A Course in Miracles Blog

How do you forgive an alchoholic who seems to be guilty?

  • By Paul West
  • 2796 Words
  • 13 minutes 58 seconds
Share this

How do you forgive an alchoholic who seems to be guilty?

Tiina asked:

"What is the best way in your opinion dealing with the guilt we try to put into others? What to do in a situation when it arises? Let’s say that I talk with someone and they seem to have an alcohol dependency issue. This is my guilt that I have projected to this innocent Child of God, who is showing me that I have guilt that I need to deal with. How do I go about turning this around and not projecting to that person anymore?"

Nothing that the ego does is without some kind of purpose or perceived need, with an agenda, and an end goal. It always has its sights fixed on bringing about some kind of next step in its logical progression from sin to death. Just as everything that you do to yourself is deliberate and you always get what you ask for, so too the ego always has a "reason" or justification for why it's doing what it's doing. Often that reason is not obvious or is unconscious.

Therefore, there are "benefits" that you are gaining (or so you think), and there is a reason for your projection of guilt onto this person. It's not just that you're seeing them as guilty, you are seeing them as guilty ON PURPOSE, to fill a perceived need, because it is helping you with your goal and your agenda. Identifying what the goal is will help you to realize what it is that you are actually "doing" in this situation, so that you can undo it.

For example, what your perception shows you is that there is something this person is doing which is wrong, and therefore guilty. And because of this, you are judging him. That judgement is CLAIMING that you believe that this person should stop doing what they are doing. However, that's a lie. The judgement is not really interested in having the person stop. I mean, how will you be able to keep judging if they stop being guilty? To find the person innocent is not the ego's goal at all, and the reason you are judging is to FIND them guilty and KEEP them guilty, even if it there is an illusion that you want them to stop.

So you have this use of this person, where it SEEMS on the surface as though you do not like them being guilty and that you would prefer them to stop doing what they are doing, but you actually secretly do NOT want them to stop doing what they're doing. The reason is, that if they are guilty, you are not. You can't scapegoat if they are innocent, and you need someone to pin the blame on for your own sin. You're trying to find someone to take the hit for your crime.

The ego always has these two contradictory wills or seeming ambitions running at the same time. On the surface it always looks like it has this noble motive or that it is trying to be right or good or make people stop being evil or save people or be helpful or caring or whatever. But, under the surface, there is this attacking hatred which is secretly attacking the person and wanting them dead. It is two-faced and very contradictory.

The ego is seeing guilt in the person because it wants them to be guilty. And even though on the surface you have this conscious experience of wanting them to stop the guilt in order to be more holy or pure or innocent, that is not really what you want. It's not what you believe in. What you believe in is that guilt is real and someone must be held accountable for being guilty for what you secretly did.

Your innocent persona is trying up uphold innocence, but it is also producing a 'shadow' which wants to find everyone sinful. The shadow is where you shove your guilt and keep it hidden. It's where you keep your secret agenda and death wish. It's the darkness in which you hide the truth. And it's the secret motive hiding behind the conscious motive that you think is "all that you are doing".

While you see him as guilty, you won't be able to stop judging him and you won't be willing to let him off the hook, because you still haven't found an alternative solution to your real problem. Your rejection of him is helping you to be free of your own guilt.

What's happening though, is you're actually perceiving that you are justified in judging him. You believe that it is called for, because he actually is doing something that proves he is guilty. You see him as the cause of or reason for guilt. And you want to. If you can hold him there, imprisoned, then you appear to be free because you are outside of the prison.

The reason why you think you are justified in seeing him as guilty, is not because he is guilty, but because you do not believe that you are the one who is guilty. You think you are innocent. Or at least not as guilty. You have made the cause of your own experience unconscious to you, because you are in denial of it. It is now outside of your conscious awareness and you don't even suspect that it exists.

So, given all the evidence you have, as you assess what's WITHIN your awareness, you're aware that there is no guilt in your mind, or at least that you are not seeming to be the cause of guilt. You are aware that there is guilt somewhere and someone is attacking you. And you are aware of a person who is doing a particular behavior which is threating your persona's safety. But you don't see that you're responsible for this. And hey presto, it seems like it must be him who is causing the guilt and danger.

Or, moreso, you see yourself as attacked by him. His guilt means he is attacking you. Your judgement of him, which makes you see him as guilty, automatically uses him to attack yourself, and to see yourself as vulnerable to and exposed to and at the effect of his evil ways. You therefore feel unsafe around him because you have undermined your own safety in your way of looking at the situation.

Seeing him as guilty means you believe he is an enemy and has an evil will which is against your will and that he is now a threat to you, and this perception alone will "make you afraid" even though its a perception that you yourself are holding in place. You think then that he is the cause of your unsafety, that he is a threat and danger, and now he is your enemy to defend against. This justifies you finding him guilty and your attack on him, your judgement, is your attempt to defend yourself.

You see this as justified and understandable and a "natural reaction", given the evidence. I mean, without an awareness of you being the cause of your upset, or of what you are doing to yourself, it becomes sensible and logical to conclude that he is the one who is guilty. If you're being attacked, and you yourself are not the one attacking you (you are not aware of it), then someone else must be doing it. And if you look to this person and register guilt showing up there, ie you're having an experience of guilt in him because he is within your mind, then this seems to prove to you that he is the cause of it all. He is "where the guilt is".

So as far as you are concerned, you are perfectly justified, perfectly within your rights, perfectly just being true to the truth, going along and being all innocent and holy, and he's the one who is evil and vengeful. He's the one who is at fault, wrong, bad, evil and icky. And then you want to get rid of him or stop him, so you counter-attack him. And as you defend yourself, you are attacked. And I'm sure you've experienced the fear this produces when, as you believe in his power to attack you even more, and believe he is the guilty one, it justifies you being even more afraid, and your fear then further proves he is the cause of sin.

Now, all of this is only happening because you are not aware of the fact that behind your own ego's persona ie fake façade that you are 100% innocent, and outside of your conscious awareness, there is a guilt in you that you don't even know is there. You're seeing it as "outside of you" in this person because you have separated yourself from it and pushed it into unconsciousness. You've disassociated your "self" from "it", thinking of "it" as another separate self, and thus it shows up in your larger mind (inside and outside your body) as a character who is "not me" that is attached to the guilt.

So it's as though, your unconscious mind is outside of your body and in that unconscious there is this character who is guilty. And he's showing up there in form, physically, as a person, because your unconscious mind is actually "out there" with an idea of a guilty self in it, and he is magnetizing to that and manifesting as a guilty person. So now you see your guilt "out there" separate from your conscious self (who you are in your body), and you identify him as a separate guilty person that is "not you".

All of this separation between you and him therefore is really the separation, ie denial, which you have put in place, between yourself and your unconscious mind. Or rather, the separation between yourself and your guilt. Because, behind your fake innocence, there is actually a belief in your mind, which you put there, that you yourself are guilty!

So this is where it's a bit of an eye-opener. While you are claiming that you are upset by him, that he is guilty and an attacker, threatening your peace of mind, and causing you to feel unhappy, and that you do NOT believe that you are deserving of attack, and that you do NOT believe you are guilty, and YOU are not the one who is wrong... that's not actually quite true. Deep down, behind your denial, behind your wall of unconsciousness, YOU have a belief that you are actually very guilty.

You made it go unconscious and shoved it out of awareness and projected it only to try to get rid of it and make out, to yourself, that you are actually innocent. So now you have this façade of fake innocence, which you yourself believe in, and it's keeping your awareness from admitting to what YOU believe about yourself. And the result of that is that you keep seeing this separated-off, denied, rejected, unconscious guilt, outside of your conscious self, in the "form" of this drunk man. He is your guilty self.

So the trick is, if you will admit to yourself that you actually BELIEVE that you ARE guilty, that you yourself have condemned yourself, that you yourself do not really believe you are innocent, and that what this guy is "saying" about you (how he's treating you, with his attack of guilt) is actually matching what YOU believe about you, then you can hardly continue to accuse him of saying something that you don't agree with.

Basically, you thought he was guilty and attacking you and treating you as though it was true that you were deserving of suffering, and you were exclaiming that you didn't believe that, and it was making you react as though unfairly treated, but in fact deep down you believe exactly the same thing about yourself that he seemed to believe about you.

So that means... he must be innocent, because he is not actually claiming something about you that you yourself don't believe. You agree with him. If you can admit that you agree with his treatment of you, then you will cease to have any grounds for finding HIM to be the one who has MADE YOU guilty. Your recognition that YOU have made you guilty proves that He cannot have been the real source of the attack, or the reason why you are feeling crappy about yourself when you are around him.

So this is where you are admitting that you have done this to yourself. You have a belief in your own mind, which you put there, which has attacked yourself, and has believed that you are guilty of sin. It's not him that put it there. He's got absolutely nothing to do with this guilt, nothing to do with why you are upset, and nothing to do with you. He's not even really out there at all.

What you've done now is you've made your unconscious guilt conscious. You've owned it. You've taken responsibility for choosing it. But that doesn't mean you're having a fun experience, because it seems real to you, and it's precisely because it seems real to you that you tried to deny and get rid of it in the first place.

So what you have to now do is undo this belief that YOU have in this guilt of yours, which is really just an effect of your belief that you're really sinful. Undo the belief that you are really sinful, because your sin did not take place in reality and it was not a real sin. If you can see and believe and accept that, the sin will collapse, and you will recognize that the sin did not even really happen. It didn't happen in REALITY, so it was not real. Therefore, you're still innocent and loved by God and worthy of love and forgiveness.

Only if you can do that, and that means accepting the Atonement (nothing happened in truth), and you can ACCEPT it because you BELIEVE it is true (because you do not believe that sin or guilt are true of you), then you will be set free of this upset. And then you will have no need to deny it, and no need to project it, and you WILL NOT see it in that man, and instead you will acknowledge he has been innocent this whole time. You will stop judging him, you will stop trying to find him guilty, you will stop pretending that you want him to not be guilty, and you will recognize him as yourself! He was part of your self, which you found guilty, who is now innocent!

He, was just a symbol, of a part of your own mind, which you had separated from, and were trying to get rid of. He, as you, are now healed, made whole, rejoined, made one with you, and accepted back as a part of your own Self, your identity as the child of God. And that means that you now have shared interests with "him" because you have unified your Self. You are no longer unconscious, and that means you will be increased in your AWARENESS of the presence of love within yourself, and therefore in him also. You are one with him and with God.

Then you will not NEED for him to change, you will see that you do not depend on him to be different in order for you find salvation, you will see that he never had anything to do with why you were upset at all, and all along it was just you trying not to admit that you believed you were guilty and needing to be punished. With this all your fear will disappear as well, because you can't be afraid if you're not guilty. He is not the cause of fear, you are.

In summary, we only project after having used denial to cover up our own sin, and then will continue to project that guilt until we're willing to admit that we ourselves are our only enemy, that we have attacked ourselves and now we need to forgive ourselves. We don't even need to address or forgive that other person, because they had nothing to do with this hallucination. They were innocent all along, and so were you.

In the Atonement, both of you are equally innocent, because nothing has happened. Having recognized that you were doing it to yourself, and you were only upset because of your own belief in guilt, you will no longer be able to see him as causing guilt or housing guilt or being a symbol of your guilt. He will not affect you, and you will experience invulnerability if he continues to be around. But, chances are, this person may leave your awareness and your experience because he has been forgiven and is no longer presenting a lesson to you.


Share this
Older Post Newer Post

How you can help

The Voice For God website is designed to be Truly Helpful, serving the A Course in Miracles community with original content and tools. You can help the community by supporting this website and sharing the content.

You can Sign Up for our Newsletter to get updates and special content. Also here are some additional ways you can help...

1. Buy ACIM Books and eBooks

Purchasing one or more of our books allows you to contribute financially, helping us with operating expenses and funding future projects and content. Thank you for your contribution!

ACIM Book: All is Forgiven
ACIM Book: I Am Love - Book 1

2. Share some Pages

You can help a lot by sharing pages socially with your friends and followers.

Use the " Share this" link on pages you want to share. You will be able to share via facebook, twitter, google+, pinterest and by email.

These shares make it easier for ACIM students to find our pages on the internet and in Google. Thank you!

3. Link from your Website

ACIM students will also be able to more easily find our website if you add links pointing to our pages from a website or blog.

If you run a website, particularly with related subject-matter such as topics of spirituality, adding link(s) pointing to our pages helps a great deal!

You can link to THIS page with the following URL:


Search Voice For God
Share this page
Voice for god news

Sign up for our newsletter to get regular content updates, ACIM help and tips, stories and more to your email inbox: