He believed the craving for altered states of consciousness reflected a spiritual thirst for wholeness, and that only those who have a spiritual awakening could successfully overcome addiction. Jung’s position was ultimately incorporated into twelve-step recovery, specifically Step Twelve. Given the impact of spiritual struggle on PTSD symptoms, future research should investigate how religious and secular belief systems interact with spiritual struggle in response to trauma. For example, positive religious coping in the presence of struggle may moderate the impact of struggle on PTSD symptoms (e.g., Bjorck & Thurman, 2007), but in the absence of positive religious coping, may reflect a true absence of spiritual supports.

spiritual malady

It is a spiritual awakening to realize our attitude and outlook come from within and that we have the capacity to adjust them when we make a conscious choice to do so. Just because we may have had a shitty day thus far doesn’t mean that it has to continue in that direction. One of the core characteristics that makes people vulnerable to addiction (and is also amplified as a consequence of active addiction) is a sense of internal emptiness—a pervasive feeling of being hollow, empty, of something missing. The specific manifestation(s) of addiction represent an attempt to fill this emptiness from the outside. Substances, activities like gambling, eating, or sex, material objects, jobs, money, or people, may fill this hole, but only very temporarily.

Take Your First Step To Recovery

David Roger Clawson, M.D., is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physician with an interest in natural prevention and healing strategies for health and wellness. Foundational to this practice is the understanding of threat and defensive physiology versus safety and restorative physiology. Finally, someone explained to me that those things are not the insanity that the Big Book talks about; nor are those things why the alcoholic’s life becomes unmanageable. The idea is to look for a spiritual solution to an addiction problem, as this type of issue affects more than someone physically.

  • The role of physical dependence and psychological addiction in alcoholism partly explain why those with alcohol use disorder are unable to moderate or discontinue use.
  • Among the mechanisms that may predict PTSD symptoms is spiritual struggle, a set of negative religious cognitions related to understanding or responding to stressful events.
  • To beat their addiction, people must face the reality that there is indeed a power larger than themselves.
  • For example, one can engage in psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Other cognitions that may predict spiritual struggle include pre-trauma self-appraisals (R. A. Bryant & Guthrie, 2007), attributional style (Gray et al., 2007), and coping self-efficacy beliefs (Benight & Bandura, 2004).
  • So long as we make an active effort to address our spiritual malady every day, we will find relief from it, one day at a time.

Today’s guide explores the spiritual malady meaning in the context of 12-step recovery groups like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous). According to AA, spiritual malady is often fueled by resentments and renders life unmanageable. When we are under threat, we create a bias towards negative, selfish, aggressive and prejudiced thoughts.

The Spiritual Malady of Addiction: What Is It Exactly?

This includes addressing the mental, physical, and spiritual elements of addiction. Now, while there are plenty of people who recover without a spiritual practice, many people argue that spirituality must be the cornerstone of our recovery. This is true of many people who recover and heal in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Other cognitions that may predict spiritual struggle include pre-trauma self-appraisals (R. A. Bryant & Guthrie, 2007), attributional style (Gray et al., 2007), and coping self-efficacy beliefs (Benight & Bandura, 2004). The present findings suggest that trauma exposure results in PTSD symptoms in part through the negative cognitions of spiritual struggle. Spiritual struggle may relate to PTSD symptoms in complex ways, a consideration for future research evaluating causal direction. For instance, negative appraisals of the trauma could lead to initial symptoms of PTSD, and negative religious appraisals of the PTSD symptoms themselves could relate to their long-term maintenance. In support of the latter notion, theorists have speculated that psychopathology could impair religious functioning and give rise to spiritual struggles (Hill & Kilian, 2003). Many theories of PTSD share the premise that PTSD symptoms are caused and maintained by a person’s cognitive efforts to cope with the traumatic event (Keane, Fisher, Krinsley, & Niles, 1994).

How to Understand How an Addict May Suffer Spiritually

Finally, enrollment in the study in no way influenced whether a student experienced trauma during the study, ensuring that the choice of being in the study did not interact with the manipulation. For these reasons, we can be confident that the sample did not self-select based on variables related to the study questions. This study also isolated components of spiritual struggle and their individual relationships with trauma and PTSD symptoms. Reappraisals to a punishing God, reappraisals of God’s powers, and expressions of spiritual discontent partially mediated the relationship between trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms.

Our results indicate that clinicians must recognize that religious and spiritual beliefs may be present not only as a resource but as a negative force in the face of stressful life events. Care must be taken to assess clients’ personal feelings toward their spiritual struggle and support personal growth while challenging maladaptive cognitions. Some clients may benefit from treatments designed for spiritual struggles (e.g., Cole & Pargament, 1999; Murray-Swank & Pargament, 2005). Effectiveness of such treatments may lie in allowing victims to alter the meaning of their trauma in order to view the world, themselves, and a higher power in more benevolent and flexible ways. At Time 1, participants reported their history of trauma exposure using the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ; Kubany et al., 2000) in order to anchor the baseline PTSD symptoms (see below) to an event. The TLEQ assesses the occurrence of 22 potentially traumatic events (e.g., life-threatening illness) and asks participants to indicate whether they experienced fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the event, in accordance with diagnostic criteria for PTSD (American Psychiatric Association, 2000).

The Spiritual Malady: How to Attain Peace of Mind and Lasting Happiness

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). Although spiritual awakenings are often part of the recovery process, obviously they are far from unique to people in recovery. Such awakenings need not involve religion or “finding God.” In a general sense the experience relates to recognizing and beginning to internalize a connection with that which is beyond self. Some people have an image of an instantaneously life-changing event—the equivalent of being struck by a bolt of lightening or being spoken to by a burning bush (a la Moses) or some similarly dramatic and unmistakable occurrence. They may anticipate a sensational event that will forever change their lives, permanently elevating them above the routine din of the daily grind, and giving them the secret to ongoing happiness.

  • By using this approach, a recovering addict can experience a notable change in their outlook.
  • The physical allergy is the concept that once a drink or a drug enters the body of an individual with alcohol use disorder (AUD) or substance use disorder (SUD), they cannot stop.
  • Whether you seek to engage in formal prayer, informal mental conversations, or merely by doing good and putting positive energy into the universe, there is no right or wrong way to pray to your higher power.
  • In fact, the world’s threat load is extremely high and it, too, is being reflected in systemic dysfunction.

Addiction is a spiritual disease because it represents an individual’s attempt to disconnect from reality and any sense of spirituality. Simply put, they feel a terrible loneliness at their very soul or center of being. However, this does not mean, necessarily, they’ve abandoned their faith. The practice of compassion is a spiritual experience with a spillover benefit—compassion breeds more compassion. Scientific research provides evidence that the experience of compassion toward a single individual facilitates compassion toward others. Empirical data also demonstrates that our sense of compassion increases measurably when we can find commonality and connection with others.

Sorry for being so direct in this blog, it is a message of hope, there is a way to completely turn your life around. In general, humans, like most species, have four fundamental or primary phenotypes (even these can be subdivided), or genetic expressions, that are reflected in our chemical soup, mitochondria, cells, tissues, organs, emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and relationships. Particularly notable to this discussion is what we look like in threat. In threat, we can be mobilized towards aggressive or reactive defenses or we can be immobilized into passive or submissive defenses. Both phenotypes are helpful for survival, but long-term defense states are ultimately destructive to us.

spiritual malady

Participants were categorized into trauma and non-trauma groups based on interim trauma exposure. If a participant endorsed on the TLEQ at Time 2 having experienced an event at least one time and endorsed the follow-up question indicating fear, helplessness, or horror in response to the event, he or she was considered to have experienced trauma. If at Time 2 a participant endorsed only an event on the CSLES, or endorsed an event on the TLEQ but reported no fear, helplessness, or horror in response, he or she was categorized into the non-trauma group. Baseline PTSD symptoms were assessed at Time 1 in response to a prior traumatic or stressful event. Interim traumatic and stressful events were assessed at Time 2, followed by subsequent spiritual struggle and PTSD symptoms. The development and maintenance of PTSD symptoms have been shown to relate to particular negative cognitions after trauma exposure, including negative appraisals of the trauma and its implications (Dunmore, Clark, & Ehlers, 2001; Ehlers, Mayou, & Bryant, 1998).

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