The Obsessive Nature Of Addiction

When things had died down and calm restored I spent the evening not in my fear or shame but in empathy and compassion. For example, this family have just moved into my neighbourhood, they seem wild and out of control. My step 4 showed me this is the unhealthy fruit of my greed, gluttony, my lust, my sloth. My dismissiveness and my arrogance are parts of defence mechanism against rejection, they guard my inherent sense of shame. I am full of shame, more so than fear, although these two overlap. We are far from being Saints but have a solution Saints would approve and achieve a kind of transient sanctity in this 12 step solution of letting go and letting God.

I grew up in a family that did not express emotions like the ones I had mentioned. We reacted via anger and put downs hence I have grown up to be dismissive. My past constantly assailed me emotionally, randomly attacking my mind. Also we need to be aware what we project on to other alcoholics is the same thing as they project on to use and sometimes we project if back. We have to show love and tolerance for each other as we suffer the same illness/malady.

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As the steps are taken, it may be seen that resentments function to create separation from the people that the addict loves and the whole of life. It is through emotions and thoughts about them that the addict creates isolation from their relationships. This isolation sets the stage for return to emotional escapism through addiction.

It is emotionally healthy to live in the day … in the here and now. Professional therapists teach people to live in the present.

In other words, he became dependent on others, on external means for approval and elevating his self esteem. As Bill Wilson noted, we seem to get distressed when we don’t get what we want or feel people or trying to take away what we have. It is the always wanting one more that makes my affective disorder that of addiction and not another disorder. I also think the issues are complicate because alcoholism have some many similarities to GAD, MDD, OCD, and so on. It is interesting that a common definition of “spiritual” as it relates to AA, is a sense of connection with others. My recovery has thus since been about “growing up” a bit, however unsuccessful I am in this pursuit on occasion.

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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 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.

spiritual malady

Once we indulge in the first drink, our judgment and normal concerns are skewed. AA’s 12 steps are a spiritual program of recovery but at the heart of that spirituality is the role of sponsoring. It was a list of the negative emotions which appear always when I felt anger and resentment against someone for hurting me and my feelings. Unless, we let Go and Let God and ask God to remove these negative emotions/sins/defects of character we end up in a futile increasingly distressed spiral of negative emotions.

How Far Have We Come In Understanding This spiritual Malady Of Alcoholism?

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.

But he replied, “As the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept anything.” He pressed him to accept, but he refused. 10 minutes of Tips & Strategies to grow your mind and business.

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One of the earliest studies on AA members concluded that they were linked in commonality by two variables, emotional immaturity and grandiosity! I would contend that grandiosity is a part of emotional immaturity. I also contend that our “maladjustment spiritual malady to life” is based on emotional immaturity which is in itself a function of emotion regulation and processing deficits. What many people do not know is that the disease of alcoholism is deeper than an allergy and mental obsession.

I proceeded to give John a discourse about the human ego, transcendence, and the Oneness of all things.

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. 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.

  • The magic of the the steps is that they seem to reveal the patterns of behaviour that our actions have prompted over the course of our lives.
  • Our spiritual malady never just goes away and stays away on its own, it requires a constant spiritual connectivity and effort on our parts in our programs to keep it and the subsequent alcohol and drug abuse at bay.
  • We can also see this as years of not being able to regulate our negative emotions properly, if you wish to see them as sins.
  • It’s really not my mind — the mental obsession — that is the underlying root of what will take me back to drinking.
  • As an alcoholic I have found I needed to grow up mentally and emotionally and I agree with the idea of emotional dysfunctionality which I believe is caused, probably, by past trauma or attachment issues.

Just an attempt to stimulate thought or discussion and provide information based on my study and experience. Today I look further at the disease of alcoholism focusing on it as a spiritual malady. This is why we need a satisfactory definition of what alcoholism and addition is? Rather than describing these conditions in terms of the manifest symptoms, i.e chronic substance abuse or, at times, vague “spiritual maladies”. In order to illustrate how I believe my spiritual malady is the consequence of my emotional disorder, called alcoholism/addiction first let’s go back to where this idea of spiritual malady came from. So we have issues with emotions and somatic/body feeling states.

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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.

  • Attempting to live according to God’s Will also helps me not react but to act with Grace.
  • Hence his first day of sobriety is taken as the first day of AA, although the AA organisation as we know it today took longer to come in to being.
  • In fact, I felt “more me” when I drank, it was like I escaped a restrictive sense of self to be a more expansive, people loving self.
  • There are certain benefits that can be healthy when a person obsessively seeks development and self-improvement.

This is why we celebrate this great anniversary, this co-founding of AA, as it is the start of this therapeutic and spiritual connectedenss with other alcoholics needing help and giving help and with the wider world. Thus my original point is not semantic, AA was not founded by one person, it was co-founded as we alcoholics achieve sobriety with the help of other alcoholics. Millions of lives have been saved not to mention the lasting benefits it has brought to families, and societies once harmed by alcoholism. It symbolizes that this was the day when one alcoholic helped another alcoholic achieve lasting sobriety. Dr Bob like Bill Wilson had intermittently stayed sober via involvement with the Oxford Group but they had always relapsed back to drinking. I have a spiritual tool kit that deals with this emotional disease. These are all parts of my emotionally entangled web that is spun when I react to some sense of rejection.

We have found that these problems no longer exist for us when we begin living by spiritual principles and improving our conscious contact with our higher power. There are many men and women who felt the same way and have been able to overcome the malady by maintaining spiritual fitness and practicing the principles of AA in all of their affairs.

The https://ecosoberhouse.com/ 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. 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. In fact, I felt “more me” when I drank, it was like I escaped a restrictive sense of self to be a more expansive, people loving self. I had a connection with the world I could not generate myself, when sober.

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.

The good news is that properly treated, those in recovery from the disorder are often able to, with continued growth, use this quality in order to be very successful. The same pursuits that many had, prior to their struggles becoming unmanageable, become easy to focus upon again, often leading to more success than they experienced before. This is greatly inspirational for those who have just come into the room when the mountain looks impossible to climb. Seeing the same traits that were harmful before, turn to assets and lead to a more incredible life is often the first thing that attracts newer members to recovery. Addiction is often referred to as a disease of perception as addicts have a tendency to creating extraneous narrative around the experiences of their lives. Since this additional narrative often consist of perspectives that causes the addict to feel separate, this is where the spiritual malady lives. It is through the daily cleansing of perception through the process of the steps and the sharing with another addict that the addict is able to return to living as an integrated part of the whole of life.

We rely on others in terms of how we feel about ourselves. A decade of therapy also showed Bill Wilson he has two default settings in his relationship to other human beings – he either tried to dominate them or he became dependent on them for his sense of self and emotional well being.

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