Addiction: A Disease of Spirituality
“Spirituality” is a vague term, but it means a lot…
especially for addicts and recovering addicts. Addiction affects your spirituality, which can be broadly defined as anything “of or relating to the spirit.” Your spirituality is your own individual path toward inner peace and happiness. It’s the quality of your spirit and the way you feel connected to the world around you.
Addiction affects your spirituality in a deeply devastating way.
Rather than follow your moral compass and do positive things, addiction sends you down a path of destruction and immoral acts. While some people use religion as a means of achieving a spiritual state, you do not need to believe in any higher power to be spiritual; it is simply a matter of right versus wrong.
As the disease of addiction grabs hold of your body, it is begins to affect your spirit. Gradually, as your addiction damages you physically, you begin to be broken down spiritually, too. You start by lying about your drug or alcohol use to others (as well as yourself). Eventually, you will forego your morals in order to get your fix, stealing and hurting others when necessary. You become a person who you and your loved ones don’t even recognize, because you are saying and doing things that you would’ve considered morally wrong in the past when you were sober.
Once you decide to quit using and get clean, you don’t automatically go back to being a totally moral person. When the fog of drugs and alcohol lifts, you will begin to remember your morals, and it will be easier for you to distinguish right from wrong. Truly repairing your spirituality, however, will take time. Unfortunately, immortality is a habit you’ll also need to break.
The flood of intense and confusing emotions that you need to deal with in recovery are mostly spiritual. It’s extremely common for people in recovery to feel guilty about immoral things they did during their active addiction. Forgiving yourself isn’t easy, but it is essential; if you can’t learn to feel good about the person you are in recovery, you’ll go back to your addiction.
In recovery, your spirituality can keep you strong. As you improve your spiritual side, you’ll be less likely to relapse. Fixing your moral and spirituality will require practice. The most important thing to start with is honesty. The recovery process demands honesty and truthfulness, starting with the admission to yourself and others that you are an addict. Most addicts become so used to and so good at lying that telling the truth can be extremely hard in early recovery.
Addiction fellowships (like AA and others) are meant to address spirituality and help members readjust their moral compasses. A strong support system (outside of a fellowship, too) can help you stay on the right moral track by providing positive guidance. It’s important to have people who make you feel “safe” so that you can be honest without fearing rejection.
Addiction is a physical disease, but it’s also a disease of spirituality and morality. If you don’t seek help for addiction, you’re letting your spirit be crushed. Fortunately, damage to your spirit doesn’t have to be permanent – as long as you concentrate on your spirituality in recovery.
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