Addiction is a disease. As such, most people assume addiction is the root of all an addict’s problems, with other mental health and spiritual issues as symptoms of that disease. However, addiction itself can be a symptom of another disease. In my opinion, addiction could be the result of a diseased spirit.
A quick review of what we know about addiction can present at least five ways addiction presents as a symptom rather than the root of spiritual disconnection.
1. Feeling Disconnected from the Self
There’s a reason spiritual components are almost always included in recovery processes. When we do not reconnect to the self in recovery, we relapse. This is because when there is no reconnection to the self (the spiritual being within) there is no shift in the core issue, so the symptoms return.
2. Feeling Emotionally Unavailable
Being void of feeling or incapable of emotional intimacy is characteristic of addiction. Yet, it is also a clear sign of a spiritual disconnect. Emotions and the spirit are deeply connected; we do not have one without the other. When we bury, avoid, escape or otherwise disconnect ourselves from our feelings, we disconnect ourselves spiritually as well.
3. Feeling an Inflated Ego
The ego drives active addiction. It gets in the way of help. When we are afraid, our ego keeps us in the safety of denial and yet avoiding our fears only further fuels them. We react to our denied fear with self-sabotage. We enter a cycle, as ego fuels our fears and fear then further fuels our ego.
Where love is light, fear is darkness. So, when we are in fear, we are in darkness. And, by the same token, when we are in fear, we are spiritually disconnected and our reactions come from a place of ego. When we connected to our spiritual self – through faith – our actions come from a place of love.
4. Feeling Like the Victim
Some addicts live in a state of victimization, blaming consequences of their behaviors on an external locus of control (i.e., everyone and everything but themselves). Even more, they look to everyone and everything but themselves for salvation and peace. In doing so, we completely disconnect from ourselves, our accountability, boundaries, and spirituality.
Learning to have an internal locus of control, to look inward for the answers to our issues, is the key to recovery. This change in locus of control is a re-connection to the self – the opposite of a spiritual disconnection – and it sets us on a path of holistic self-awareness, which keeps us from relapsing.
5. Feeling Self-Destructive
There are many self-destructive paths one can take, but active addiction is certainly at the top of the list for the fastest and most efficient ways to self-destruct.
Self-destructive behaviors require a disconnection from the self. When we are truly connected to ourselves, including all of the amazing qualities we have to offer, we do not want to destroy our potential. No spiritually-connecting being seeks to eliminate our dreams, our integrity or our ability to love ourselves and others.
When we reconnect with our spirits, we fall in love with ourselves again. We fall in love with the potential we have had since we entered this world to love and be loved by the spirit within and around us. Purely and unconditionally.
To remain in successful recovery, this state of connection, of loving ourselves, is where we must live. We must tend to our spiritual health. True recovery is so much more than getting sober. It’s a search-and-rescue mission for oneself, a reconnection to a spirit that does no harm.