Conveniently, I overlooked the words ‘God as you understand Him (or Her’) ingeniously included in the steps. Finally, someone explained to me that those things are not the insanity that the Big Book talks about; nor are those things why the alcoholic’s life becomes unmanageable. For Rowland Hazard, myself, or for any alcoholic who believes that self knowledge is King, the Spiritual Malady is firmly seated and winning. At the 71st General Service Conference annual meeting, held online over April 17 to April 25, 2021, a revision to the AA Preamble was approved through advisory action. The change replaced the words men and women with the word people in the first sentence of the Preamble. While it’s hard to truly quantify what catches on in the realm of pop culture, it’s often fun to try. First, the writing flows, and is well edited/constructed.
My own example is that of a man who believed, and foolishly, that I had the brain power to understand and overcome any obstacle in life. And , my best thinking landed me unable to move on my bathroom floor with alcohol poisoning, a breath away from death and destruction of my family unit. Through closely examining our Big Book, along with much experience and practice with our Twelve Steps, as well as vigorous work with other alcoholics, the missing piece of Step 1 appears to be what is referred to on page 64 as the spiritual malady. The AA Preamble Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. There are certain benefits that can be healthy when a person obsessively seeks development and self-improvement. The first of these is that individuals that are seeking to better themselves in one way or another are often eager to learn and thus open to the experience. This allows individuals to be flexible and open-minded in their pursuit of more knowledge that can assist them in their quest for better knowledge. When someone is less emotionally stable they are more likely to question and hesitate, causing self-criticism and a lack of confidence. The confidence that is gained by those who are more emotionally stable can aid them in decision-making and their ability to take needed risks. The third positive benefit is that someone who is obsessively seeking to improve has greater interpersonal sensitivity.
Trivia About The Spiritual Mal…
Our positive loving, healthy behaviours change us and our brains via neuroplasticity for the better. As I would have had a resentment, it would have had a wolf pack of negative emotions attached. 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. Most of my distress and emotional pain in recovery comes from wanting stuff, and not getting my way or not accepting things as they are. We begin to obsess and buy the lie because we want to feel the ease and comfort of the first drink. We drink and set off the craving and the cycle of addiction starts all over again.
Is it true that once an alcoholic always an alcoholic?
Treatment and Recovery
The saying “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” exists because recovery is not an easy process, and it can sometimes take years to find a methodology that works and is sustainable for an individual; there are often relapses that take place on the road to recovery.
That was certainly not my case in my alcoholism or the other forms of addiction that I have experienced over my lifetime. No, the addict desperately wants to control that which he cannot imagine life without. “… unacknowledged thoughts and feelings become repressed and surface later through substitute emotions and dysfunctional behavior. Other emotions are substituted to hide the shame and maintain self esteem. Anger, exaggerated pride, anxiety and helplessness are substituted to keep from feeling the total blackness of being bad. The buried shame is expressed through defense mechanisms that shield negative unconscious material from surfacing. He “had to” react with arrogance, dismissiveness, impatience and intolerance, because his shame, which is a fear based emotion, made him fearful of his own recovery and fear makes one strangely dishonest , This is my experience. For me we engage futilely and distressingly in resentment because we have an inability to process and control our emotions, they overwhelm us and we often react by people pleasing or react via various defense mechanisms .
Recovery is a Journey
I didn’t have to struggle to understand the message, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. I look at the past fleetingly sometimes to help others but I never stare at it too long. We have a sea change in how we think and feel about ourselves and the world around us. It is almost miraculous, the sudden transformative effect it can have on us. We often take them to grave sooner rather than later unless we decide to be open and share our secrets with another person. Shameful secrets can fester in the dark recesses of our minds and inflame our hearts with recrimination and resentment. Who has been where you have been, felt how you have felt. AA saved my life and I can never put into words the gratitude I have for AA.
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 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. Spiritually, we have a difficult time connecting to a higher power. It is common to find yourself being angry at God or saying things like “if God was real this wouldn’t have happened to me” or not understanding why things are the way they are. Thoughts like we can eventually manage our lives while in active addiction.
I cannot express how happy it has allowed my wife, family and friends to become. Hence his first day of sobriety is taken as the first day of AA, although the AA organisation as we know it today took longer to come in to being. AA was co-founded 80 years ago when Bill Wilson passed on a message of hope to Dr Bob, or Dr Robert Smith to give his full name. I relate to my fellow human beings when I am not in fear or shame. Nobody wants to be out of control, to be teetering on the verge of the next disaster, the next moving of home, the next calling of the police, the next swirling carousel of unmanageabiilty. When things had died down and calm restored I spent the evening not in my fear or shame but in empathy and compassion.
For example, this family have just moved into my neighbourhood, they seem wild and out of control. My step 4 showed me this is the unhealthy fruit of my greed, gluttony, my lust, my sloth. We have to show love and tolerance for each other as we suffer the same illness/malady. Dismissing others like us for having what we have and acting as we do is like a form of self loathing. We have to forgive ourselves and each other for being ill. Self compassion allows us to be compassionate towards others. We are far from being Saints but have a solution Saints would approve and achieve a kind of transient sanctity in this 12 step solution of letting go and letting God. I also impressed upon him that mostly I can manage this emotional dysfunction but often I fail to and get into a resentful anger. Attempting to live according to God’s Will also helps me not react but to act with Grace. As a result this guy put the newcomer down to alleviate his own sense of self, his low self esteem.
The 12-Step program is not a temporary fix or a short-term solution. It is the solution, but it only works as long as the individual is willing to engage in 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 Sober House 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. Most other treatment methods for alcoholism and addiction do not sufficiently address the three-fold nature of our deadly disease.
Not at all offended. The condescension has been much appreciated. The unwillingness to explain what you assert (which is the main thing you say you like about the article) is frustrating, & also, if you mean anything by it, puzzling. What is a ‘spiritual’ malady?
— ewan (@ewan31500487) June 10, 2022
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. This is why we at Jaywalker Lodge prefer the spiritual approach of the 12-Step program as outlined in the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is emotionally healthy to accept our past experiences, however painful, as past events and move on to a richer, more fulfilling future. I would suggest in relation to the issue of co-morbidities that one try to deal with these alcoholism related issues and then see if there are any other to deal with afterwards. For me, as someone who has been treated for anxiety and depression prior to recovery the 12 steps appear to have treated these as emotional consequences of my underlying condition of emotion dysregulation which I call alcoholism. Unlike other diseases, addiction contains a spiritual component referred to by 12 Step recovery fellowships as a “spiritual malady.” The spiritual component of the disease is of major importance, and requires spiritual treatment to be overcome.
The mind and alcoholism are so cunning, baffling and powerful that we often cannot fathom how we ended up intoxicated when relying on our strong willpower to stay sober. The thoughts we have as alcoholics are often insidious in such a way that we can’t tell what is true or false. The Big Book talks about this delusion we develop in active addiction. Anyone can be spiritually maladapted, but as an alcoholic, we use alcohol to deal with having a spiritual malady. Many people say that alcoholics have a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. For the addict or alcoholic, this often times means working the Steps and in the process of working these steps, getting the required “psychic change” that will expel the obsession to use and allow you to live a meaningful and happy life. How this works, I can’t say for certain but it does work and very often at some point during working the Steps, the addict or alcoholic will notice that they have had a complete shift in the way they view life.
- For example, false pride, intolerance, impatience, arrogance, shame, lust, gluttony, greed.
- A Power greater than myself, and only that Power, will help.
- Because it has worked to change the lives of most of us who work here.
- 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.
- For me this section is saying our emotion dysregulation leads to feelings of being “restless, irritable and discontented” which prompt a return to drinking.
As overwhelming as I’m sure this all may seem for someone who’s either never had a spiritual connection, or been disconnected for years, I’d like to assure you it’s not as formidable as it may seem. But first, it’s crucial that you understand the difference between a spiritual experience and a religious one. While I could go on forever on the differences between these two ideas, I’ll keep it as simple as possible. If you are seeking drug and alcohol related addiction rehab for yourself or a loved one, the YourFirstStep.org hotline is a confidential and convenient solution. Show him the mental twist which leads to the ﬁrst drink of a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter on alcoholism. The AA program of recovery is a program of action, not a program of education. A person will receive a gold chip for sixty days of sobriety . The emerald chip will be given once an individual is sober for ninety days . There is a purple chip given to those who have remained sober for four months.
The original power greater than himself, as for millions of alcoholics over the last 80 years is another alcoholic. One recovering alcoholic or a group of recovering alcoholics is a power greater than oneself. Dr Bob like Bill Wilson had intermittently stayed sober via involvement with the Oxford Group but they had always relapsed back to drinking. I respond to feelings of humiliation by humiliating you, I react to my chronic shame by attempting to created shame in you. These are my main negative emotional reactions to the world that often scare me and make me feel ashamed. I also have other ways of reacting in an emotionally unhealthy way that my step 4 showed. Instead of acting on my upset by saying to someone, you have hurt my feelings I do the opposite, I react and attack them in my head, my thoughts, my words and sometimes in my actions. I was working with someone last year and we had a disagreement and this guy said to me “I am upset” and “You have hurt my feelings” I was taken aback. This guy was an Olympic champion at expressing how he feels compared to me. I never say I am upset because it also seems to be an undifferentiated emotion that I have trouble accessing, mentalising and expressing.
What are the four horsemen in AA?
Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding com- panionship and approval. Momentarily we did—then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous Four Horsemen—Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.
The great psychiatrist Carl Jung called this a ‘low level thirst for wholeness – for union with God’. In our addictions, we tried to quench our soul-thirst with fleeting pleasures. The pursuit of them dominated our lives, destroyed relationships, and caused greater desperation than we ever thought possible. We became selfish and self-seeking, ever thirsting for more, and this lust warped us on every level. But we were never satisfied, because but the living presence of God can quench our parched souls. In a similar vein, what is a spiritual malady this afternoon I spent two-hours with a newcommer – a chronic alcoholic – whose got a degree in physcology (honest!) and yet couldn’t understand Dr Silkworth’s alergy explanation, without an explanation. That unfortunately didn’t happen but my obsession with alcohol had gone, there’s far less fear in my life, and I’ve this whole new positive attitude that I’m not eloquent enough to explain in a few sentances. When I first read the word ‘spiritual’ it had connotations of ghosts and speaking with the dead for me.