MALADY in Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 Steps and 12 Traditions

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 (the  Twelve Steps) 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. 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.

There are many persons in recovery who are not interested in discussing or even hearing about spirituality. What activities or habits have caused harm to my physical health? Many of us say that we have the right to do whatever we want to our own bodies.

What Is Spiritual Malady and How Do We Become Well?

Carl Jung viewed addiction as a spiritual malady and addicts as frustrated spiritual seekers. 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. 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.

Spiritual awakenings don’t necessarily happen the way we might expect, along a timeline we prefer, or in a form obvious to us. Spiritual awakenings often evolve so gradually that they are almost imperceptible. And only when our eyes, ears, mind, and heart are fully open, are we positioned to discern, receive, and appreciate them. Our angels live in safety and our devils live in threat—and we all have both. It is therefore imperative that we evaluate and understand threat well. We look very different in these different phenotypical states.

The Missing Piece: The Spiritual Malady Part II

Acknowledge that you are scrupulous, that you frequently perform unusual rituals to “get right” with God, that you struggle to see moral truth clearly especially when it pertains to your own decision making. Acknowledging that you have a spiritual malady is the first step to overcoming it. The practice of compassion is a spiritual experience with a spillover benefit—compassion breeds more compassion.

  • So let me say up front that when we talk about the spiritual side of recovery, we’re not talking about religion or rules.
  • Our bodies are the place from which we, as humans, do life.
  • Whenever you find yourself feeling irritable discontent bored with your life or depressed it is likely that you may have skipped meditation or prayer.
  • So mistreating our bodies is sort of like setting our own house on fire.

For others, it may manifest as anger, anxiety, or depression. The thoughts we have as alcoholics are often insidious in such a way that we can’t tell what is true or false. The AA Big Book talks about this delusion we develop in active addiction. Thoughts like we can eventually manage our lives while in active addiction. Unlike normal people (whatever that means) alcoholics are unsettled to the core.

A Question About Marital Intimacy and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body

We will compartmentalize thoughts and stuff emotions away. These are our thought suppressions and emotional repressions that also bias the system towards threat physiology. When we are threatened, we also have two defensive phenotypes. One is a mobilization response to threat where we can prejudge, react, attack, argue, criticize, blame, and experience interpersonal disconnections. This is frequently referred to as “fight and flight” physiology. The other threat phenotype is one of relative immobilization where we retreat, ruminate, isolate, dissociate and experience bodily and spiritual disconnections.

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