A shaman’s guide to seeing off Al, the Alcohol Demon

by Annie Dieu-Le-Veut

This is some timely guidance about how to deal with my old friend Al, the Alcohol Demon, as Christmas is coming earlier and earlier every year now, and ye olde traditional office party season will soon be upon us.

I say ‘my old friend’ Al, because if, like me, you’re the child of an alcoholic, or if alcoholism appears within about three or four generations up your family tree, then for you, Al will never go away. He’s firmly housed in your DNA, and it’s going to take a bulldozer and fork lift truck powered by Superman to remove him.

It’s true that Al does appear to recede sometimes, and you may think he’s gone, but he’s really just lying in wait. He has a lot of patience! He’s an wily old timer and he knows all the tricks. So if you ever think you’ve outwitted him – by temperance, by austerity, by denial, by sobriety for decades – you will need to think again. I’ve sadly seen many people whose lives were destroyed by such delusion.

If you make him your enemy, of if you try to starve him out by ignoring him, he will soon find a way to get your attention at, say, the next family wedding where the video and photos will ensure that you never live it down! (It’s quite interesting how often a dormant Al will surface at a family occasion, like Murphy’s Ghost, as if to let the assembled relatives know that he’s still around!).

Even the people that conceived of the very successful Alcoholics Anonymous program acknowledge that the human being cannot control the Alcohol Demon, which is why Al’s also the favourite Al-chemy of the powers-that-shouldn’t-be, to entrap the masses.

So you cannot control the Al the Alcohol Demon. That’s the first thing to realise, before we proceed to the next step to find out what can control him.

Even in the AA’s Twelve Step Plan, it’s acknowledged that the only force that can control the Alcohol Demon has to come from a Spirit that’s more powerful than him. Here’s their Twelve Step Plan which shows the importance of realising that you are powerless over the Alcohol Demon yourself and of handing it over to a ‘power greater than ourselves’. It makes up the whole of the first three steps of the ladder, and you can’t go any further up the ladder until you pass these three rungs.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This appeal to a Higher Force is based on a Judaeo-Christian view of God, and works through prayer and meditation. It is very effective, but it does take years. For shamans, though, we can go much further and faster.

The Alcohol Demon resides on the astral planes… so once again, we need to journey beyond the astral to ask for help and healing from the benevolent, all-knowing Spirits of the Lower and Upper Worlds. Our spirit guides will control the Alcohol Demon for us, but as with everything, you will need to ask your spirits for help with this, as only they will know what to do.

It’s a little bit like if you’re being bullied at school, and going and getting your much older brother to come in and sort out Al, the playground tyrant.

Once this is done, and unlike the AA recovering alcoholic, you will be able to occasionally have a drink from time to time, and it won’t spark off Al. However, you may also find, as I did, that you rarely bother anymore, because the urge to always have to mark everything with a drink has also gone. I do enjoy a drink occasionally with friends, but mainly I don’t drink because I forget to!

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