What it Means to Suffer from a Spiritual Malady

It is a reality of my powerlessness and unmanageability and enables me to see why I so desperately need to seek a Power Greater than myself. And unless this malady is recognized, and a course of action is taken to enable God to remove it, the root of our alcoholic illness can lie dormant and burn us when we least expect it. 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 spiritual malady aa 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 12-Steps focus on addressing and fixing the spiritual problems that led us into our addiction, and by doing so, we find that they allow us to positively change our mental and physical issues. Yeah I did kind of think that The Doctors Opinion is more about the allergy to alcohol after all it is from a Doctor.

For example there is an undercurrent in fear of things being taken away, of it being because we are not good enough, deserving enough, have failed in some way, which are shame based reactions. One of my own difficulties is realising I am hungry or tired and I can often end up exhausted by over-doing stuff especially manual work around my house. My stop button broke a long time a ago and probably did not work very well to begin with. We seem to compulsively seek to relieve an inherent distress of not having what we set out to get. Our decision making seems fueled at times by this need to relieve distress rather than the intrinsic value of what we are seeking. We can not rely on our thoughts and feelings or, in other words, our Self Will. Our self will has become impaired and is no longer in the service of our successful survival. As a result we are guarded against those that we perceive will reject us or be negative to us, harm us in some way and we seek to dominate these folk or we are dependent on those who are kind to us, help us and care for us. We are in a sense co-dependent on other people for our sense of esteem.

December 21, 2020 by Burning Tree Programs in

In other words, I had not processed these episodes emotionally and embedded these events in my long term memory like healthy more emotionally mature people do. I did not realise that the engine driving this emotion dysregulation was chronic shame. I can get out of the distress of wanting/needing stuff by asking God to remove those negative emotions which block me off from Him. This allows me to do a quick inventory of my negative emotions and a prayer to God to have them removed. My experience is that they are always removed and that we are immediately restored to sanity. For me he was seeing the root of this spiritual malady, this emotional disease. I would add to this that I also get distress via fears of rejection from others, I suffer from fear based shame to a chronic extent. 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.

My affective disorder via various neural and cognitive – affective mechanisms leads to chronic substance use and dependency of these substances. This emotional immaturity is referenced throughout the Big Book I believe. For me this maladjustment to life is not exactly the same as the spiritual disease mentioned spiritual malady aa in the Oxford Group pamphlet. I am not advocating changing anything, I hope AA recovery remains as it is for 80 more years and much more years. I would not change one word in the first 164 pages of the BB. It is strange paradox, the more you focus on helping others, the more you discover how much you matter.

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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. Addiction and alcoholism are both a 3 fold disease, meaning there are three distinct areas that alcoholism affects and the reason you cannot stop drinking and using. 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.
spiritual malady aa
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. 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.

What Does AA Mean By “Spiritual Malady”?

My emotions became wedded in time to being undifferentiated arousal states that prompted me to seek an external way to deal with these troubling emotional/arousal states. Either way, if he could perhaps of had the ability to say this is how exactly I am feeling he could have acted on this emotional information rather than reacted to it. In fact the Big Book gives me a good idea of the “sins” or “defects of character” I have when I have a resentment but does not explain why I have resentments in the first place. Desiring stuff seems at the root of my fear based stuff – the exquisite torture of desire which soon loses it’s so-called relish and just becomes torturous.

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  • The list of emotional difficulties continues throughout the Big book’s first 164 pages.
  • My step 4 and then 5 showed me that I did not have the natural ability to deal with my negative emotions.
  • Honestly I didn’t believe it was possible until it happened.

I could identify when he went on to say, “the spiritual malady refers to a derangement of our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. These things are out of whack and not aligned.“ The process of recovery is useful to remedy this problem. I’ve struggled with a consistent practice of steps with now 19 yrs of sobriety. I was reading last night in I Peter about living in a way that my prayers are not be hindered. And the book by Chuck C , A New Pair of Glasses, defining the SM as a feeling of consciously separated from God. Thats why when I work with people, i try to have them read the chapter More about alcoholism where it stresses more on the mental part of the disease. And thats what the authors of the big book also suggests. MARR Addiction Treatment Centers specialize in treating individuals whose lives have been destroyed by addiction. Relying on 45 years of experience in the treatment industry, MARR identifies each individual’s underlying issues and uses clinically proven techniques to treat them.

It did not matter what I had or did because I was not enough. I did not feel myself enough as myself – smart enough, talented enough, good-looking enough, and so on. I was trapped with all I could ask for, while feeling ashamed and all alone in the world. And when an addict feels trapped, the bottle or drug or casino is one sure thing with which to escape. What we used once to regulate negative emotions and a sense of self has eventually come to regulate our emotions to such an extent that any distress leads to the compulsive response of drinking. Alcoholics had become a compulsive disorder to relief distress not to induce pleasure. I contend that alcoholism is an emotional disorder which results in chemical dependency on the substance of alcohol. However in order to treat it we have to first contend with the symptomatic manifestation of this disorder, chronic alcohol use, as it is the most life threatening aspect of this disorder when we present our selves at AA. For me this section is saying our emotion dysregulation leads to feelings of being “restless, irritable and discontented” which prompt a return to drinking.

What does abject ignorance mean?

1 utterly wretched or hopeless. 2 miserable; forlorn; dejected.

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. There is no church you must attend or strict practices you must adhere to in organized worship of said higher power, it is a completely individual and personal experience. The Dr opinion quoted above with regards to entirely normal people appears to suggest that these alcoholics do not have a spiritual sickness or malady.

Even after someone is completely detoxed and has all alcohol or drugs removed from their body, they will still obsess about drinking or using. Frequently, individuals who struggle with alcohol addiction are also experiencing a mental health issue like an anxiety disorder or a depressive disorder. Abusing alcohol is a form of self-medicating that, at first and superficially, seems to help. However, it quickly becomes apparent that doing so is only masking the underlying issues. Similarly, those who struggle with alcohol addiction are more susceptible to developing a mental health issue.

After reading ‘The Doctor’s Opinion,’ ‘Bill’s Story,’ and ‘There is a Solution,’ in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, we came to an understanding that we have no control whatsoever over alcohol or drugs. When we have the first sip of a drink, or whiff of a drug, it is then controlling our bodies. Once we indulge in the first drink, our judgment and normal concerns are skewed. Sober House Selfishness and self -centeredness is the root of my trouble. My troubles are of my own making and arise out my living a life run on self-will. I must be God centered instead of self centered and God directed rather than self directed . The specific directions in the first 102 pages of the book Alcoholic Anonymous. Keep in mind that this is separate from the physical craving.

William James wrote the book The Variety of Religious Experiences in 1902 and it is a book that is actually talked about in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. In his book, James describes four qualities of a religious or spiritual experiences that are shared by most people who experience one. The spiritual malady of addiction is essentially the fact that at some point in the addict’s life, they managed to cut themselves off from existence and any notion of spirituality. This does not mean that they removed themselves from religion, although the two can be synonymous, but it simply means that within their soul or the core of their being, they suffer from a profound loneliness. Especially being alcoholic more often than not, it is our nature to have that “my way or the highway” mentality. Intellectually, believing in something we cannot physically see or a scientifically proven exists is a hard pill to swallow, those intellectual individuals shut the idea out completely. These core beliefs make it harder for us to connect with a god of our understanding. Is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.

What is the 10th step promise?

We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part.