In the multi-season show, Stargate SG – 1 and its offshoot, Stargate Atlantis, there is a force to be reckoned with called the Replicators, which are antagonistic self-replicating machines that are driven to replicate themselves by consuming both alloys and technologies of the nearest most advanced civilizations. They grow to destroy the societies which spawned them. Their original beginnings were a mistake of an earlier species and they prove very difficult to eradicate.
It occurs to me that there is an interesting parallel here with the recurring incidence of the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction in families. The disease seems to replicate itself in strange ways…it consumes us and our families across generations and among siblings and cousins. Sometimes it skips people in generations or in extended sibling or cousin relationships, but when it does strike, it can be as deadly as it was for the original sufferer.
In the Stargate Atlantis story, the Replicators are finally controlled by the development of a “disruptor gun” which breaks down the electromagnetic bonds inherent in the replicator machinery and causes them to disintegrate. My parallel with the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction and the replicator menace as told in these stories provides an interesting twist here.
We break down the replication of our disease in family structures by getting sober, by developing and maintaining a life of committed sobriety and service, which begins to model new, healthy behavior patterns. These create a psychological and spiritual force which disrupts the development of the disease in our loved ones, thus breaking down the elements of the disease in the family structures and the tendencies for it to replicate. Our loved ones absorb these patterns of recovery and service into their psyches and, in time, that helps them deal with their own latent or initiatory tendencies; they can thus avoid the patterns that could lead to future development of the disease.
In 1995, Pete Hamill, a journalist in New York, published a memoir called A Drinking Life. It is the story of his Irish family’s drinking history, his own early life consumed with alcohol abuse, and his career associated with a community of people of some renown where the one defining constant was alcohol. He hit a bottom one day and, recalling his familial history with alcohol, he said to himself: “The madness must stop. The madness stops here,” and he stopped drinking forever.
In our own commitment to sobriety and to a life of service, we help to eradicate the replication of the disease for all future generations.