Chapter 2


In this chapter, we explore the modern frontier of human development -- enlightenment. We focus on the concept of "self-referral," completing the background knowledge needed to understand addiction.

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Addiction involves all levels of our individuality -- behavior, body, mind, and the deepest aspect of our personality, the Self. A simple, clear, and accurate understanding of how the mind and body work makes recovery much easier. Without it, a huge effort is required. Often we move out of one addiction and into another. If we are hooked strongly enough, we may only teeter on the brink of sobriety. Alcoholics are usually told they will be in recovery for life. This caution serves a vital purpose; but spending your whole life in recovery isn't necessary for everyone. This is the result of ignorance of the laws of nature governing human development. If we can send a man to the moon, we can create programs for complete recovery. Let's see how this is possible.


The Body

The body never stops balancing itself. Our physiology has complex systems designed to provide stable frames of reference. Biologists call this homeostasis. For example, when we exercise, the body refers to an internal frame of reference (a kind of built-in thermometer) and senses it is too hot; it then puts into effect various strategies to cool off. This is self-referral on a macroscopic level.

On the microscopic level, our DNA has its own feedback loop, whereby it verifies its integrity and repairs itself when necessary. Many factors, such as harmful radiation from sunlight, can distort the sequence of DNA. This is potentially lethal because DNA is the body's blueprint. Therefore, the body has to have a built-in means of checking its structure and repairing itself. This checking and repairing is a self-referral process.

Self-referral describes any process whereby a system dynamically interacts with itself to maintain its existence, balance, and progress.

We could describe many levels of self-referral. These are represented by loops A through E in Figure 2.1.


Loop A might be the self-repair of DNA, loop D the body's maintenance of stable temperature. The loops represent dynamic connections: some include consciously thinking or deciding, some do not. Addiction involves distortions in the body's self-referral mechanisms.

The Environment

Now, let's extend our example of self-referral to include the environment...



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