Abandoning What We Know Spirituality in Recovery
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 these situations, I feel further from God than normal and then I wonder who moved me or God and the answer is always me. 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.
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. These emotion processing deficits also appear to make us more impulsive, and to choose lesser short term gain over greater long term gain in decision making. It can lead to a distress feeling state that can make us fear based, perfectionist, have catastrophic thoughts, intolerance of uncertainty, low frustration and distress tolerance, be reactionary, moody, and immature in our emotional responding. Explains, “If, when you honestly want to, you find that you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, Sober House you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably an alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer.” We embark upon a journey of recovery that allows us to develop a deep spiritual connection. Through our spiritual connection, we finally are given the power to overcome the disease and live happy, joyous, and free lives in sobriety. It simply means we are spiritually blocked off from the Power of God, which enables us to remain sober, happy, joyous, and free. As explained in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.
For me the “spiritual malady” is underpinned by an emotion disorder and makes us over reactive as you say. The Oxford Group said it was a sin disease just as real as any other physical malady, I intend to agree. Sins to me are negative emotions such as self centredness, intolerance, impatience, self pity that impact on my well bing and the well being of others etc. Negative emotions that cut me off from sanity and reason. They do not necessarily come from a Judea-Christian belief structure, just from my own awareness, 12 step practice and years of Neursocience research. The spiritual illness that we faced acted as a catalyst for aa spiritual malady our addiction, and every attempt to self-medicate our spiritual malady pushed us deeper and deeper into the disease. The “spiritual malady” of the Oxford group seems enhanced in me, I believe I sin more than normal people because of my emotional immaturity and reactivity. My “loss of control” over drinking is also linked to emotion processing difficulties as it prompted impulsive, uninhibited drinking. To conclude, it’s not my body — my allergic reaction to alcohol — that’s going to take me back to drinking. It’s really not my mind — the mental obsession — that is the underlying root of what will take me back to drinking.
What is a Spiritual Experience?
It was one more thing that my disease used to separate me from other folks in the rooms of recovery, another way to feel unique. “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference” is the Serenity Prayer used at every AA meeting. The Serenity Prayer is the greatest exercise in prioritisation. I believe we can unwittingly complicate our treatment of alcoholism by believing we have other conditions we see as distinct from alcoholism but which are in fact part of this condition called alcoholism. The list of emotional difficulties continues throughout the Big book’s first 164 pages. The psychology and neuropsychology of alcoholism, addictive behaviour and recovery. As overwhelming as I’m sure this all may seem for someone who’s either never had a spiritual connection, or been disconnected for years, I’d like to assure you it’s not as formidable as it may seem. But first, it’s crucial that you understand the difference between a spiritual experience and a religious one. While I could go on forever on the differences between these two ideas, I’ll keep it as simple as possible. If you wish to contact a specific medical detox center then find a specific treatment center using our addiction treatment locator tool.
Without a connection to a higher power, it can get quite ugly in sobriety. This sin disease had very real psychological, emotional and physical and physiological effect on the mind and body. Sins were a contagion that mixed with the sins of others and the sins of families, groups, societies, cultures and countries. Someone you are going to open up to and discuss intimate stuff with, someone who will ultimately know the shameful secrets that can keep a person spiritually and emotionally sick and will continue to do so until we share this stuff and let it all go. In order to fully recover from alcoholism, addiction and addictive behaviours, we find we have to trust at least one other human being. AA’s 12 steps are a spiritual program of recovery but at the heart of that spirituality is the role of sponsoring.
Recovery Starts Here.
Taking a commercial inventory is a fact-finding and a fact-facing process. It is an effort to discover the truth about the stock-in-trade. One object is to disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly and without regret. If the owner of the business is to be successful, he cannot fool himself about values. 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.
I must be God centered instead of self centered and God directed rather than self directed . The specific directions in the first 102 pages of the book Alcoholic Anonymous. The spiritual malady is the result of my being out of order with my higher power who I choose to call God. I was the director in the drama of life and managing the world so I could get what I thought I needed to feel ok. Fear and resentment dominated my thoughts and I made decisions based on self which caused me harm and harmed others. What we used once to regulate negative emotions and a sense of self has eventually come to regulate our emotions to such an extent that any distress leads to the compulsive response of drinking.
What’s the definition of spiritual malady?
Alcoholics had become a compulsive disorder to relief distress not to induce pleasure. For me this section is saying our emotion dysregulation leads to feelings of being “restless, irritable and discontented” which prompt a return to drinking. All of my academic research in the last 6 years has explored the possibility that this “maladjustment to life” is more than a spiritual malady, i.e. it is not simply the consequence of Sin but the result of abnormal responding, emotionally to life. Frequently, individuals who struggle with alcohol addiction are also experiencing a mental health issue like an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder. Abusing alcohol is a form of self-medicating that, at first and superficially, seems to help. However, it quickly becomes apparent that doing so is only masking the underlying issues. Similarly, those who struggle with alcohol addiction are more susceptible to developing a mental health issue. When this occurs, individuals are experiencing what experts refer to as a co-occurring disorder.
We begin to obsess and buy the lie because we want to feel the ease and comfort of the first drink. We drink and set off the craving and the cycle of addiction starts all over again. Our spiritual malady causes us to be restless, irritable, and discontented. For many folks, including myself, ‘the spiritual’ aspects of recovery can be a challenge. We tend to show up with a truckload of old ideas in this area and a lot of us consider ourselves to be atheists.
When I am in fear and shame the same pattern of negative reactions entrap my heart in its’ poisonous grip and I react in a way I would not choose to, if more reasonable. I respond to feelings of humiliation by humiliating you, I react to my chronic shame by attempting to created shame in you. These are my main negative emotional reactions to the world that often scare me and make me feel ashamed. I also have other ways of reacting in an emotionally unhealthy way that my step 4 showed. Instead of acting on my upset by saying to someone, you have hurt my feelings I do the opposite, I react and attack them in my head, my thoughts, my words and sometimes in my actions. I was working with someone last year and we had a disagreement and this guy said to me “I am upset” and “You have hurt my feelings” I was taken aback. This guy was an Olympic champion at expressing how he feels compared to me. I never say I am upset because it also seems to be an undifferentiated emotion that I have trouble accessing, mentalising and expressing. In fact I think this pattern of interlinked negative emotions occurs simply because of inability to identify, label and share the simple fact that I have been upset by what someone has said or acted towards me. My step 4 and then 5 showed me that I did not have the natural ability to deal with my negative emotions.
That is not to say that normal people cannot be full of sin – a cursory look around the work and it’s events will soon confirm this is the case. What I am saying is that they do not have the emotion dysregulation or fear based responding that I seem to have which often prompts “sin”. Unlike other diseases, addiction contains a spiritual component referred to by 12 Step recovery fellowships as a “spiritual malady.” The spiritual component of the disease is of major importance, and requires spiritual treatment to be overcome. When the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was written and published in 1939, the times and language of those times was incredibly different than modern times. This is one of the reasons that Big Book study groups have become so popular among recovering alcoholics. Apart from dissecting the Big Book so as to have a firmer grasp on the 12 Steps and program and in general, it also is designed to help us decipher the intricate language and wording used from a different time period. Old timers and recovering people with more experience can explain in layman’s terms just what the author Bill W. Was trying to relay in a far more easily digestible fashion. For many struggling with alcohol use disorder or alcohol addiction, the only way to overcome these feelings is to embark upon a spiritual program of action fearlessly. But such a transformation may be more accessible than it initially sounds.
- We are not directing any individuals to specific treatment modalities or treatment providers.
- Selfishness and self -centeredness is the root of my trouble.
- My inventory showed me also that I did not seem to have the facility previously to emotionally respond to the world in a mature way.
- These illustrate how the 12 step programme can help with an emotion dysregulation disorder.
These illustrate how the 12 step programme can help with an emotion dysregulation disorder. I have suggested clearly in previous blogs how I think AA’s 12 recovery programme helps specifically with problems of emotion dysregulation. For example, one variable I believe is slightly different in alcoholism to other affective disorders is distress based impulsivity which leads to maladaptive decision making, it leads to always wanting more of that…that anything. For me this is saying that out of my emotion dysregulation “stem all forms of spiritual disease”. In fact our first “spiritual” wakening was probably the result of drinking as it transformed how we felt about ourselves and the world in which we lived.
What is A Spiritual Malady?
Racticing 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. Anyone can be spiritually maladapted, but as an alcoholic, we use alcohol to deal with having a spiritual malady. Many people aa spiritual malady say that alcoholics have a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. We use to blot out the feeling of loneliness we experience and we use to numb ourselves from the existential pain we experience simply by existing. I want to make clear to members that these thoughts are not definitive treatise on the subjects. Just an attempt to stimulate thought or discussion and provide information based on my study and experience.
‘ When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. ‘ – Alcoholics Anonymous – AA Big Book – pg 64
— AABB164 (@AABB164) April 26, 2011
Finding out what is really going on with us emotionally is at the heart of recovery. That is why we have to constantly share how we are feeling with others so that we can find out what we are feeling. He “had to” react with arrogance, dismissiveness, impatience and intolerance, because his shame, which is a fear based emotion, made him fearful of his own recovery and fear makes one strangely dishonest , This is my experience. Keep in mind that this is separate from the physical craving. Even after someone is completely detoxed and has all alcohol or drugs removed from their body, they will still obsess about drinking or using. The reason for this struggle is the spiritual malady that they face and on a larger scale, it is also the reason for all human suffering. Bear with me on this one, but I believe that the spiritual malady that addicts and alcoholics face is also experienced by almost everyone else on the planet, yet it expresses itself in different manners. Selfishness and self -centeredness is the root of my trouble. My troubles are of my own making and arise out my living a life run on self-will.
Through closely examining our Big Book, along with much experience and practice with our Twelve Steps, as well as vigorous work with other alcoholics, the missing piece of Step 1 appears to be what is referred to on page 64 as the spiritual malady. In addiction, my mind was a burden, a curse that appeared to have its own power over me. I may have had good intentions, but my mind would direct my behavior. Now, my mind is something I can watch without compulsion; it is a tool that I work with to align my intentions with my behavior. Yes, I need my practices – indeed I feel commanded to perform them – for without them my mind narrows. As I began to heal, the practices of Judaism, such as prayer, study, and teshuvah , began to take on new meaning. Prior to my alcoholism and crashing my life, I primarily viewed Jewish practices as either discharging an obligation in order to align myself with my tradition and heritage, or upholding what I thought was an impeccably wise system of ritual behavior. When I began to learn AA’s 12-Steps as a suggested program of spiritual healing, renewal, and change (i.e., recovery), I began to realize that I could explicitly understand Jewish practice from the same perspective.
If we start by trying to recover from alcoholism and addiction and find we still have other issues then obviously address these with outside professional and specialist help. Here we have an abnormal reaction to alcohol and for some alcoholics a maladjustment to life. Sins I believe are the poisoned fruit of fear, often helped along in alcoholics by false pride, shame and guilt. These defects are related to me being an alcoholic, they are intrinsic to my condition. I sin so naturally, effortlessly and usually without even trying.