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What is a “Spiritual Malady” in 12-Step Recovery?

Addiction is a complex disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit. The spiritual component of addiction is of extreme importance. 12-Step recovery refers to the spiritual component that leads us into addiction as a “spiritual malady.” This spiritual malady, or spiritual sickness, must be overcome through adherence to a program of recovery if we are to be successful in achieving and maintain a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety.

Nearly everyone suffering from addiction and alcoholism has a feeling of emptiness. We attempted to fill the void in our soul with drugs and alcohol, and felt fleeting moments of relief, only to have our problems grow as a result of our spiritual self-medication. The pervading feelings of restlessness, irritability, and discontentment that we attempted to treat with drugs and alcohol can be overcome by embracing a spiritual solution and having a spiritual experience by working the steps suggested in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Big Book explains that there is a solution to overcoming the spiritual malady, and when we fix ourselves spiritually, we soon straighten out mentally and physical as well: “Almost none of us liked the self-searching, the leveling of our pride, the confession of shortcomings which the process requires for its successful consummation. But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.” When we develop and maintain a spiritual life, we find that all of our past negative thoughts and behaviors are shifted. As a result, we no longer fall prey to the patterns of thinking that previously led us deeper into our addictions.

The only way to overcome the spiritual malady is by having a spiritual awakening. The Twelve Steps are designed to allow us to have deep and effective spiritual experiences. The Big Book explains, “They appear in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attituded which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.” These emotional rearrangements as a result of spiritual experiences allow us to be free of the spiritual sickness and emptiness that caused us to continually turn to drugs and alcohol.

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future on the journey of recovery. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a highly effective Residential Treatment Program that includes medically-supported detoxification, maintenance care, individual therapies, counseling (including family therapy), and plans to help clients build life skills that will help them after discharge. For information about treatment options, including Residential Treatment, please call today: (833) 242-6431