Jung and 12 step recovery

A friend of mine was discussion a project she had in a literature class about the Nightingale, where she had to find High Theorists.  I don’t know what that means, but I got wondering what, if any, is the supposed link between 12 step recovery and Jung.

One story is that Jung corresponded with someone about the principles of recovery and he thought they weren’t terrible or something.

I do think recovery is an interesting application of archetypes.  One of the central stories of recovery is the allegory of the director.  It describes a stage production in which the self is trying to run everything and making a muck of it.  The object is to recognize God as the proper director of the production (life) and to not try to manage everything ourselves.  It reveals the astonishing truth that in their hearts, addicts are perfectionists with heroic responsibilities, rather than the dissolute children the appear to be.

The assumes another Jungian principle, which is the primacy of religious experience.  Though as with the “God gene” it can be argued for either side whether this suggests something natural or supernatural.

But I’m not sure whether individuation, another Jungian buzzword, is important to 12 step recovery generally or only in my own path.  My own experience in wondering whether I would exist if I were subsumed in the will of God, having it revealed to me that my true existence only begins in submission to God’s will.  By my own will, I can never progress beyond what I already know.  I think it is described in the concept of the Higher Power, but might not be outlined.  I can recognize it as individuation, but calling it that would run counter to what is necessary for the addict to undergo.

My view of the afterlife is that the liberty of eternal life or the captivity of hell is constituted by degree of embrace of the mind of Christ.  Being without body, we are dependent upon the faculties of Christ.  If we see others and events as he sees, this experience will be glorious, and if not, it will be torment that causes us to shrink from His presence.

1 Comment

  1. I think we can always do God’s will, without God directing us in everything, because I think there is considerable amount of things where He has designed that we use our agency, to really choose between two outcomes (or three or ten), generally equally desirable to Him. RCC said something about this in a comment here: http://jaredites.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/basketball-etc-and-controlling-ones-own-thoughts/
    I like what you say about the afterlife, I’ll have to think about that.

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