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. I didn’t get spiritually sick as a result of alcoholism, my spiritual sickness predated my alcoholism and contributed to me becoming an alcoholic because I believed alcohol to be the solution. But such a transformation may be more accessible than it initially sounds.
What does abject ignorance mean?
1 utterly wretched or hopeless. 2 miserable; forlorn; dejected.
High sponsor involvement over time has been found to predict longer recovery . Sponsorship embodies the fellowship’s altruistic orientation, reflecting a “helping and helper therapy principle” . Sponsorship plays an important role in the recovery process. The basic tenet of this, is that it takes one alcoholic to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. This has been borne out in millions of cases around the world. Today this would be termed “despite negative consequences”. There are no individualistic programs or people simply doing their own thing, it is a collective program of action. The most beautiful thing about me most days is the fruits of my recovery. I relate to my fellow human beings when I am not in fear or shame.
Spirituality in Recovery Means Freedom
Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychological condition. Know him therefore who is above reason; and let his peace give thee peace. Be a warrior and slay desire, the powerful enemy of the soul. What Power is it that drives a man to act sinfully, even unwillingly, as if powerlessly.
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. It’s the “spiritual malady”, as manifested by my EGO (selfishness-self-centeredness), that can eventually lead me back to drinking or sometimes even suicide. I read quite a lot of Spiritual Books from people such as Eckart Tolle, Anthony De Mello, Wayne Dyer amongst other more Eastern Spiritual teachers & they all point towards the same Human dysfunctionality born out of the Ego. We have this sense of separation not long after Birth thus our Ego is constantly living in Fear & fighting for survival. We fear not getting what we believe we deserve, we fear not been seen how we think we should be seen, we fear losing the things we have, we fear Death & our default setting is self will run riot.
Recovery is a Journey
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. I can manage my spiritual malady or emotional dysfunction, I have the tools to do so. I do not necessarily have to react to my feelings of negativity about myself, someone else does not need to experience spiritual malady aa the consequence of my resentments. If we practice virtues instead of defects then the brain changes for the better and we recover quicker. Our positive loving, healthy behaviours change us and our brains via neuroplasticity for the better. As I would have had a resentment, it would have had a wolf pack of negative emotions attached.
— Box 459 (@box459) January 11, 2011
It is a strange feeling of not wanting to be found out of being less than, not good enough. “If people realise what the real me is like, they will reject me! ” type thinking although a lot of this is unconscious and does not pop in to our minds as thoughts but is an unconscious self schema that shapes our behaviours. Most of all with the clarity that my program and practices has provided, I have become open to a more intimate relationship with God. Faith as an experience, as opposed to a philosophical construct alone, has become a working part of my life. My spiritual awakening has transformed the powerlessness that I once endured into a source of power through my faithful adherence to practices and a healing renewal of faith in a power greater than myself. When I was in my own personal cycle of addiction, I was struggling with coping with the challenges of my career, marriage, and my own personal development.
Contact Your First Step’s National Hotline
For me we engage futilely and distressingly in resentment because we have an inability to process and control our emotions, they overwhelm us and we often react by people pleasing or react via various defense mechanisms . This is how a mental health disorder manifests itself as distorted fear based thinking which appear, if acted upon, to make one’s situation a whole lot worse. This is similar to relying on external means, i.e. alcohol, drugs, addictive behaviours to regulate our emotions and bolster our low self esteem. In hindsight, this seems like such a simple shift in perspective — perhaps even obvious — but accepting it at the time was momentous for me. This difference in perspective, which I learned from AA, is marked by what one assumes about being human.
We rely on others in terms of how we feel about ourselves. 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. Greater than the mind is reason; and greater than reason is He – the spirit in man and in all. AA provides many ways of becoming more emotionally well, which ultimately means more emotionally mature. 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 was 80 years ago, so our knowledge base has moved on greatly from when the Big Book was written. Hence I believe we should appreciate that this definition of our condition has been updated by research into emotions especially in the last 20 years.
Dear God, Why Me? And a Million Other Valid Questions You’ve Probably Asked…
I have experienced an entirely different life after it was lifted. Honestly I didn’t believe it was possible until it happened. That’s why it’s so important to tell and help others by our experience. This sin disease had very real psychological, emotional and physical and physiological effect on the mind and body.
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. 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.
What it Means to Suffer from a Spiritual Malady
The thoughts we have as alcoholics are often insidious in such a way that we can’t tell what is true or false. The Big Book talks about this delusion we develop in active addiction. As addicts we can become so focused on the outward form our addiction takes – whether that booze, drugs, sex, overeating, etc. – that we overlook its deep roots at the core of our being. This spiritual malady is the restless spirit, the soul sickness that if left untreated will begin to ooze symptoms of emotional insecurity worry, anger, self-pity, and depression, even if we have been sober for years. At Oceanfront Recovery, our team of addiction treatment professionals understands how to approach alcohol addiction as the chronic disease it is. We offer extensive detox and therapies to help individuals address the physical aspects of the disease as well as the psychological and spiritual aspects. I did not realize how it drove and controlled me until now. And the fear of my higher power and of ever having that craving again is exactly why I don’t want to drink.
For example, false pride, intolerance, impatience, arrogance, shame, lust, gluttony, greed. Thoughts like we can eventually manage our lives while in active addiction. Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Learn why honesty is a critical characteristic in sobriety and recovery. We should be able to just put the plug in the jug and move on with our lives. They oversimplify our problem and solution and can send the wrong information. 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. I lost my son, my wife, my job, my home, my car, my friends my retirement acct and all my other money too. While in treatment, though I prayed a lot and tried to focus on «the spiritual aspect» my early progress became stalled, after a point, until I could achieve a couple of more-or-less «academic» understandings.
Here we have an abnormal reaction to alcohol and for some alcoholics a maladjustment 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. The spiritual principles of AA and the 12 steps in particular were drawn from the 4 absolutes of the Oxford group, via initially the 6 steps and the idea of a spiritual malady is also borrowed from the Oxford group. I do not believe I have the same spiritual malady as other normal people such as those people who were in the Oxford Group.
‘ When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically. ‘ — Alcoholics Anonymous — AA Big Book — pg 64
— AABB164 (@AABB164) April 26, 2011
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. Sometimes the shame persists for some time and I try to relieve it by behavioral addictions, too much shopping, too much eating, too much objectification of Sober Home the opposite sex. My past constantly assailed me emotionally, randomly attacking my mind. I realised when doing my step 4 that that I had not previously been able to leave various supposed slights and abuses from my past in the past because I did not have the emotional maturity to look at these episodes reasonably and objectively. When I was doing my step four inventory as part of my 12 step programme of recovery I did it pretty much as suggested in the Big Book.
- The reason is that our reaction to alcohol and drugs is physical, it’s not mental.
- If we do not get spiritually connected with meditation or prayer with a power greater than us it will bring us closer and closer to that drink or drug.
- He then offered his definition of the word ‘spiritual’.
- In order to fully recover from alcoholism, addiction and addictive behaviours, we find we have to trust at least one other human being.
However, you choose to interact with that higher power is also up to you. 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. Once you open up to this idea and implement that spiritual connection, you will experience your long-awaited spiritual awakening, the answer to that pesky spiritual malady we suffer from as alcoholics. Thankfully, the“spiritual malady”is no longer a“missing piece”of Step One for me.
In other words it is the consequence of my fear based condition, this affective disorder. 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. Once we are aware of these feelings we can begin the real work on ourselves. It is not easy to do so but recognizing this aspect of alcoholism forces us to take an honest look in the mirror at our behaviors and attitudes towards life and other people. If we do not get spiritually connected with meditation or prayer with a power greater than us it will bring us closer and closer to that drink or drug. In sobriety, if we are self-reliant we usually end up using anything that will make us feel good externally excessively. 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.” When men and women look inwardly, the spiritual component of the disease becomes apparent. 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.