Being open to new experiences... or not

Are you a Neophobic or a Neophyiliac?

Neophobia is defined as a fear of new things, Neophilia as an attraction to new things on page 148 of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, Johnathan Haidt.

He describes conservatives as change-resistant neophobics and liberals as open-to-new-experience neophiliacs. I see that I am both. I see that either of these as extremes in my personality can be very damaging. When I was drinking and using drugs I thought that new experiences would shield me from the stillness of life where my feelings always confronted me. I thought it was because I was so rock-n-roll, such a wild and crazy guy but it was because I was an escape artist.

Even in recovery I have a bag of tricks for escapism that won’t change my dry date per se, but these diversions will crush the quality of my sobriety. I can also be rigid (neophiliac) and I can resist changes in life, be it changing a ritual in my home group or upsetting my routine in some other way.

Bill Wilson said something to the extent that we have to accept that AA will always have its fundamentalists, its radicals, and its traditionalists. I guess he was making a similar observation. So everyone-are you a “philiac” or a “phobic” when it comes to new experiences?

Joe C, Toronto Canada

BTW, if you are open to new experiences and you have never ventured over to AAagnostica, Carol M wrote the first ever review of Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life
You can join that conversation at AAagnostica
Own your own copy of Beyond Belief (buy in any currency) HERE

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