The Spiritual Malady of Addiction

The specific manifestation(s) of addiction represent an attempt to fill this emptiness from the outside. Substances, activities like gambling, eating, or sex, material objects, jobs, money, or people, may fill this hole, but only very temporarily. When the mood-altering effects of the attempted “fix” wear off, the feelings of dis-ease return and are often worse, driving the urge to “use” again.

The pursuit of them dominated our lives, destroyed relationships, and caused greater desperation than we ever thought possible. We became selfish and self-seeking, ever thirsting for more, and this lust warped us on every level. But we were never satisfied, because but the living presence of God can quench our parched souls. Alcoholics Anonymous often makes reference to the publication of WIlliam James, “The Varieties of Religious Experiences,” which was published in 1902.

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Sometimes, when feeling ill, patients are uncertain what words to use to describe their state and will choose words that they feel attract the attention of their doctor or their family. Thus, when seeking help from doctors, they will refer to pain in organs and when speaking to their family they will talk about functioning, complain of being tired, unable to do things, and so forth. I could identify when he went on to say, “the spiritual malady refers to a derangement of our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. These things are out of whack and not aligned.“ The process of recovery is useful to remedy this problem.

  • Prejudice comes from the predictive codes in the shadows of the brain.
  • Social threat and injury are other forms of spiritual threat and injury that are particularly toxic to humans.
  • They don’t need something to help them stop drinking they need something that is going to spiritually fulfill them and then there won’t be a need or want to drink anymore.
  • Allow yourself to feel the strength and support that comes from knowing that there is something bigger than yourself out there rooting for your success.
  • We like to simplify it and say that a habit is just something that we’ve repeated enough times that it becomes so familiar that we do it on autopilot without thinking.

This can mean a separation or disconnect from other human beings, spiritual principles, a spiritual higher power etc. Spiritual things are not merely religion but are defined by each individual uniquely as the guiding force in their lives-something that is greater than them or principles they live by. Spiritual awakenings occur when we see glimpses of the much bigger picture around us and find humility in the moment.

Examples of malady in a Sentence

Once you open up to this idea and implement that spiritual connection, you will experience your long-awaited spiritual awakening, the answer to that pesky spiritual malady we suffer from as alcoholics. He said, “spiritual simply refers to that which is not material. This means those things that are not solid- such as our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions- are what is spiritual. When we say that alcoholism or drug addiction is ‘a spiritual malady’, it means that our disease in centered in these things (thoughts, beliefs, emotions). It is important that when we embark upon this quest to alleviate our spiritual malady that we are not too harsh on ourselves.

spiritual malady definition

If you are curious about the true, spiritual imprint of addiction, just do a quick Google search for “goodbye heroin” letters. Therapists will often have an individual in recovery write a goodbye letter to their drug of choice. The words used in so many of these letters are painful and desperate.

More from Merriam-Webster on malady

Whether or not they were aware of it they most likely started drinking because of their spiritual malady. Kind of self-medication if you will for the pain they felt inside. Many people are initially turned off to the idea of the program because they believe it preaches religion and God, and many addicts and alcoholics have no desire to pursue a religious answer. But the beauty of the 12-steps is that they are spiritually based as opposed to religious.

Without addressing this spiritual malady, we have absolutely no hope for intrinsic change or recovery. It is this notion that the fellowship of AA was founded upon, and how millions of recovered alcoholics equate their success in overcoming a seemingly hopeless situation. The only solution to a spiritual malady is a spiritual awakening. Only once we open the spiritual channels and begin to accept a Higher Power into our lives can we hope to find a solution to our alcoholic condition.

Filling the Hole: Fixing the Spiritual Malady

This complacency can then lead to a sense of entitlement which is extremely dangerous for people in recovery. Entitlement leads to unrealistic expectations, which often leads to disappointment and resentment. We also house traumatic memories in the threat centers of our brains that are slightly different than predictive codes as spiritual malady they may bubble up to awareness or into nightmarish dreams. We look very different in these different phenotypical states. Particularly notable to this discussion is what we look like in threat. In threat, we can be mobilized towards aggressive or reactive defenses or we can be immobilized into passive or submissive defenses.

We must live our lives selflessly and show our gratitude to a higher power for the lives that we live and the opportunity to have a second chance at life. This is the type of spiritually maladapted behavior that we typically exhibit in active alcoholism. When not treating the spiritual aspect of the disease those behaviors are the types of things that will start to make life unmanageable once again. If we do not get spiritually connected with meditation or prayer with a power greater than us it will bring us closer and closer to that drink or drug. In sobriety, if we are self-reliant we usually end up using anything that will make us feel good externally excessively.

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