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An open-minded approach can be a crucial tool for people who are recovering from alcoholism.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, it is common for members to admit that my best thinking got me drunk. The point of this saying is that the arrogant alcoholic will think they have all the answers. Yet there best thinking never got them anywhere. In recovery, a new way of thinking is required. The benefits of open-mindedness include:

* The ability to live life honestly. Even the most arrogant individual will have moments of clarity when they are full of doubt and uncertainty. The individual who is able to admit that they do not know something will only be ignorant until they are given an answer. Those who do not admit their ignorance remain that way indefinitely.

* The chance to have fun and make new and exciting discoveries. Being closed-minded limits opportunities in life.

* Greater ease building friendships. The combative or uncooperative attitude of the closed-minded individual makes more enemies than friends.

* Freedom. Many of the beliefs that the individual holds onto most tightly are those they learned from others during their formative years. Open-mindedness is not about just accepting what other people have to say. It is about questioning what is being said with the understanding that it is possible that this other opinion could be right.

* The ability to see the world in color. Closed-minded people tend to see the world in black and white. Things are either right or wrong. Unfortunately the world is not that simple, and there are many grey areas in life. If people insist on viewing the world too rigidly they can be in for a bumpy ride.

* The liberation that comes with being vulnerable enough to admit not having all the answers; Not only does the person admit their limitations but they are also accepting that such lack of knowledge is acceptable. Nobody has all the answers. It is often claimed that true wisdom comes when people realize how little they actually know.


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.