He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being.
New/old comparisons are difficult for me, though I know I should make a greater effort to be in touch with the old, no matter how old it may be. Part of the problem is that I was very young when I got sober, and so my consciousness and being were bound to change. The way I was going, they were bound to change for the worse, if I lived at all, but anyway . . .
Someone asked the question on the blog a while ago about why I needed AA to point me toward well-worn, well-known, universal principles of good and moral living. Yes, I knew them before (things like “do unto others”). This is the point, exactly. AA history and my own history tells me that I could not live those principles while engaged in active alcoholism. Both histories tell me that I could not stop drinking without the AA program. While I was drinking, if I stopped for any period of time at all on my own, I was a world away from leading a good, useful, somewhat moral life. I could not.
Through the years, through the repetition of the meetings and the readings I have come to understand that consciousness and being more than I could ever have imagined 26 years ago. Overlearning is a concept in education by which things are learned beyond the point of competency to where they become automatic. This is a slow, slow, slow process for me with the concepts in AA but I am hugely blessed to have been given the time and the desire to make some headway with this during my lifetime.
The old state of being was painful enough to make me wish for death, really, to bring about a slow and painful death. Most of the time I knew, as I threw up then went into uncontrollable dry heaves that my body was trying desperately to reject the poison that was killing me. I liken it to the way people and other living beings struggle automatically to live, no matter how unlikely or even unwanted life is. The animal in us struggles to survive.