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Helping Carla Emerge From Alcoholism

A Young Woman Asks For Help

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This young lady wrote me to ask if Emergence could help with her Alcohol Dependence. And although I've never attempted such a thing online, her request for help touched my heart. As all such requests do.

My goal here will be to help her to get her recovery started. Finally, at this point, as our emails are actually ongoing, I have yet to see how things will go. Thus, should you be reading this, and if you pray, please say some prayers for us.


On July 18th, Carla wrote and asked for my help.

Dear Steven,

I read on your site the idea, "that which you resist persists." Truer words were never said for one who abuses alcohol.

I never had a problem until 4 years ago when my 16 year old son became ill with cancer. I am writing to ask you for any suggestions as how to deal with this and be healed, not just do damage control.

I read your reply to the woman with writer's block and would like to know, would perhaps connecting to myself at an earlier time be helpful? If so, could you please tell me a little bit more about how to do this. It doesn't help that I'm not a particularly visual person. I'm a professional musician and can escape the "aloneness" by making music.

Thanks so much for any help.


That night, I wrote back and said ...

Hi Carla,

Thank you so much for writing. And know, I can certainly identify with the pain of cancer. My dad has been slowly dying of it now for going on three years, and I've certainly had my share of days wherein I've been profoundly in shock.

Even so, having a son get cancer must be even worse. I can hardly imagine.

I'm so sorry for your pain.

As for me and alcohol, I've done OK though all this and in fact, just celebrated 23 years last month.

As for your not being a visual person, perhaps this is part of your problem. I've helped a few people who had trouble visualizing and found they had been like this since childhood, meaning, they had a whole lot of stuff blocked.

Obviously, when this happens, it can get pretty complicated. Even so, if you'd be willing to write and tell me a bit more, I'd be glad to offer you whatever help I can. More over, as I've had on my list of things to write an article about how to use Emergence with addictions, if you'd be OK with me posting edited parts of our conversations (anonymously, of course), then I'd be more than willing to do what I can to help. I ask this only as I try to use whatever I do, even my emails, to help as many people as I can.

Finally, I've been a musician since I was twelve; a vocalist actually. Records out, the whole bit. I've also had quite a few musicians come to me, some classical and quite famous. Most of these folks can connect more to music than to people, at least visually. This has made me wonder if this visual inability has something to do with their choice of profession.

Whatever the case, please try to have hope, Carla. Something greater than us has connected us. Perhaps this someone will help us both in ways we have yet to imagine.

Write if you want to,



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On July 21st, Carla wrote and said ...


I was stunned and so thankful to get your response. I am suffering from alcohol dependence but am highly functional, so almost nobody knows.

I think Emergence may be the answer. The night I found your site (and I do wonder what led me there?), I had not had anything to drink.

I dreamed that night that I had a family reunion with a bunch of family I had never met ... all distant cousins. They had come to my house which was a total mess. I'm sure this represents my state of mind right now. Anyway, in this dream, I was a bit upset that my house was so dirty. But one relative, a relative I didn't know, started cleaning things up and cleaned up the whole place.

I don't know if this means anything. Most of my family members are functional alcohol users, so there must be a gene of sorts. I don't know if it is a "disease" or not. And is one ever able to drink again socially, or does one need to stop forever?

I was about to call an addiction specialist yesterday, when I saw your email and so, I think that you were sent to help me. I had to go to work and was unable to reach the doctor, whom I haven't had the courage again to call. But I will sometime.

Part of my unwillingness to get help is that I have a prominent position in our community and my husband does too. Thus, I don't want people to know of my problem. I will obviously need to think about this more.

I don't mind you using our conversations, if they will help other people, but we are well known in these parts, so please do not mention what I do or where we live. I have learned that many, many musicians abuse alcohol. I guess we need all the help we can get.

I need to think about this some more and then will write you back and see if I can articulate where I am so blocked.

Thank you.

That night, I wrote to suggest how we begin ...

Hi Carla,

I'd be very happy to try to help you as much as I can, as long as you know our conversations will never be a substitute for the good, face to face support and professional help you so deserve. This said, if we can begin with the idea that you and I are talking simply as one good soul to another (and not as a therapist to a client), then we'll be getting off on the right foot.

Let me start by saying this. I very much understand your reluctance to reveal your problem to others. In fact, I remember in my early days at AA that I worried about some one seeing me every time I went to an meeting. Today, I laugh when I remember my self centered fear. What was I so worried about? I would have seen them too <grin>.

In truth then, I soon realized I was probably not the only one with this worry, and that others might have this same fear about me, that I'd see them there as well.

As for your trying to see where you are blocked, try to start with this. Try to start with the idea that everything in Emergence revolves around one idea; that the "wound" is what you can not see. Thus, while your willingness to look for what is blocked in you is admirable, you, in all likelihood, will be looking in the wrong places, most likely, in the places in which you can already see problems.

Your symptoms are not the wounds themselves. So what do you do?

Let's start with me asking you to write a simple exercise. Please do you best to picture and write it even if you feel you can't do it, and even if you feel uncomfortable. You will not be graded. You will always get an "A" from me.

So now, begin by picking a night in which you do not drink. Not one drink. If you do drink, this will not work, and so please, do not drink this night.

Next, you need to get a pad and pen and go into a room by yourself. Sit comfortably and put on some of your favorite music. Something soothing.

Now close your eyes and say a prayer to whomever you believe in, even if you have your doubts anyone will hear you. Doubts are good, as long as they are honest. But say this prayer anyway. Please trust  me here.

Now with your eyes closed, ask whomever is watching you to guide your hands, and that what you write will be honest and thorough.

Now with your eyes still closed, see if you can picture anything at all of the first time you drank. If you have to, make this up, even if what you make up is not quite the literal truth.

Carla, I know you said you have trouble visualizing but please believe me, you can. If you couldn't, you would be dead. Dreaming is necessary for us to stay alive. So perhaps you have trouble doing this awake. Alright. Even so, try anyway. And if this is hard, just do your best, knowing I will not give up on you as long as you do not give up on yourself.

Please know also, you need to be able to picture this scene at least a little. Even if what you picture is made up. Now do your best to imagine you are in that very room, the place where you first drank alcohol, and that you are looking around.

Picture as much detail as possible, even the little things such as what is on the walls or if you are outside, then what is around you.

Now picture the moment in which you first tasted alcohol. Allow yourself to linger and to gather as much detail as possible.

Finally, open your eyes slowly. Now, dip back into the pictures you saw on the screen of your mind, and write down as much you can, the best you can. Then send me what you did.

As for the way this will unfold, please know, it might be better if you relaxed and let me lead. I promise to be gentle <big grin>. Also remember, reclaiming one's soul from the grips of any addiction requires you to allow a connection to another being, preferably a gentle guide who can carry some of the load for you.

Remember finally, we are just two friends who have never met. Or if we take your dream more literally (which I do), then perhaps we are distant cousins who have yet to meet.

To think of it, this does feel like there is some truth in it. A lot of truth actually.

Now do your best.


P. S. Thank you for the permission to post. I've actually begun to create the page. And although no one as yet can actually see this page, if you like, you can take a look at how I've edited your identity so far.

I will be careful.

Be well.

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On July 24th, Carla wrote back and said ...


I thank you for writing back. And I'm thinking carefully about this. I've had nothing to drink tonight but am tired from helping my son move. So I don't know if I should do the exercise when I'm tired or when my brain is in full gear.

I tend to be quite analytical about things, so that may be part of whatever is "blocking" me. I do relate well to people though, and am quite an extrovert unlike many artistic souls.

When you asked me to remember the first time I drank, did you mean when the drinking became a problem or just trying it out as a kid?

I do remember stealing some of my mother's burgundy one Thanksgiving and feeling really light-headed, head spinning but happy. I jumped on the bed I remember. I was probably about 16 and had about a half a glass. Then I didn't drink again until freshman year in college, and the first weekend had 2 rum and cokes and threw up. I didn't drink after that until graduate school, where I probably had 2 glasses of wine a year. But the daily stuff started when my son got sick and my mother was dying at the same time. It was simply a way to ignore reality.

I wanted to tell you that I have had the dream I mentioned once before (and I told it to the meditation group that I was a part of), but it was different. This was about 2 years ago, and I was drinking more; every night.

But maybe one night I didn't. I probably worked late. Anyway, I dreamed that my house was in such a mess that I didn't know what to do. But when I came back, it was clean and someone else had done it for me. I had no idea who it was. I was actually a bit annoyed (I suppose because I like to be in charge) and was pleased and surprised but a bit annoyed.

The dream the other night was different, because I was observing someone cleaning the house. Now you must understand, I have never really cared about a clean house and neither did my mother. I was always told "If you have a choice between finishing the laundry and finishing a book, always finish the book." So it seems the house is a metaphor for my soul.

One other time, about 3 years ago, I was at a conference where an Old Testament scholar was and he encouraged us to write a Psalm. I did this right before I went to sleep, and it was a Lament Psalm.

When I woke up, I had the greatest sense of calm that I can remember since all this started. But the sinister thing about addiction is that it (whatever the substance is) becomes a God, and it separates us from God.

"Why do you hunger and thirst for that which will not satisfy?" It is a spiritual war of sorts, and it does seem that the battle is waged in people who have sensitive souls. That's why I don't buy the AA disease model. There's more going on here than meets the eye.

I appreciate your helping me. I do so need it.


That night I wrote back and said ...

Hi Carla,

Well, you are right about one thing; you certainly are intellectual <grin>. Probably very smart besides. And yes, your analytic mind is probably part of what is making this difficult for you. Even so, you can get sober, and you can have a good life; intelligent and analytic or not.

You've asked me some questions. Let me start with the AA part. You've asked me if I believe alcoholism is a disease or not. You've also asked if alcoholics have to stop forever. And you have commented that you have a hard time with AA's disease concept, because surely alcoholism is a spiritual malady which separates us from God.

You know what? You are asking the right questions. And about the last question, I couldn't agree with you more. The irony here though is that you'd be right at home with Bill Wilson, the founder of AA. Your ideas are right in line with his as well. How so?

If you read Bill's words, you'd see his sense of alcoholism was very much that alcoholism is a spiritual malady. In fact, if you were to read, even casually, the twelve steps he wrote for AA, you would notice Bill makes frequent references to the spiritual nature of recovery. More over, in Bill's original preface to these 12 steps, he blatantly speaks about recovery being a spiritual path and says:

"Half measures will avail you nothing. You stand at the turning point. Throw yourself under God's protection and care with complete abandon. ... Here are the steps we took ... our program of recovery." Then he goes on to list the twelve steps.

Carla, does this sound like cold medical, disease jargon to you? Can you now see that the real irony here turns out to be your worry; that AA does not address the spiritual aspect of alcoholism; couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, to me, Bill Wilson and AA have probably done more to promote genuine spiritual growth in us normal folks than just about any other single organization I know, at least in the last fifty years.

This certainly was the case for me, in fact. More over, if you were to read about Bill's life, you would find he credits William James as being one of the four founding influences of AA. For what? For his book, The Varieties of Religious Experience. And in case you aren't familiar with James, he was a Harvard professor who wrote the first American text on Psychology. More over, the point he makes in The Varieties of Religious Experience is that there is no one right way to have a religious conversion. Translation. There are many ways to have an emergence; a healing experience.

Carla, I find James' book so fresh today that even though it was written more than a hundred years ago, it is still some of the best advice I know when it comes to seeking spiritual healing and spiritual growth.

And if you were to read Bill's description of his "conversion" moment, you would find it is exactly what Emergence helps people to have.

As for the "quitting forever" thing, please Carla, this is one of the best parts of AA. They constantly remind you that you can not quit forever, and that in order to even begin to quit, you must focus your efforts on only the day at hand.

So are they really just saying this while at the same time, saying you should never drink again? Absolutely not. What they are saying is, stop thinking about this "forever" thing and just don't drink for today. Then, if you want to drink tomorrow, deal with tomorrow's drink then.

Finally, if you think what I've just said is mere fluff which can not possibly help, consider this: This advice has helped me to accomplish more than I've ever dreamed possible. And doing the next right thing in this twenty four hours is still some of the best advice I know.

As for the last question; the "is it a disease?" question, here again, Bill's words may be the best at addressing this. Thus, in something like 1949, when asked if alcoholism was a disease, he said that alcoholism was a disease similar to heart disease. There is no such thing.

So why does AA promote this disease idea so? Because the alternative; that alcoholism is a moral problem, or a will power problem, is just plain ignorance. And blaming. And as I say on my home page, nothing hurts the healing process more than blame.

In this light, saying alcoholism is a "disease" is a step up. And a much more blameless way to say you have the problem. Finally, why don't you just set this question aside for now and just focus on not drinking for the rest of this day.

As for the exercise I asked you to do, if I read your words right, you seem to have been more interested in giving me the facts than in picturing the events. Here, your intellect is surely your undoing. Emergence works entirely by separating what you can and can not picture on the screen of your mind. Thus, if you can try again, and if you can tell me what you can and can not picture, then I'll know where to take you next.

And don't give up hope. The fact that you are asking questions means you are moving in the right direction.

Do try again. And do write again.

I'll keep you (and your son) in my prayers.



On July 31th, Carla wrote back, still struggling with AA ...


Lots of food for thought. I will reread William James. I have read "Varieties", but it was 25 years ago. My mother, the most gifted person I ever knew (and also an alcoholic) said it was the best book on the subject that she had ever read --- and she probably had read just about everything re theology that she could get her hands on.

Now, about AA, I don't know why I find it so hard to relate to the program. I have been to maybe 15 meetings and always leave feeling worse off than before I went. And the times I tried to bring up serious theological issues, I was quickly told that we didn't discuss "religious" things.

I came to realize that most folks don't know the difference between religion and spirituality. I realize that, as a full time church professional, I should be more well read than most, but at a time like this, it's not doing me much good.

I am reading a lot of Henry Nouwen now, when I've had a night that I didn't drink too much and can function well the next day.

My sister has been to AA for about 3 years and as far as I can tell, it's all about damage control. She is an AA addict. She goes to meeting at every whim. I want to be HEALED.

I don't want to be thinking about this in 10 years. Is this possible?

I need help with the visual thing. I will tell you two very vivid scenes I do replay in my mind. They both relate to very sad funerals I had to attend (but didn't have to work at--when I work, I can distance myself).

One is the image of a young father (a doctor at a famous teaching hospital; yes, even famous doctors can't save their own wives) carrying his newborn child up the aisle and holding the hand of his 3 year-old as we sang the processional hymn. The thought that these children would never know their mother was just overwhelming for me.

The second image happened last week. A wonderful homeletics professor and dear friend here in the religion dept. had a son who was 30 and died from a sudden cancer. He and his wife were expecting a baby. The due date of the baby was the day of the funeral. The sight of the casket going up the aisle, followed by the very pregnant young wife alone, and then the absolutely broken parents was more than I could bear.

Of course, I was sure that I was identifying with the broken parents, as I'm not sure how long my son has to live.

I think part of my problem in drinking is that in my job, I have to be the one that is strong, that offers nourishment to the hurting soul. And, when I drink, I temporarily am numbed by it. But the drinking interferes with my prayer life, and my connection to God is severed.

MY problem seems so complex. It doesn't fit any pattern. But for some reason, I was drawn to your site, and I think that this is part of the healing that I am promised if I only but seek it.


That night, I wrote back and said ...

Hi Carla,

I'm so glad you wrote back. I was wondering if you gave up and hoping you hadn't.

Perhaps we could try to focus closer to what is hurting you most; on your son's illness. I think we may do better if we look at the pictures you have of this, painful as it may be.

Specifically, then, try to write about what you picture about you son; your first pictures.

This next part is particularly important; write without regard for what comes to mind. Please, just write down the images that come to mind. With no explanation.

Just try this and let's see where we get.

Finally, one last thing. Alcoholism doesn't get healed. But BLocks do. What I mean is, like Bill Wilson said, alcoholism is like heart disease; neither is a disease. It just helps for people to talk like it is.

Well, if it is anything at all, it is a "syndrome"; which is to say, a collection of BLocks.

Can you heal BLocks?


Can you heal alcoholism?

Well, if you can ever find all the BLocks then you can. In my case, though, I stopped trying to cure anything and just focus on living my life in a spiritually useful manner. Including toward myself.

Oh, and one more thing. Do you have a beef with God about your son's illness?

Just curious.

Don't quit, Carla. I'll be with you as long as you 're with me. And I won't quit.


P. S. Some people who have read the edited conversations we've had, have written to say they are praying for you. And me.

Just thought you might like to know.

P. P. S. Pretty interesting that your mother and I both found James' book so significant. Something there important.

A few days later, Carla wrote to say ...


I am doing better, but I don't know why. I need more guidance. I need specific info as to what to picture.

Yesterday, I was at a restaurant and someone pointed out the twins at the next table. I was shocked that I hadn't noticed that the people there were twins. I must be really visually handicapped. This may indeed be part of my problem.

I wonder if I am better because people are praying for me or if I am trying to see things in my mind. When you say to describe my son, so many pictures come to mind that I am overwhelmed and don't know where to start. So, could you please give me one specific exercise. One thing I am sure of now is that you are correct in saying that focusing on the wound itself is not helpful. That is what I've been doing for the last 4 years and it has only made things worse.


I wrote this in response ...

Hi Carla,

I'm so glad to hear you are feeling better. And although you are surprised, I am not. You are, after all, doing a whole heck of a lot of work. More than you realize, in fact. And we both know prayer works, especially for those who help themselves. Lastly, I know emergence works, and this is, after all, what we are doing.

As for your one exercise, try this. Try beginning with the same requirements I gave you a few days back; a day of no drinking; a quiet place; say a prayer for guidance, etc.

Now with your pen and paper ready, close your eyes and picture the first time you found out your son was ill. DO NOT THINK OR ANALYSE anything you see. Just picture this scene.

Now pick three minutes of this event: the minute your first found out; the minute before, and the minute after. Now slowly picture the details, one minute at a time, writing down every detail you can picture, each moment, one at a time. Nothing is too insignificant. Thus, write down the details of where you were, time of day, weather, season, who was there, what each person looked like and was wearing, etc.

Remember our goal: You and I are looking to divide what is in these three minutes into two piles; into [1] what you can picture and [2] what you cannot picture. This means, when you lose the picture, write that down too, exactly at the point in your story in which it originally occurred.

That's it, Carla. Now do your best. And remember, the goal is not that you picture everything. It is that you write down with honesty what you can and can not picture. In fact, from what you just wrote, that you have a blocked ability to picture is beginning to emerge for you. This is the evidence you are beginning to heal.

You're doing great.


On August 4th, Carla sent her first assignment ...


Tonight is a good night (last night wasn't). So, I printed off the instructions and began.

As I begin to picture, I do indeed picture more and more, but it's pretty pathetic and I can't shut my brain off.

The first thing is the question "when you found out your son was sick."

I knew he had cancer before I was told definitely; there was the lump and the trip to the family doctor and the immediate concern and the biopsy, and the insistence that even at the best hospital only one doctor could deal with this (out of the hundreds) and he was out of the country, etc. So, this was too much.

I decided to write about the 3 minutes before, during, and after the actual surgery where the tumor was definitely diagnosed as cancer. I worked hard and am tired so will only write you one minute before and another night will try the next one. Here's what I wrote in a journal.

The scene 1 minute before: Sitting in the pediatric hospital surgical waiting room. Jim (my husband), Bonnie (my mother-in-law), Jerry (the senior pastor at the church), Doug (a physics professor and dear, dear friend and choir member) there plus only 2 other people I can remember (members of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church), their child there for something life-threatening but serious.

OK. This is hard. I'm not supposed to recall thoughts, and that is what I want to do. Just picture the scene.

We are sitting in the waiting room. I think it is gray, but that would be a depressing color, so it's probably not. There I go, thinking and analyzing again. I remember fish ... oh yes, maybe the walls are blue? Or have some sort of depiction of animals stenciled on them. There is a quilt maybe ... yes, there, and I am thinking about the person that made the quilt, and what a sad story that probably is ... here I go thinking again.

I see double elevators. And a door that I keep waiting for the doctor to come out of. It's been many, many, hours. Jerry maybe has a white shirt on. Doug though is the one who most is empathetic to my feelings. He has a quiet smile on his face and when he looks at me, he is sad. I find it odd that a physics professor seems to be the one most understanding to me. Jim, my husband, is letting something he has to do at work distract him from thinking about what's going on ... I'm thinking again.

Enough. For now.

So, is this a beginning?

On August 6th, I wrote back and said ...

Hi Carla,

Wow, you have begun to get it. Only a bit, to be sure, but something.

What is most significant is your noticing your mind interrupting the visual process; constantly in fact. These interruptions are, in all likelihood, BLocks. Behind them lie important stuff, the heart of what hurts you whenever you tell this story.

Once again, remember, we are simply sorting into two piles, what you can and can not picture on the screen of your mind. And just from the brief look you took at the first of the three minutes, you had things emerge. What? The color of the walls, for one. Far more important though, that you constantly fill in the visually BLocked parts with logical assumptions.

Keep going. You are doing great.


On August 14th, Carla wrote and said ...


I've had a very busy week and 4 days of no alcohol. I read a review of someone's description in the paper of their observations of 9/11 and he/she said something like, "I remember everything about watching those people jump-the color of their clothing-the color of their hair- the position of their bodies, etc.," and I thought to myself that there is no way in heaven or earth that I could do that.

I bought a book called "Thinking in Pictures" but have no idea what it's about-just picked it up quickly. Anyway, I'm still working on thinking ... no, not thinking, visualizing things, but since I think too much, it takes time and effort so I haven't gotten too far. However, I did have this thought last night that I love my son so very much, and if God loves me as much as I love my son, which I know he does, then I'm going to be OK.

I've also had some pictures in my mind of some good times when he was young and I've tried to remember good stuff about what he had on and the color of the walls, etc. That seems easier. I also want you to know that I think of your father and remember him in my thoughts.


And I wrote back and told her ...

Hi Carla,

I have to say, I'm proud of you. Four days is great. I know. I once struggled to get four hours.

The 9/11 thing is a no brainer for those who understand Emergence; all injuries freeze the last frame of the terrible event onto the person's screen of the mind, and this picture becomes vividly frozen snapshot of the last thing the person consciously witnessed. It also is the marker for the person's BLock.

"Thinking in Pictures" is Temple Grandin's book, and it was a very powerful influence in my life; she is an amazing person; albeit, a bit dry. More over, if you read much of her book, the stuff she says about how she must visualize to understand is very much the same way I am. Not at all like normal folks, but a great advantage for me in my work.

As for what you might try next, you might try closing your eyes and visualizing the colors of your thoughts. Perhaps you could see what you are thinking written on different colored papers, wherein the colors feel like your mood. Or perhaps you could hear what you are thinking and see colored light around you.

Carla, really anything visual at all will help. You're really just stuck in the visual doorway. Once open, then you'll really flood with healing stuff.

And thank you for remembering my father. I'm sure these wishes get heard somewhere.

Glad you're still writing,


On August 18th, Carla wrote ...

Just a brief note to let you know that I am trying to pay more attention to colors. I really must have a learning disorder regarding colors. Today I noticed that the Interstate Signs are Red, White, and Blue. Wow. What a concept!

I am also trying to notice the colors of clothing that people have on. I still don't know what this has to do with my addiction. However, I am sober tonight. Is this connected somehow and why?

I also remembered that when I was a child, I was sometimes overwhelmed with the beauty of the colors of flowers. I wonder if I try to shut out beauty sometimes as well as disconcerting thoughts? You know the Psalm that says "Such knowledge is too much for us. We just can't take it" (my translation) or the t. s. elliot quote, "humankind cannot take too much reality"? It may be that, for me, there is a thin line where I am overcome by beauty as well as sorrow, so I shut things out. Going to watch one of the wonderful videos on Myths by Joseph Campbell.

Have a good night, Steven.

That night, I wrote back ...

Hi Carla,

Yes, seeing colors is related to being sober. Just as the inability to see colors is related to having all kinds of problems, including, in your case, alcoholism.

Suffice it to say seeing colors is directly related to being more conscious, and one can not harm one's self unless one is, to some significant degree, unconscious. Thus, even seeing colors is a way to improve one's ability to stay sober. More over, can you imagine all the beauty you have missed seeing?

Good for you, Carla. You are gaining ground.



Finally, more than a week and a half later, some scenes begin to appear which seem definitely connected ...


I'm not sure how this relates to addiction, but as I have tried to gain control over alcohol and pay closer attention, I actually can remember vividly a scene that keeps playing over and over and, I think, this is the first time I blocked something on purpose. I think it was a protection, of sorts.

When I was a child, and you'd think I'd remember everything about this (my younger sister sure does), my baby brother died of what we now call SIDS. I can remember the morning he died, the screams, etc.

But then I remember the next day walking through the yard and feeling absolutely no emotion whatsoever and realizing that that was bizarre.

I think I have used blocking forever. I cannot tell you the dates of the deaths of my brother, or my mother, or my father.

My sister tells me that one never forgets such things, but every time she tells me, I forget the date within a day. I'm not sure what this has to do with alcohol, but I'd bet it has something to do with it.

Anyway, I did make an appointment with an addiction specialist but am not sure he can do anything. Same old lines about stuff I've heard before. For some reason, I keep thinking about Emergence. I have a big program to play in October and have a goal to get control over this right away as I need my head clear. I would ask that anyone reading this to please send good thoughts and prayers my way.

Thank you.

The next day, I wrote back and said ...

Yes, Carla, I think you are right on. These scenes are definitely connected to your present inability to stop drinking.

How can I be certain?

For one thing, you have vivid recall of a painful event; my number one way to identify a wounding event. For another, the three events you now mention definitely connect to your fear of what will happen to your son, which by your reporting, is the precipitating event in your loss of control with drinking.

Please notice, I am not saying these events have caused your alcoholism, only that the BLocks associated with these events are definitely a part of your not being able to stop drinking.

In other words, starting and stopping are two very different things, and unlike conventional beliefs wherein if you know the "cause," you can cure the problem, Emergence focuses on the painful influences prevent you from seeing your good options; your "blindnesses" to the beauty in what you can not see. In fact, the only way addictions, including alcoholism, can exist is because these blindnesses prevent people from personally witnessing the problem, even in situations wherein they can logically "see" the problem (and feel the pain it is causing.)

So what now?

Carla, the scenes you are referring to have been playing out in your subconscious each and every time you consider your son's illness. This means the energy of those three prior events has been affecting you as if your son's condition is the sum total pain and suffering of all four events.

Know the mind can not separate similar suffering, even when you know there are four events. This phenomena is what therapists' call, "transference," and is one of the most brilliant discoveries of the Nineteenth century.

So what can you do? Start with this. You can heal yourself, no matter how impossible it may seem right now.

In order to do this, you must be able to picture, on the screen of your mind, that alcoholism will lead to your own untimely death.

In all likelihood, your BLocks in and around death and dying will be preventing you from picturing what I've just said.

Know you are a good person and do not deserve to die. And know that you can turn this situation around and heal what is preventing you from seeing your "life."

As for the next step, again, you must be sober on the day you try for Emergence to work. Two or more days betters your chances even more.

When you have this time, what you can try is using Cycles of Three to address your brother's death. Instructions for how to do this technique are on the site.

Specifically, though, what you need to do is to focus on whomever you blame for his death.

So what if you don't blame anyone?

You do, even if you do not feel or recognize it. Blame is always there in unhealed BLocks.

If this is still hard, simply pick someone on whose shoulders this death fell. Then do Cycles of Three using this person as the one you picture while saying, "I know it is not you who has been causing this pain." Then in your head, ask yourself the number of your experiential age, the age you feel as you speak allow the fault to be set aside. Then name a word for the first emotion you feel.

Then repeat this until something emerges into your head.

No matter how seemingly unrelated, please allow what you see to come into your head. Then picture it as long as you can, even if only for a moment. Then stop and write down what you witnessed.

How is all this related to your alcoholism?

Alcoholism is both a symptom and the illness itself. This is one of the things which makes it so difficult to sort out.

What we are addressing, then, is simply the missing inner visual experiences in and around whatever is presently forcing itself into your mind. Why? Because the mind is a lot smarter than we give it credit for being. Thus, whatever is coming into your mind, no matter how seemingly unrelated, IS related to your present difficulty, even if we never see how.

Fortunately, we human beings do not need to understand our injuries in order to heal them. We simply need to reclaim our abilities to picture whatever we have been unable to picture in and around our present symptoms.

Finally, please know, everything in me tells me you are on the right path. So please do not give up hope. And know, in addition to doing Cycles of Three, you would probably also make gains is you were to journal about what you can and can not picture about your brother's death.

Carla, I am glad you are still writing.

My prayers, and the prayers of many others, are with you.


P. S. One final thought. I am wondering if you have any picture for where your brother is now? Know that having this picture, no matter what it looks like (and even if you have no such belief) is an important part of your healing. Remember, it is what you can not picture that is causing your pain.

For several months, I didn't hear from Carla.
Then one night she wrote to say ...


I am writing to catch you up. I have been doing a lot of work. I went to an addiction clinic and have found a wonderful counselor and am beginning to get a grasp on this problem.

I do know this for sure: there is no beginning-to-be-cured-of-this until you are sober for a while. I have been sober (with the help of the new meds out for this) and now feel 100% better and am ready to work on how I got into this mess.

You are absolutely right. Alcoholism is both a disease and a symptom of other maladies and that makes it a double whammie to try and figure it out. Just getting sober is only the beginning.

If I want to stay this way, I realize I have to see life in all its glory and sorrow and notice things every day. It's the old Buddha "Be Awake" or appropriate liturgical season of Advent for Christians coming up that tells us to be watchful.

Anyway, was thinking of you and your help tonight and wanted to say thanks and am continuing to read your site and try and think things through.


And I wrote back and said ...

Dear Carla,

Thank you so very much for writing and telling me this. I am so glad for you. And excited. After all, I know, all too well, that it wasn't until after I got sober that my "real" life began. Before that, I was pretty much dead inside, at least for what felt like a long, long time; for many, many years.

Now I'm in my twenty-fourth year and am still so in love with being sober. In fact, I wonder still, how did I live any other way?

And of course, one of the best parts of being sober is meeting people like you, people who remind me that life IS good and that prayers and spiritual paths DO work.

Finally, you are right, Carla. You are awake (grin)!

I so glad!

Please keep in touch.



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