Addiction and the Jesuit’s influence to the 12-Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous

Just an update: this week, we are in a one-week module tackling addiction. This Monday morning, we talked about it in general: substances (e.g. drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes), and processes (e.g. gambling). Contextualized to our situation, we will talk about what contemporary young religious (I mean consecrated sisters and brothers) are being hooked into aside from smoking and drinking: the internet and, believe it or not, pornography.

Addiction rewires our brain. We were shown images of MRI scans that tells us that the brains of compulsive internet and pornography addicts are no different to those drug addicts, alcoholics, smokers, and even obese persons. It rewires our brain, particularly the reward center which is responsible in producing dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feeling elated. But there is hope. Brains of recovering addicts have shown improvements in a month, and a year of abstaining.

We were shown the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) 12 Steps. When I read it, I thought I misread it; I saw the Ignatian spirituality (Jesuit) influence on it. I felt I need to search it and I was not mistaken: a Jesuit priest befriended the AA founder, Bill Wilson. I learned that the AA founder almost became a Catholic if not for some doctrines he disagrees with. He even wrote letters to the late Bishop Fulton Sheen!

Have a blessed week ahead.

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