There are many persons in recovery who are not interested in discussing or even hearing about spirituality. In fact, they may tense up when they hear words like “God” and “spirituality.” This reaction may cause them to remember a past negative experience – an episode in their life that may cause them to recall a traumatic event they’d sooner rather forget.
Establishing a Rapport with a Higher Being
This resistance to anything spiritual is the biggest obstacle some addicts confront. To beat their addiction, people must face the reality that there is indeed a power larger than themselves. Therefore, they must make an effort to establish a rapport with this higher power.
This is due to the fact that addiction is really a spiritual disorder. Although the disease has biological, behavioral, and psychological roots, treating those aspects, without including the spiritual component, is like sticking a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.
The Spiritual Malady of Addiction: What Is It Exactly?
Addiction is a spiritual disease because it represents an individual’s attempt to disconnect from reality and any sense of spirituality. Simply put, they feel a terrible loneliness at their very soul or center of being. However, this does not mean, necessarily, they’ve abandoned their faith.
However, this feeling of isolation among addicts is common, as it serves as a motivating force behind their behavior. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics have the same sentiment: they spend a large part of their lives feeling empty and alone.
Some speak of how hollow they feel on the inside. Also, they cannot fathom how other people manage to deal with crises in life – even when they have it worse.
As a result of this thought process, the spiritual illness they’re up against is at the core of their addiction.
However, that does not mean addicts are confronting this spiritual ailment by themselves. Among other people, it may manifest in other ways. While an addict’s spiritual malady triggers a compulsive need to use drugs, other people’s spiritual conflicts may take the form of a gambling problem, anxiety, depression, or eating disorder.
How to Understand How an Addict May Suffer Spiritually
Recall an upsetting memory. Then imagine you’re completely alone. Doing so will give you a better idea of how a spiritual malady affects an alcoholic.
The addict may have a nagging feeling that they’re missing the real reason for their agony or pain. However, when they go through rehab, they can silence this feeling and learn how to deal with their issues directly.
Tips for Healing Emotional Wounds
Philosophers and others have asked the question and still ask the question – How does one go about making sense of life – its mystery and the reasons for certain events?
However, the subject shifts somewhat when talking about addiction: How can one find happiness in the face of a disease that has such a hold over the mind? If you seek the spiritual answer, then you have the answer to both questions.
Addicts and alcoholics may rid themselves of their drug or alcohol dependency by completing the Twelve Step process. This will allow them to undergo the required shift in thought that will free them from their addiction.
By using this approach, a recovering addict can experience a notable change in their outlook. Following this program will cause them to feel less alone or closed off from the messages of life, thus relieving them from the burden of isolation.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Program
Alcoholics Anonymous bases the 12-step program on 12 affirmations, or what they call 12 traditions. These expressions that help people recovering from addiction regain a spiritual footing once again.
Below is an overview of the 12 admissions that support the 12 steps toward recovery.
- We confess that we do not have control over our drinking, which has caused our life to spiral out of control
- We’re convinced that we can regain our sanity with the force larger than ourselves.
- We believe our faith, trust, and obedience in God, as we interpret Him, can help us make the needed changes in our life.
- We’ve taken an honest and open look at our moral self.
- We have confessed our wrongdoings to ourselves, God, and another person.
- We are ready to commit ourselves to God so He can remove some of our insecurities so we can develop our character.
- We will pray to God to help us humbly remove our misconceptions.
- We have listed the people to whom we’ve wronged, having a sincere desire to make amends with them.
- We will make reparations to those affected by our behavior, provided we do not cause them or others further injury.
- We will contemplate our behavior, and when we’re mistaken, we will quickly confess our misconceptions or errors in judgment.
- We are seeking to strengthen our spiritual connection with God through meditation and prayer, asking to be shown His will and to be given strength.
- Through these steps, we will share this overall message with others with addiction problems, and apply these principles in all areas of our lives.
Alcoholics Anonymous often makes reference to the publication of WIlliam James, “The Varieties of Religious Experiences,” which was published in 1902. Almost everyone who evolves spiritually has certain key characteristics, according to the book.
These traits defy written or verbal description, as they convey an innate understanding of the cosmos and are also transient, meaning the experiences do not last forever. Also, they are passive, in the sense that people do not have an influence over the phenomenon.
The alcoholic who evolves spiritually receives inner wisdom – an intuition and understanding – a noetic mindset that goes beyond the traditional five senses. They also experience an ineffable quality from becoming spiritual – one where their feelings go beyond mere words.
For instance, when breaking free of their negative thoughts, they may come to realize a newfound appreciation of things before unseen – such as the beauty of a sunset or the feeling of freshness of a morning spring rain.
Final Thoughts on Living the Spiritual Life and Recovery
The idea is to look for a spiritual solution to an addiction problem, as this type of issue affects more than someone physically. It also impacts how they feel emotionally.