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Battling through Addiction: How the 12 Steps and Enneagram can Help!

Posted Mar 25 2013 10:19pm
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Alcoholism is the chronic, compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages. Many alcoholics persist in drinking copious amounts of alcoholic beverages in spite of tangible downgrades to personal health and interpersonal relationships. According to recent research from the World Health Organization , over 100 million people worldwide have full-blown alcoholism, and many more people are still struggling with alcohol related issues. Alcoholism negatively impacts families and communities, but many alcoholics are oblivious to the personal and interpersonal toll of their addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous began its mission in the 1930s and has maintained the same twofold mission since that time – to help members attain personal sobriety and, secondly, to facilitate others in reaching their sobriety goals. The perseverance that recovering alcoholics gain from Alcoholics Anonymous’ comes from support groups, AA’s 12 Steps and the spiritual emphasis on a higher power.

Alcoholics Anonymous is actually modeled after first century Christianity. The original co-founders of AA bridged the past to the present by emphasizing the clout of belief in a “higher power,” especially as it concerns sobriety. In many ways, the AA concept of a higher power ties into the 12 steps. The first step is admitting that one’s power over alcohol is minimal, and the second step is vouching for a power greater than oneself. Later steps call on one’s higher power to alleviate symptoms and drivers of alcoholism that have proven beyond one’s personal control.

One study even demonstrated that Alcoholics Anonymous’ emphasis on a higher power helped both atheists and agnostics to remain alcohol-free. The study also found a strong connection between AA’s support groups and increased spirituality. Notably, the increased spirituality demonstrated in the study proved to be linked to a decrease in alcohol cravings and alcohol use over time. (2)

The Enneagram is a psychological tool that dates back to Kabbalah and eastern mysticism. The tool became streamlined in the West thanks largely to the work of Oscar Ichazo. The Enneagram itself means “graph of nine” in Greek; the Enneagram incorporates the geometry of a circle, triangle, and hexad. The circle stands for the unity that all points on the Enneagram have to one another, and the triangle and hexad combine to show individual personality differences.

The Enneagram’s underlying goal is quite similar to the AA notion of a higher power. The Enneagram and the AA notion of a higher power are both spiritual tools designed to minimize the role of ego constructs. The Enneagram posits that our childhood psyches underwent a split and defense mechanisms ensued to protect this vulnerability in the psyche. For many alcoholics, alcohol is a crude substitute for the peace of mind or feeling of wholeness that they can’t manufacture without the substance.

The Enneagram and the AA belief in a higher power help people to understand that the walls and defense mechanisms are hurting more than helping in the personal fight to overcome psychological obstacles.

: Jason Harter is an addiction counselor who obtained his degree from one of the  Top 10 Best Online Addiction Counseling Degree Programs
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