catholic perspective, then, it will be necessary to confront the fact
that unless you thirst for Christand the living water he offersmore
than any pleasure in this world, you can never be
healed from your childhood emotional
Overcoming an addiction to any
substance, therefore, is not a matter of constantly resisting the
substance, its simply a matter of understanding that, compared to Christ,
any substance (when used as a psychological defense) is about as
desirable as putrid, muddy water.
My love so delights
the soul that it destroys every other joy which can be expressed by man here
below. The taste of Me extinguishes every other taste . . .
as told to Saint Catherine
Spiritual Doctrine, Part III, Chapter VII
is a matter of someone enabling (e.g., making excuses for, or lying
for) someone whose social life is crumbling because of an addiction. The
sad truth is that whenever you have too much to lose to take
up the cross and be honest about the addicts behavior, then you are
essentially as dependent on the addiction as the addict.
You can overcome your tendency
to co-dependence by placing your dependence totally on Christ, not on the
affection or attention of another person.
father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son
or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up
his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Therefore, if you are truly willing
to overcome the fear of taking up your cross and
dying to yourself, and if you live this truth
in your heart, you will have all the strength you need to cope with an addict
in your midst. Remember, Christ will never abandon you: I will not leave
you orphans (John 14:18). Secure in this knowledge, you can
witness the truth to others without being paralyzed
by the fear that they might abandon you. And bye-bye
1. True love is not just a matter of food and
shelter. True love is a process of givingnot the giving of material
things that merely bribe others to like us, but the giving of qualities such
as patience, kindness, compassion, understanding, mercy, forbearance, and
forgiveness, qualities whose ultimate purpose is the salvation of other souls.
If your childhood was not grounded in these noble values, such that you grew
up with a pure and humble faith in God, thensad to sayyour parents
did not love you.
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3. Here we can see the role that a
fathers lack plays in an addiction. Trust
requires that the child grow to depend on and respect the father as a teacher
and protector, through his being different from the mother from whom the
child originated; that is, the father is a different body and a
different gender from the mother. The fatherand only a
fathercan therefore teach the child to enter the world and encounter
difference safely and confidently. But if your father is lacking,
you will grow up lacking trust in anything other than your own immediate
And if your father failed in his duty and left you
emotionally crippled, then how do you remedy the mess youre in now?
Well, you surrender to the spiritual healing process
and pray earnestly for Christ to lead you to God the Father.