View Full Version : The Thirst for Wholeness, Chrstina Grof

June 7th, 2007, 10:34 PM
I read about this book on MWO so I special ordered it from Borders and I am glad I did.
The book explores the spiritual side of addiction and recovery.

A lot of what the author writes resonates with me, the feeling of emptiness fueling addictions. The title says it all. I definitely relate to having a thirst for connection to myself and others, which I can often satisfy with alcohol.

But she adds a perspective I have not really thought about before. Premise is all humans feel this sense of disconnection, but those who have been abused feel it more, they have more of a sense of alienation from themselves and others. For some the disconnection is very very intense, like a relentless ache.

I haven't mentioned the D word yet: Divine. I am agnostic but have decided to keep an open mind. The theory is that people are disconnected from the divine. Alienated by dogmatic religous upbringings, we separated from all that and as a result we have lost our true deeper selves and our connection to God. Even though these concepts have been around for many generations!

We are grasping at material things and addictions to fill the void but they can't because what we are seeking is not material. Author's view of the divine is very broad, encompassing just about any religion or theory. but the common element has to be that you can find it within yourself even though it is bigger than the self. And it isn't some judgemental thing that would cause further grief for people who have been abused.

I have trouble with some of the arguments for solutions. She espouses her own quirky spiritual therapies as well as the 12 step model and views the admission of powerlessness as well as surrender to higher power to be mandatory for recovery. However, the way she describes the renewal process, the hitting bottom process, is essentially very positive and I feel that those who have chosen the AA path might get something out of this book.

I would like to point out that her descriptions of the despair people feel when they have alcohol addiction are VERY similar to the descriptions we see on these MWO threads.

My overall impression so far: Giving me a much deeper understanding of my motivations for drinking, makes me more interested in exploring Buddhism and makes me question the impact of my agnosticism. However, I find it hard to believe people actually remember the trauma of their birth experience and I don't like the powerless/surrendering/AA model. Having said that though, she has helped me to understand why AA is structured that way and I won't be as judgemental about it now that I know the importance of the spiritual side of recovery.

Update June 12:
I have nearly finished the book now. A very large amount of it was dedicated to AA principles. Those who don't like that model are likley to be turned off by this. I am struggling to finish the last chapter.