What is a Spiritual Malady?
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. Sometimes, when tasked with doing something difficult or challenging for my own good, I balked at the added responsibility of doing it.
But when it comes to alcohol and drugs, there is no will power. The reason is that our reaction to alcohol and drugs is physical, spiritual malady it’s not mental. I have sought refuge from my negative emotions in alcohol, drugs and other addictive behaviours.
What Do We Mean by Recovered?
Step 1 in the AA programme is “ We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable”. It is emotionally healthy to surrender and accept things over which we have no control. “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. 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.
The following blogs are a collection of blogs from our sister blog which is dedicated to explaining what it is like to suffer from and recover from alcoholism and other addictive behaviours. 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. Alcoholics and children of alcoholics have a tendency to avoid emotions (use avoidant coping strategies) in fact and to use emotional reasoning when arguing a point. By sin I mean negative emotions that cause distress to me and others.
What is a “Spiritual Malady”?
This isolation sets the stage for return to emotional escapism through addiction. The disease of alcohol and drug addiction is not just mental and physical but also spiritual. The spiritual malady, however, can be seen as an inward unmanageability. It affects every aspect of our lives and must be overcome if we wish to fix ourselves mentally and physically. This spiritual malady, or spiritual disconnection, is the driving force behind our addiction and self-destructive behaviors.
A spiritual malady formed inside of us when we place God on the back burner or up on a shelf. All the while, going on with our life and problems in full force with little or need of spiritual guidance from the Great Creator. We soon come to realize we are in a mental and spiritual sickness.
I am aware that there are many paths to recovery- my path has been the 12-Steps. While this may not be for everybody, the principles contained within the steps and the program are applicable and useful to anyone seeking sobriety and recovery. When I accepted that the ‘spiritual malady’ was about my beliefs, thoughts, and emotions, I came to see that many of my own beliefs and thoughts on this subject were contributing to my disease. I had many old ideas and prejudices that had to be examined and released. One way to think of a Higher Power is simply as a force that is greater than yourself.
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). 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.
The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady
Our alcoholic life is really the symptom of a spiritual malady. The sin disease idea became the “spiritual malady” of AA. In fact they were all interlinking in a pattern of emotional https://ecosoberhouse.com/ reacting, one activating the other. It was like a emotion web that ensnared one in increasingly frustrating states of emotional distress and inappropriate responding.
Thoughts are spouting out of our mouths without any self-care as to the consequences! This is a Spiritual Malady and most often wreaks havoc in our life. The fastest and best way to pull out of this self-will-run-riot is Step 3. The daily taking of Step 3 prayer cannot be overemphasized to protect us from a Spiritual Malady. It assures us, that a Higher Power is in charge over our life every single morning. When we take Step 3 every day it is very hard to fall into that worldly Spiritual Malady.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. It is constant maintenance of being spiritually connected with a god of your understanding.
The Spiritual Malady: A Hole in the Soul
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. What that means is that all that is required is the belief in a power greater than yourself.
- It is loaded with old ideas and religiosity, tainted by overuse, abuse, and centuries of bad press.
- Desire obviously runs contrary to the idea of being in God’s will, in fact it is being in Self Will that seems to create distress in many people with addictive behaviours.
- What the book says is that the only thing that will solve our drink problem is a spiritual awakening, spiritual experience, attitude adjustment, or psychic change.
- I share my feelings of shame with those who know what that feels like.
- When people become too self-reliant, they may stop working on their program entirely.