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A Spiritual Viewpoint of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
The Spiritual part is by no means somebody’s religious standing or a New Age concept. The Spiritual aspect is the natural rhythm that all living beings, whether they want it or not, are part of.
Altering Reality through Substance Misuse
In some cases consuming drugs and alcohol is done to “get out of it”, to change the current reality that may not be to their liking. It may be a situation that they are facing, or it may be some feelings that are too painful to express, or maybe there is no enjoyment of life in general.
In fact reality is what it is, and escaping through substance misuse does not change feelings or situations but creates a separation between the substance user and life itself.
Separating Themselves From the Community
In creating a separate reality, the person using drugs or alcohol separates him/her self from the rest of the community. As the word community suggests, unity is when we all stand together, not only the people, but all the living creatures and elements on the earth, all of creation.
From a spiritual perspective community is an important factor of living. In many addiction treatment centers the focus is on learning to live in community. Long term recovery from an addiction “is much more than just abstinence, it requires a total change of lifestyle, and it is pretty much impossible without a group held together by a lot of trust.” (Ron Weller, Director of Serenity Lane,)
Indigenous People of Australia
Bob Randall is an aboriginal elder, song writer and author. In the Australian film Kanyini, he describes the loss of vital connections that were taken away from his people and how it has affected their well-being. Alcoholism, drugs and gambling are widespread throughout the aboriginal community, since the coming of the white man.
He says that substance abuse is an outcome of people being separated from their spirituality, which lies in the connection with land, family and their soul.
Relating to Others
When using drugs/alcohol as a coping mechanism it changes the natural way to live and relate with other people. It is common for people using substances to harm their relationships with family and friends. And even in their sub- cultures of drug/alcohol users there is no real cohesion. Relationships are made from getting mutual addictive needs met. There is a common saying within treatment programs about ‘burning bridges’, which refers to the extent that relationships are severed.
From a spiritual point of view we are all part of creation and need each other to relate with. Three facts which cannot be denied are that;
- We all live on the face of the earth
- We live together, ie. there are no physical separations between people
- There are two sexes –male and female
(Encyclopedia of Mind, Body, Spirit – Dr Charles Neophytou)
The use of substances alienates people from the whole.
Twelve Step Program
The twelve step program has spiritual values as its core and has been statistically proven to be the most popular main- staying program for people in recovery from substance abuse.
The first three steps are about handing over the addiction to a Higher Power of your understanding
- Step 1 -Admission of the addiction
- Step 2 -Acknowledging there is a Higher Power
- Step 3 – Handing the addiction over to your Higher Power