According to The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, a psychic change is a transformation in one’s reaction to life, change in personality or acquisition of belief in a Higher Power.
Chances are you have already experienced a psychic change at some point. For example, think of how finishing one alcoholic drink alters the way you interact with the world. You get an immediate sense of ease and comfort. Perhaps you stop being overly shy or maybe you suddenly feel invincible. Regardless of the effect, experiencing this modified outlook is psychic change at play.
Now that you are on the road to recovery, you are apt to experience a different kind of awakening. For some, it’s a sudden flash of clarity that shakes your mind and spirit. For others, it comes over time, which is what the Big Book labels as experiential and educational.
Here are 8 indicators that you’ve had a psychic change or are well on your way.
One day, you’re stuck in the muck and mire of abusive drinking and then, almost miraculously, you’re not. While it’s normal behavior for an alcoholic to drink, opting not to drinking is something unexpected. The mere fact that you’re on a different path now can be attributed to having an altered thought process, or a psychic change. Even those who end up forced into the rooms due to a “nudge from the judge” may find themselves open and willing to change. Whatever it is, something has made you question your life and now you want a different experience.
2. An Open and Willing Heart
Do you find yourself actually looking forward to attending meetings? Are you suddenly willing to share with someone your deepest darkest secrets and be open to the recovery process? Perhaps you’re actually having fun and even feeling all rosy inside. If these things are true, you’re in the midst of a spiritual awakening.
3. Accepting Wise Counsel
Think of the times when you’ve told people who care about you to “mind their own business.” You hated when anyone told you what to do because you felt you were capable of making your own decisions. The shift comes when you are willing to ask for help. Now, you seek wise counsel from those in sober living and are open to taking direction.
4. New Playgrounds and Playmates
Sometimes, letting go of old friendships is one of the hardest things about getting sober. After all, we’ve spent years nurturing these relationships, having our entire persona revolve around them. Then, the day comes when your old playground and playmates no longer fit your new life and you’re able to let them go without any struggle or regret.
5. Motivation to Get Active
While staying sober is now your main priority, there’s so much room for growth in other areas, such as fitness. Exercising is not only good for the body, but it also helps to clear the mind. If you’re suddenly inspired to invest in a new gym membership or just go out and be more active in general, then you have adopted a new way of thinking.
6. Acts of Selflessness
Most alcoholics and addicts are so consumed by their own needs that they only help people when it benefits them. Once they begin recovery, however, they learn that in order to stay sober, one has to “give it away.”
As you take on meeting commitments, go on 12-step calls or drive a newcomer to a meeting, you are performing selfless acts. While you do them partly to stay sober, you wouldn’t be able to do even half the amount of work without being inspired.
7. Change in Old Behavior
According to an old adage, “You can sober up a drunken horse thief and you still have a horse thief.” This stems from the fact that some people get sober and continue to lie, cheat and manipulate in order to get their way. Changing your behavior is a major part of the recovery process. In the 12-steps, steps 6 and 7 serve to magnify both known and hidden defects in our character. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable with your vices means you are on the verge of a psychic change.
8. A New Sense of Spirituality
If you’re talking about God a lot when you didn’t before, you’re in the midst of an awakening. After all, you tried for years to sober up on your own and it never worked. Now, you’re surrounded by “God consciousness” and people who are staying sober one day at a time. You see a Higher Power at work within your recovery group and in others who are embracing a spiritual path. Change is at work and you now radiate beauty from the inside and out as something unexplainable has happened. Your Higher Power is now doing for you what you could not do for yourself.