How Do 12 Step Fellowships Define Addiction and Alcoholism?

Drinking is a problem if it causes trouble in your relationships, in school, in social activities, or in how you think and feel. If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, consult your personal health care provider. Furthermore, if you find yourself not being able to stop drinking, despite several attempts there is a good chance that you may have a substance use disorder and should speak to a medical professional for further evaluation. In short, the spiritual malady is the feeling often described as having a void that can never seem to be filled, without the use of chemicals. In conclusion, staying spiritually healthy means trying spiritual malady meaning to keep ourselves open to being surprised by life. A prayer common to 12 Step Fellowships beautifully summarizes this sentiment. In the Big Book of A.A., the terms “spiritual experience,” “spiritual awakening,” or “psychic change” come up again and again. “Any alcoholic capable of honestly facing his problems in light of our experience can recover, provided he does not close his mind to spiritual concepts. He can only be defeated by an attitude of intolerance or belligerent denial” (“Alcoholics Anonymous” page 568). The information on this page is not intended to replace assistance, diagnosis, or treatment from a clinical or medical professional.

The struggle for anyone with a substance use disorder is that the focus, outside of treatment and 12-Step meetings, is typically on the substance. What we learn in recovery is that the problem centers in the mind. There is an obsessive quality and an emotional sensitivity, often experienced in childhood, that later has the possibility of turning to an obsession to seek solace from the way they feel. Lacking the tools to manage pain, disappointment, and resentment in a healthy way, the mind obsessively seeks the only solution to the problem that has yet worked, which is a mind or mood-altering substance. This same obsessive nature causes those with a substance use disorder to instinctively seek other things for relief from their thoughts. Often, before ever using a substance, they were bright students, picked up hobbies that they were able to develop into amazing talents or ambitious employees that were able to vertically ascend with ease. The motivation that drove most of these positive outcomes, however, was typically relief from their low self-esteem or otherwise painful thinking.

What Do We Mean by Recovered?

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. 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. 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. All of my academic research in the last 6 years has spiritual malady meaning 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. One can see how this concept of sin disease or in other words spiritual malady could be and was applied to early AA and incorporated into the Big Book of AA. 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.

  • “Many believe that addiction not only affects individuals physically and mentally, but spiritually as well.
  • Alcoholism and addiction are diseases of a three-fold nature that affect us mentally, spiritually, and physically.
  • We drink and set off the craving and the cycle of addiction starts all over again.
  • We do not experience mental obsession or morbid reflection.

Defined as a phenomenon of craving, meaning that an individual with an addiction has a mental obsession, meaning the brain is wired in a way that will become obsessed with finding ways to get drunk, and stay drunk. We can go to an old friend’s wedding and not even notice the open bar. The desire to escape our lives through alcohol and drugs isn’t always clawing at us – in fact, we don’t even think about it. Our lives in recovery become so happy, full, and vibrant that we simply don’t find our thoughts wandering back to those dark places. There are certain benefits that can be healthy when a person obsessively seeks development and self-improvement. The first of these is that individuals that are seeking to better themselves in one way or another are often eager to learn and thus open to the experience. This allows individuals to be flexible and open-minded in their pursuit of more knowledge that can assist them in their quest for better knowledge. When someone is less emotionally stable they are more likely to question and hesitate, causing self-criticism and a lack of confidence.

What defines alcoholism?

If you find yourself struggling to stop drinking when you have commitments, engagements, or drinking in social situations where it may not be acceptable this could be a sign of issues with drinking. So, it’s important that you equip yourself with the right information. It asks them to allow themselves to have a new experience of what these things can mean to them. Perhaps they seem in conflict with providing competent medical care.

In his book, James describes four qualities of a religious or spiritual experiences that are shared by most people who experience one. Imagine the worst feeling you have ever had, and then add in the fact that in that moment you also felt utterly alone in the universe, and you have the general feeling of a spiritual malady. Many people who enter into recovery do not want to hear anything of spirituality. When they Sober Home hear words like God or spirituality, they begin to bristle with antagonism as they remember the religion of their youth or the traumas they have faced. If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the hotline is a confidential and convenient solution. The great psychiatrist Carl Jung called this a ‘low level thirst for wholeness – for union with God’.

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