Infinite Jest

All Moments Can Be Endured: AA Members' Encounters with God in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest College

Many of the characters in Infinite Jest struggle throughout the novel with justifying and defending the existence of God despite the existence of evil in the world. The Higher Power, AA, CA, and NA’s non-denominational redeemer of addiction program participants, provides recovering addicts with hope in a Loving God or God-like spiritual presence even if the faith in God’s existence stems mainly from a “chilled conviction that you have no faith whatsoever left in yourself” (351). The belief in a Loving God found within Infinite Jest’s alcohol and drug recovery programs provides a glimmer of hope for the possibility of encountering God. Belief in the loving nature of a God-like spiritual presence imbues recovering addicts’ experiences of pain and suffering with meaning, aiding them in enduring pain on a road to redemption instead of numbing themselves against pain and ultimately engaging in further destructive behavior.

As explained by the Crocodiles, the elderly, formidable veterans of AA, the resolve to live free of the domineering influence of a substance is located not wholly in the addicted individual, who has often been gutted mentally, spiritually, physically, emotionally and fiscally by a substance, but supplied by a “‘...

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