The Star Wars series, now in its 7th rendition of prequels, base story, and sequels, talks of a series of fictional cosmos-wide struggles between the forces of good and evil. The base story portrays how the Galactic Empire ruled by Emperor Palpatine, is building a Death Star which can destroy entire planets. It is this Death Star which Palpatine intends to use to crush the Rebel Alliance seeking to overthrow the oppressive Empire. A core element of the story is the idea of a powerful energy, a Force, underlying the totality of all things. Key warriors in this cosmic struggle, called Jedi, supporting the Rebel Alliance, have the ability to tap into the Force and use it for good purposes to serve the people of the cosmos. But others, warriors in service to the Emperor, have migrated over to a Dark Side of the Force and are using it to advance the power of the Empire.
It is eerie how this idea of a “Force,” with a good and dark side, could be used to describe the spiritual, psychical elements of addiction and recovery that we struggle to understand in our pursuit of recovery. The Force as a universal, powerful element of the Cosmos, at least in a positive, soulful or spiritual sense, could easily be a proxy for a Higher Power. In this context, the “Dark Side” as it plays out in the Star Wars series, is a very clear representation of the specter of addiction, the evil personage of our imbedded addict that is always with us as we pursue Sobriety.
Indeed, as the prequels play out, many of the Jedi are defeated by the Dark Side, having lost the ability to realize the power of the evil elements. As the base story and the sequels play out, the Jedi begin to recapture their power. Thinking of the battles of the Light and the Dark, in terms of how it plays in each of us, this is a perfect portrayal of the experiences of those of us who have fought with recurring relapses, losing and then regaining the knowledge of the power of the Dark Side of our disease.
The idea of the Force as a cosmic power, in whatever form those of us in Recovery are wont to think of a Higher Power, seems to be the best part of the Star Wars series for those of us living with addiction. The idea of this capacity to see the addictive process and the glory of Recovery, in all their facets, both the Light and Dark, and then to live in the Light of Recovery as a Spiritual Presence, is a wonderful representation of what we have all come to call the “Sunlight of the Spirit.”