When a Spiritual Malady Becomes All Consuming
You’re probably wondering what a spiritual malady is. A spiritual malady is a disconnect or separation. Anyone can be spiritually maladapted, but as an alcoholic, we use alcohol to deal with having a spiritual malady. Many people say that alcoholics have a disease of the mind, body, and spirit.
Unlike normal people (whatever that means) alcoholics are unsettled to the core. After reading ‘The Doctor’s Opinion,’ ‘Bill’s Story,’ and ‘There is a Solution,’ in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we came to an understanding that we have no control whatsoever over alcohol or drugs. When we have the first sip of a drink, or whiff of a drug, it is then controlling our bodies. We react in such a way as to become insane. Once we indulge in the first drink, our judgment and normal concerns are skewed. Quickly we become out of control.
The Power of Obsession in Alcoholism and Addiction
Mentally, we obsess over that drink or drug. We become so fixated on it that almost everything we do leads us to think about getting intoxicated. The mind and alcoholism are so cunning, baffling and powerful that we often cannot fathom how we ended up intoxicated when relying on our strong willpower to stay sober. The thoughts we have as alcoholics are often insidious in such a way that we can’t tell what is true or false. The Big Book talks about this delusion we develop in active addiction. Thoughts like we can eventually manage our lives while in active addiction.
The mental obsession is very persistent at times. Although we are not physically compelled to that first drink or drug if we give in to the obsession we find ourselves waking up in jail cells or our loved ones are upset with us or left with no money in our bank accounts and have no idea what had happened the night before. The mental aspect of this disease is absolutely baffling- that is an understatement.
Filling the Hole: Fixing the Spiritual Malady
Spiritually, we have a difficult time connecting to a higher power. It is common to find yourself being angry at God or saying things like “if God was real this wouldn’t have happened to me” or not understanding why things are the way they are.
Especially being alcoholic more often than not, it is our nature to have that “my way or the highway” mentality. Intellectually, believing in something we cannot physically see or a scientifically proven exists is a hard pill to swallow, those intellectual individuals shut the idea out completely. These core beliefs make it harder for us to connect with a god of our understanding.
Personally, I sometimes feel like I must have missed the class on how to live life. I used to see people grocery shopping or walking their dogs through the neighborhood looking content with themselves and everything around them. I wondered why that is. Why is everyone so happy and I can’t ever seem to be satisfied with my life? I believed I suffered from ‘terminal uniqueness.’
I truly thought that nobody understood me or what I was going through. I didn’t understand why anything on Earth happened the way it did. This frustrated me and filled me with doubt about a power greater than I. A spiritual malady stems from restlessness irritability and discontentedness, and a spiritual malady can be cured just as many others can, with the right ‘prescription.’
Anxiousness, depression, and boredom are a few other factors that contribute to being spiritually maladapted. We would use drugs and alcohol to deal with these issues. For a while, that seemed to work for us but once we stopped using substances the discontentedness came back to the surface in sobriety. People in the rooms refer to this as a ‘god-sized hole’. It’s a void that we used to fill with drugs and alcohol. Once the substances are taken away we feel lost. We will try to fill this god-sized hole with anything we can.
A Spiritual Remedy for a Spiritual Condition
How do we deal with this? Once we are aware of these feelings we can begin the real work on ourselves. It is not easy to do so but recognizing this aspect of alcoholism forces us to take an honest look in the mirror at our behaviors and attitudes towards life and other people. 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.
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. Without a connection to a higher power, it can get quite ugly in sobriety. Fixing this involves shifting your consciousness. This is guaranteed to change your life.
The way humans think is on a spectrum of self-centeredness and god-centeredness. When dealing with the disease of alcoholism we are selfish and self-centered beings. We use everything and everyone, even when we stop using alcohol and drugs to cope with these feelings of being unsatisfied and uncomfortable in life. The more we focus less on ourselves we allow a god of our understanding to enter our minds and work in our lives.
It is strange paradox, the more you focus on helping others, the more you discover how much you matter. A key part of any recovering individual’s daily maintenance of sobriety stems around this practice, of cultivating connections to those who are also seeking to improve their lives, as well as reaching out from a standpoint of newfound strength, to help those still in the depths of despair.
Finding We Matter, Through Our Service to Others
As we work towards this state of selflessness we find that we are slowly being relieved of the hopeless alcoholic state we once thought we were doomed to be in forever. What a miracle this is. It is constant maintenance of being spiritually connected with a god of your understanding. Whenever you find yourself feeling irritable discontent bored with your life or depressed it is likely that you may have skipped meditation or prayer. In some cases, you could have simply forgotten. In these situations, I feel further from God than normal and then I wonder who moved me or God and the answer is always me.
In sobriety, it is so important to maintain conscious contact with a higher power and count our blessings. Being spiritually maladapted can come from a lack of gratitude. 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. Practicing prayer and meditation helps us be mindful of our surroundings and gain consciousness of our spirituality by bringing us closer to our higher power. Strengthening this relationship with a spiritual being brought us hope that we can recover from the mental and physical suffering of alcoholism.
Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help. We give you the jump start to recovery you need. For more information on our nationwide network of partners and programs, call our dedicated team of recovery representatives now!
Charles F. has been an active part of the Florida recovery community for over 5 years. He began as a behavioral health technician at an addiction treatment facility in Ocala, Florida and has since begun training as a Licensed Addiction and Chemical Dependency counselor in Boca Raton. Charles’ passion involves the promotion of recovery and helping spread the hope of recovery to as many readers as possible!