The Spiritual Malady of Addiction

addiction recovery

To anyone currently struggling with addiction, you are probably already aware that you’re deeply entrenched in a spiritual malady.

The definition of spiritual malady, especially as it relates to addiction is:

Malady, pronounced “mal-uh-dee” comes from two latin words, mal meaning “bad or ill” and habitus meaning “hold, have.”  So, a spiritual malady actually means that something bad has a hold of you, which is 150% accurate.

Notice that habitus has the word “habit” in it?

What is a Habit, Really? 

An addiction is a habit that has taken root and is now attached to our physical bodies. But what is a habit? We like to simplify it and say that a habit is just something that we’ve repeated enough times that it becomes so familiar that we do it on autopilot without thinking. This is partially true, but it goes so much deeper than that. A habit (as it relates to addiction) is something that we’ve yielded our spirit to again and again. It’s something that, like a lover, we’ve turned to for comfort, for peace, and for a false sense of happiness. We started looking to this thing as a way to fulfill a deep longing or pain within us. It promised to help. It provided instant, although temporary, relief from our current condition, and although we knew it was a fraud, we kept going back to it. We returned to the seductive promises it made over and over, and each time the hold it had on our spirit became stronger.

Finally, toward the end, it was no longer a lover. It revealed it’s true identity as a cruel taskmaster…and we had become it’s slave.

So, if malady means that something bad or ill has a hold on me, there is another factor involved that needs to be explored. If I am connected to something bad, I must have a disconnect between me and something good, right? We are spiritual beings, so we are always hooked into positive or negative. There is no neutral zone.

Addiction cannot be looked at from a one dimensional plane. We can’t say, “Okay, this is what occurs in the brain scientifically,” without also taking into consideration what is happening in the spiritual realm. We are not robots. We are not an engine made out of steel that just needs a few parts replaced. We are physical beings that have a spirit and a soul. We have thoughts, inner longings and spiritual connections. If we don’t take the spiritual aspect of our existence into consideration then we can (and will) run the risk of becoming very cleaned up, pretty, and outwardly successful sober people who are completely bankrupt internally. This state of being not only leads to a return to bondage, but, even worse, it ends up becoming a life that is filled with inner longings that are misdirected, misfed, and misunderstood.

If you are curious about the true, spiritual imprint of addiction, just do a quick Google search for “goodbye heroin” letters. Therapists will often have an individual in recovery write a goodbye letter to their drug of choice. The words used in so many of these letters are painful and desperate. They are the words a person would use to say goodbye to a lover who used them, lied to them, promised them the world but held them hostage instead. This is the spiritual side of addiction, and it is real.

We were created with a longing that cries out to be satisfied. The only true and lasting satisfaction is found by turning to the One who has created us. God is waiting to satisfy us as only He can because He is intimately acquainted with our places of longing. He put them there.

Where is Your Nourishment Coming From?

We all need spiritual nourishment. We can’t just disconnect from drugs without replacing the drug with the fulfillment and satisfaction we were searching for in the first place.
Our spirits are hungry and we are definitely going to feed on something. The key to becoming healthy, whole, and truly fulfilled is through our choice. Where will I quench my thirst? Where will I get my spiritual food?
It used to be a thing to say, “He’s so thirsty” or “She’s so thirsty” when a guy or girl was on the hunt for a sexual encounter. I always thought this was a completely accurate term for it.
Are you thirsty for “something” today?
How are you going to satisfy your longing?
That is your foundational question.
Answer this properly and you will be free from addiction.

So, let’s do a little visual experiment. I want you to picture a well. You know, the kind you get water from.
It’s a pretty well in the middle of a meadow of flowers.
This well is the place where you get your spiritual nourishment from.
Every day you are drinking from this well. Whenever you feel thirsty, dry, or empty, your spirit is drinking from this well.

Now, your well can be filled with healthy, clean, pure water, or your well can be murky, polluted and toxic.
The choice is up to you.

What does your well look like? Your thoughts are a good indication of that. The cleaner your water, the happier, lighter and more wholesome and childlike your thought life will become. Toxic thoughts and drinking from a dirty well will keep you feeling heavy, depressed, fragmented and unclear.
So, what are the things that make our well pure? What things pollute it?

I’m glad you asked!

Check out the article on Spiritual Detox. It was written to help you understand how to nourish your spirit and choose the things that will bring true and lasting peace and fulfillment to your life. Bottom line, it will help you get clean water in your well!
I hope you read it and choose to continue to grow in your journey. Sobriety is just the first step. You have a whole life of spiritual growth and purpose ahead of you!

About Robin Bright

Hi. My name is Robin Bright. I'm a mom, author, part of The John Maxwell Team and a recovery advocate who struggled with the torment of addiction for over a decade. I still remember what it was like. I know the desperation and hollowness of addiction. The stories here are about our journey to the light. They are raw, authentic, vulnerable. We talk about getting free, staying free, and loving ourselves through the process. I used to believe I had become the worst version of myself. And then God introduced me to me —as only He can. It is my hope that you will use the resources found here to uncover your own true identity...the vision God had when He formed you. xo

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