The Big Book (pp. 550, 570) suggests that honesty, openmindedness, and willingness are needed for recovery. It also describes how the disease of addiction fights openmindedness.

First you need to be openminded about what might help you. If you have suffered enough from addiction, an open mind is easier. You need to be openminded about the Steps, meetings, a Higher Power or Program, and the experience of others.

Opening the Mind

A simple technique for becoming more openminded is to tell yourself, “In spite of how crazy that sounds, if even part of it is true, would it explain how I am feeling and what is happening to me?”

Another suggestion, when it is hard to accept feedback or other awareness, is to ask yourself, “Would I be willing to consider the possibility that … ?”

It is good to remind yourself that you have a lot to gain by being openminded and much to lose if you are not. You or your disease may be threatened by the truth, but denial or ignorance will hurt more in the long run. Remember that the truth will set you free (even if you have doubts at the moment).

Opportunities As you recover, openmindedness can help you take advantage of many opportunities. If you are stuck, you can become open to new ideas, such as a need for counseling, assertiveness training, body image work, codependency treatment, incest or abuse therapy, or the identification of other addictions.

Contempt prior to investigation Looking at a closed mind may help describe openmindedness.

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -- that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

— Herbert Spencer, Alcoholics Anonymous, 1976, p. 570.

Spiritual Openmindedness

The Big Book (p. 48) explains how, faced with the destruction of addiction, you can learn to be openminded about spiritual matters.

Openmindedness, see also: Acceptance, Attitudes, Beliefs, Control, Delusion, Dichotomous thinking, Higher Power, Honesty, Humility, Magical thinking, Paradoxes in addiction, Powerlessness, Prayer & meditation, Program, Step One, Step Two, Step Three, Step Eleven, Trust, Willingness.

Updated 11 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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