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The Dungeon of Self

“We are all serving a life sentence in the dungeon of self.” Attributed to Cyril Connolly, a British author (1903-1974). I read the quote in one of the daily readings I do in support of a semblance of sane recovery, from a self help book called “In God’s Care” Hazelden 1991.

I focused on the term, life sentence, having recognized that long term recovery and advanced age do not seem to cure one of the basic aspects of addiction. “Dungeon of self” is a clever way of phrasing the well known hallmark of addiction, self-centeredness. The remedy over the long term for reducing self-centeredness in recovery from addiction is to attain and maintain an ongoing relationship with a spiritual source of strength (Higher Power, God as you understand God, etc.). The best way out of an attack of one of the many forms of self centeredness (for example, self-pity, fear of the unknown, such as death) is to help another person in recovery.
The reflection from the self help book I referenced above, states:

”Those of us who feel a Guiding Hand [HP, God] in our life know that we escape ourselves by getting involved with others. The bars of self crumble as we become honest and share our fears and weaknesses, hopes and strengths with each other (entry for November 30).”

So, the basic tools of recovery apply whether one is young or old in age and/or length of sobriety or clean time. Jan Edward Williams, 11/30/2019.

Published by Jan Williams

Professional in the addiction field in the State of Maryland for 35 years. Held positions as Program Coordinator at the Addiction Unit at Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Director of Treatment at three inpatient treatment programs, and Director of the Alcohol and Drug Education and Support Services Department at Loyola University. Worked at Loyola for 24 years, retiring in 2014. In long term recovery (42 years).

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