First we grasp this knowledge intellectually, and then finally we come to believe it in our hearts
Overeaters Anonymous 12 & 12 pp. 6-7
A substantive shift in how I have come to see addiction over the years is the move from an intellectual to a gut understanding. When I first got sober, I spent a significant amount of time going through library card catalogs and journals in those pre-Google days searching out articles on the genetic predisposition to alcoholism, including twin studies, relapse treatment, and so forth. One of my favorite books was the hot-of-the-press in 1984, Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism. Fast forward to 2018, that information is pretty meaningless to me today and has little to do with my recovery. Rather my understanding has moved from my head to my gut. My recovery has moved from a false self ego that refused to deal with life on life’s terms to one where I strive to move toward my True Self.
As I reflect often in this blog, my experience with an understanding of God similarly moved from the intellectual to the gut. As a precocious youth, by the time I hit the sixth grade I proclaimed myself an agnostic, and by the eighth grade, an atheist based on my inability to accept a physical heaven, hell, old man with a white beard sitting in judgement, and so forth. My approach to the spiritual realm has certainly moved from the intellectual to the gut today.
Now that cancer has come along, my intellectual understanding of the disease is of little importance to me beyond how I take care of myself with diet, exercise, maintaining my immune system and so forth. My oncologist, who always refers to me as Professor Connolly, acknowledging my PhD and profession, is learning that my academic credentials do not reflect my ability to understand the biology of the latest immunotherapy treatments. In fact, my comprehension level reminds me of being erroneously asked to judge chemistry student projects at Research Fairs on campus. I could only smile politely, not having a clue at what the students were talking about.
As with alcoholism, I am coming to a gut-level understanding and acceptance of my cancer diagnosis. I am not really interested in trying to figure out whether my monthly x-geva injections, increased calcium intake, exercise, diet, daily affirmations, weekly centering prayer group and book discussion, service at the Open Table feeding ministry, or any other factor is the primary reason the cancer in my bones is not spreading as rapidly as expected or that I remain reasonably pain free. Rather, I see it all as a package deal. I am comfortable leaving the hard science questions to the medical personnel who have proven themselves truly exceptional on those issues. I am grateful for their expertise and will continue to focus my energies on that path begun many years ago toward true self.