The important message conveyed through Jung’s treatment of Roland, set out on pages 26-28 of the ‘Big Book’ of Alcoholics Anonymous, contains the following description of what seems (in Jung’s view) to happen to individual alcoholics who undergo profound psychological changes as a result of a spiritual (or religious) awakening:
“Ideas, emotions and attitudes which were the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and new conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.”
|Carl G. Jung
In his reply to Bill’s letter of acknowledgment (copied, below), Jung outlined the basic reason why an alcoholic drinks, a reason that, of course, underlies the effectiveness of the spiritual solution found in A.A. Making an intuitive observation, Jung noted that: “His craving for alcohol was on a low level the thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval terms: the union with God.” Thus, Jung’s conclusion that a real and effective spiritual or religious experience could aid the individual in overcoming alcoholic addiction.
However, Jung warned: “The only right and legitimate way to such an experience (i.e., the non-dualistic union with God) is, that it happens to you in reality, and that it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to higher understanding. You might be led to that goal,” he observed, “by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism.”