I am the Frustrated Mystic

The psychoanalyst Carl Jung referred to alcoholics as “frustrated mystics.” Jung theorized that alcoholics and addicts seek deep transcendental spiritual experiences. Rather than achieve conscious contact with God through nature or meditation or authentic communion with others, the alcoholic chases an altered state which lies at the bottom of a bottle and never brings peace or fulfillment.

The idea of the frustrated mystic has been living in my brain for some time and has begun to take root in my soul. I believe I have lived the majority of my life feeling a deep emptiness that resides where I imagine my soul lives. I feel the emptiness below my throat and it radiates down into my chest and kind of swirls around, never dipping below my solar plexus.

For lots of years alcohol had an unparalleled ability to fill this void… or at least to make me less acutely aware of its existence. Alcohol made me feel more connected to others, more special, more elated, more successful, more romantic, more justified, more relaxed, more beautiful. Alcohol eased pain when I wanted to numb thoughts and feelings and heightened pain when I wanted to wrap myself up in my sadness and shame and anger. Alcohol allowed me to temporarily dismiss my better judgment and engage in behavior that would have been inexcusable were I sober. Alcohol allowed me to be reckless and mean. Alcohol became the thing that always let me feel something other than what I was feeling. Alcohol did all kinds of things for the emptiness inside. Until it didn’t anymore.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous refers to a great jumping off place. It’s the place you come to when you cannot imagine your life with alcohol but you also cannot imagine your life without alcohol.  The trick for me has always been that in addition to not knowing how to live with or without alcohol, I  have no idea how to live with or without God. I don’t even know what my concept of God looks like at this point in my life. These are the things I do know:

– I am seeking something deeper and more meaningful in my life

– I am an alcoholic

– Alcohol blocks my connection to what is good and light and love

– I need a God of my understanding to keep me sober

All this brings me to the point of starting my blog. I want a place to discover what my God looks like. I want a place to share my experience of being a sober mother and wife. I want to learn from other frustrated mystics out there. I want  peace to rest within my soul rather than emptiness. I want to feel alive and connected in an authentic way.

I hope you will join me as I trudge the road of Happy Destiny.

9 thoughts on “I am the Frustrated Mystic

  1. I’m so glad I found this. How uncanny, as I was just explaining to a fellow AA after Friday night’s meeting (October 7th, 2011, the day after you wrote this!) about the phrase “frustrated mystic”. I had forgotten it was Jung, but I googled the term and out popped your new blog. It’s just wild and “mystical”! Seems more than coincidence to me that you wrote this the night before. Anyway, I’m glad I found this and will bookmark it and check back. Best of luck to you.

    1. Hi James!! I am so glad you found your way to my blog. I think this concept of the frustrated mystic is just perfect for us alcoholics… or at least this one. Jung has tons of other interesting stuff about the collective unconscious and the persona and all kinds of psychological constructs that totally apply to me that I plan to explore further through my blog. Of course you may have to skip through some stuff on motherhood and how I organize my house to get there. Best of luck to you as well and thanks for visiting!

      1. Thanks! I just got a book by Jung called “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” and I can’t wait to read it. Take care and keep up the good work.

  2. I’m so glad I found this blog…you are a courageous woman and an ispiration to me 🙂 I so badly want to be where you are now…I’m hoping I can find myself there and soon! Take care 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Christa. I started this blog as a way to find a more authentic voice for myself and explore a connection with some sort of higher power. I guess these are both tasks that are never complete, so I’ll keep posting! I wish you well on your journey. Peace!

  3. Awesome!
    this is great.
    Such a good outlet for your soul connection.

    I am also a frustrated mystic but not of the alcoholic variety. I did not know Jung coined the term until I read it on your post.

    I just stumbled on your blog as I was just looking around in curiousity as I had begun to call myself the frustrated mystic.

    I hope you are well. I cant find any recent posts.

    Much love

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