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When the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous was written and published in 1939, the times and language of those times was incredibly different than modern times. In this study, reports of trauma exposure had a small relationship with PTSD symptoms, a finding also reported in other college student samples (e.g., Frazier et al., 2009). The malevolent worldview and disrupted relationship with God characteristic of spiritual struggle may lead to the perceptions of threat or loss that cause and maintain PTSD symptoms (Ehlers & Clark, 2000).

spiritual malady

We use everything and everyone, even when we stop using alcohol and drugs to cope with these feelings of being unsatisfied and uncomfortable in life. The more we focus less on ourselves we allow a god of our understanding to enter our minds and work in our lives. 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. There are many persons in recovery who are not interested in discussing or even hearing about spirituality. In fact, they may tense up when they hear words like “God” and “spirituality.” This reaction may cause them to remember a past negative experience – an episode in their life that may cause them to recall a traumatic event they’d sooner rather forget.

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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. Financial threat and injury have similar effects to physical threat and injury, too. This means those things that are not solid- such as our thoughts, our beliefs, our emotions- are what is spiritual. When we say that alcoholism or drug addiction is ‘a spiritual malady’, it means that our disease in centered in these things (thoughts, beliefs, emotions). Research on relationships between spirituality and psychological trauma outcomes has advanced to the point that there is no doubt that interventions addressing spiritual distress can provide critically needed help to trauma survivors who want spiritually integrated care.

spiritual malady

Spiritual struggle partially mediated the relationship between trauma and PTSD symptoms. These results suggest that spiritual struggle is an important cognitive mechanism for many trauma victims and may have relevance for cognitive therapy for PTSD. 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.

The Spiritual Malady: How to Attain Peace of Mind and Lasting Happiness

Although spiritual awakenings are often part of the recovery process, obviously they are far from unique to people in recovery. Such awakenings need not involve religion or “finding God.” In a general sense the experience relates to recognizing and beginning to internalize a connection with that which is beyond self. Some people have an image of an instantaneously life-changing event—the equivalent of being struck by a bolt of lightening or being spoken to by a burning bush (a la Moses) or some similarly dramatic and unmistakable occurrence. They may anticipate a sensational event that will forever change their lives, permanently elevating them above the routine din of the daily grind, and giving them the secret to ongoing happiness. If you’re not ready to talk to friends or family members, reach out to a support group or supportive person. There are many support groups/people online and you might also find a few locally.

spiritual malady

In sobriety, it is so important to maintain conscious contact with a higher power and count our blessings. We must live our lives selflessly and show our gratitude to a higher power for the lives that we live and the opportunity to have a second chance at life. As we work towards this state of selflessness we find that we are slowly being relieved of the hopeless alcoholic state we once thought we were doomed to be in forever. It is constant maintenance of being spiritually connected with a god of your understanding. This is the type of spiritually maladapted behavior that we typically exhibit in active alcoholism. When not treating the spiritual aspect of the disease those behaviors are the types of things that will start to make life unmanageable once again.

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These traits defy written or verbal description, as they convey an innate understanding of the cosmos and are also transient, meaning the experiences do not last forever. Also, they are passive, in the sense that people do not have an influence over the phenomenon. Alcoholics Anonymous bases the 12-step program on 12 affirmations, or what they call 12 traditions. These expressions that help people recovering from addiction regain a spiritual footing once again.

For these reasons, we can be confident that the sample did not self-select based on variables related to the study questions. Many theories of PTSD share the premise that PTSD symptoms are caused and maintained by a person’s cognitive efforts to cope with the traumatic event (Keane, Fisher, Krinsley, & Niles, 1994). For example, information processing theories implicate faulty spiritual malady processing of and cognitions about the trauma memory in the development and maintenance of PTSD (Foa & Kozak, 1986; Resick & Calhoun, 2001). Thankfully, the “spiritual malady” is no longer a “missing piece” of Step One for me. 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.

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