Addicted to Obama : is idealism good or bad for addicts?

Carl Jung was quoted saying, “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.” How can alcoholics and drug addicts view ideals in the context of recovery? The Big Book of A.A. has an answer.

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Election Day, 2008

Tears were streaming down my face the morning after the election as I watched Obama’s victory speech in Chicago early this morning.  The hope.  The ideals.  The ideology. I agreed with it all.

The problem is that, as an addict, I can go way overboard in the WAY that I think.  My objectivity becomes clouded … and the more that I believe that I know more than others, the more I move away from a something higher and bigger than me.  Who am I to say that I have a direct line to what is right?

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous give us a prescription for such big headed-ness:

Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it.  We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing … In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter.  The right answer will come, if we want it.

– The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 69 *

Setting personal ideals and developing humility is what recovery is about.  Pursuing, espousing and broadcasting ideologies is not.  I must remind myself.  Therefore, I have created this short list of tips for coping with idealism.  Please feel free to add to the list.  I’m SURE I’m missing a few angles.


  1. Don’t talk about your personal beliefs.  Keep them personal.
  2. Avoid conflict.
  3. When in conflict, agree with your opponent.  If needed, this tactic immediately harmonizes any situation.
  4. Listen more.  Talk less.
  5. Be prepared for disappointment by believing in God’s justice.  Then, visualise your ideals again and prepare for disappointment.
* Thank you, Big Book Concordance!
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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