Drug Abuse – A Symptom Of Spiritual Crisis
In this age of science and rationality, ‘spirituality’ is a term which comes in for much derision. Those who go in search of their spiritual side are often treated with contempt, referred to as ‘hippies’ or accused of ‘woolly thinking’. However, there is nothing irrational about spirituality. It is an integral part of our psyches, an aspect of humanity which has evolved over millennia, and which is ignored at our peril. We need spirituality, or something which connects us with our spiritual side. Our subconscious yearns for it constantly, and our society bears the symptoms of this yearning. If we do not allow our spiritual side some form of expression, our psyches will find other ways to get the spirituality it needs. One of these is through drug abuse.
Psychologist William James has spoken of alcohol’s capacity to provide a semi-mystical experience, to pull down our carefully constructed boundaries of rationality, facts, criticism and analysis, and strip raw our emotions, our feelings, our essential nature – our spiritual side. He compared being drunk to a skewed religious experience. Skewed, of course, because it is chemically induced rather than brought about naturally through the psyche’s own means, and therefore has the potential to be gravely damaging. It is perhaps no coincidence that the nineteenth century, with its mechanisation and mass turning to science saw an enormous increase in public drunkenness and alcoholism. British society in particular was increasingly urbanized. Removed from the spiritual, transcendent anchors of community, cultural history, and the countryside and forced instead to bow to the demands of science and profit, the urban poor turned to drink. Crime quickly followed. One may think that the world has changed – but in fact the problem persists today.
Alcoholics and drug addicts often do not know that what they are really craving is spiritual expression – but in many cases, this is the truth. Psychoactive drugs in particular have long been a source of fascination for those seeking a spiritual experience, but lacking the tools to gain this the natural way due to society’s overthrow of all things spiritual. Other users take drugs for the transcendence they experience while ‘high’ – little knowing or even suspecting that the experience they crave is an extreme mimicry of the kind of mindset achieved simply by allowing your spiritual side expression. There is undoubtedly a connection between addiction and the spiritual. Research has consistently shown that engagement with one’s spiritual dimension provides powerful protection against addiction. After all, one whose spiritual side is fulfilled has no need to seek that fulfilment through maladaptive means. Furthermore, while spirituality can have a positive effect upon a person and their immediate society, drugs and alcohol do quite the opposite. When a family member is an addict, everyone suffers. When a family member comes to a degree of self-knowledge through engaging spiritually, they are likely to become a better person.
Spiritual Solutions To Drug Abuse
Treatment programs for alcoholics and drug addicts which incorporate a ‘spiritual’ dimension have a much higher success rate than those which do not, for the reasons outlined above. In our modern world of deadlines, profit, and cold analysis, it is all too easy to neglect or dismiss our spiritual side. But our spiritual side will not neglect or dismiss us. Its repression will make itself felt through other means – through stress, anxiety, temper, or an inclination towards drugs and alcohol. Taking up life coaching with a spiritual dimension can help you to give this side of yourself expression, preventing it from manifesting in harmful ways. Indeed, acknowledging this side of yourself will allow you to achieve full personal expression, come to a degree of self-knowledge, and mature as an individual as well as gaining a greater understanding of your place within the bigger scheme of things. Acknowledging and expressing your spiritual side does not mean, of course, that you have to eschew science, rationality, and the world of cold, hard facts. The two are not in opposition, and can quite comfortably co-exist on an equal footing. It is only when one is raised up and use to crush the other than problems arise. Neither science nor spirituality should ever be used to defame or deride their counterpart – acknowledging and respecting both is the best way to achieve full personhood. Spiritual life coaching can enable you to understand where the balance lies.
Author – Anne Fulton