In the early 90’s, I was a budding druggie alcoholic junkie who frequented Grateful Dead shows. I remember guys, sporting dreadlocks and smelling like patchouli, walking around calling, “I need a miracle!” which apparently was code for “I need a ticket!” although at the time for some reason** I thought it was code for “I need a hit of acid!”
Too much of everything is just enough
One more thing I just got to say
I need a miracle every day,
I need a miracle every day,
I need a miracle every day, (got to be the only way)
I need a miracle
-Grateful Dead, “I Need A Miracle!”
**I thought we were all tripping on LSD and that my life was normal!
“The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.” –BB xxviii(xxvi), The Doctor’s Opinion
I was going through the Doctor’s Opinion with a sponsee recently and was reminded of the “I need a miracle” calls when I got to this paragraph:
“We doctors have realized for a long time that some form of moral psychology was of urgent importance to alcoholics, but its application presented difficulties beyond our conception. What with our ultra-modern standards, our scientific approach to everything, we are perhaps not well equipped to apply the powers of good that lie outside our synthetic knowledge.” -BB xxvii(xxv), The Doctor’s Opinion
I stopped, looked at my sponsee and said, “I think he is saying we need a miracle – what do you think?” Fresh off the heels of another relapse, she quickly replied, “Yes!”
I listened to a Sandy B. talk recently where he describes the words used in the 9th step promises, such as “disappeared”, “slip away”, “intuitively”, and “materialize” as “magician’s words.” It is magic I need – and I need it every day.
“What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” BB p.85, Into Action
Dr. Silkworth mentions the scientific approach in the passage above. I’d like to address that by referencing a book I once skimmed through called When Skeptics Ask. I found the chapter on miracles interesting. The book says:
“A miracle is divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise. By this definition, then, natural laws are understood to be the normal, regular way the world operates. But a miracle occurs as an unusual, irregular, and specific act of a God who is beyond the universe. This does not mean that miracles are violations of natural law or even opposed to them. As the famous physicist Sir George Stokes has said, ‘It may be that the event which we call a miracle was brought on not by a suspension of the laws in ordinary operation, but by the super addition of something not ordinarily in operation.’ In other words, miracles don’t violate the regular laws of cause and effect, they simply have a cause that transcends nature.”
I read somewhere that the scientific method says something must be observable, testable, repeatable, and falsifiable. By their very nature, miracles are a one-time, unrepeatable occurrence, and therefore, cannot be proved by the scientific method. But then again, with the estimate of the number of people recovering in AA from a “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” being around 2,000,000, maybe miracles can be proved just by looking around the rooms of AA. Maybe we are witnessing miracles every day.
I am fascinated by the fact that scientists were looking to something other than science to heal alcoholics. “No human power could have relieved our alcoholism,” says our literature.
If you get a chance, I highly recommend Chapter 24 of Pass It on, which includes a letter from Carl Jung to Bill W. He writes about his treatment of an alcoholic named Roland H. who would later get sober in AA.
“His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God…The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality, and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to higher understanding…Alcohol in Latin is spiritus, and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.”
“spiritus” = breath, breathing, air, soul, life; also Alcohol, as in spirits
“contra” = against, facing, opposite; weighed against; as against; in resistance/reply to; contrary to, no in conformance with; the reverse of; otherwise than; towards/up to, in direction of; directly over/level with; to detriment of
Whoopee party’s translation: Spirit against spirits!
To end his book God and the Astronomers, Robert Jastrow, a NASA scientist, astronomer, physicist and cosmologist writes:
“For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquest the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”