The Addiction/Grief Link

The greatest difficulty in becoming our true, authentic self is that our Will or Intention first filters everything through the Soul. This is necessary since the soul and body are linked and completely dependent upon one another for survival. The “Self” that emerges as a result of the experiences, interpretations, thoughts and emotions of this soul/body interdependency is known as our Ego. The Ego is not our complete “Self”, but it certainly makes up the larger percentage of our awareness until we make a conscious change. For the most part, this is who we identify ourselves to be. By the time we discover that we are also spiritual beings, most of us have already developed a sophisticated network of beliefs, coping strategies and substitutes for whatever lack, real or perceived, that we may have experienced. It is only through the surrender of our Ego to our Spirit that we are able to rise above our earthly understanding and comprehend matters of the Spirit. It is not our task to destroy the Ego and replace it with our Spirit, thereby putting to death our “sinful nature”. This is not possible. Our Ego is our Self, or at least a large portion of it, and any attempt to replace it is an exercise in Denial and Negative Energy.  In order to abide in Positive Energy, which is where the Principles of Life, Love, Wisdom, Truth and all other Positive Principles reside, the Will or Intention must Surrender to Positive Energy. Since Positive Energy is not aggressive or forceful, the individual must become enlightened to the value of Positive Energy and then desire it above all else.

Perhaps no greater illustration of this can be found than that of recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Any recovering addict knows that the path to Serenity lies in Acceptance and Surrender. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages that occurred during the Grief process, which are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Recovering addicts will immediately recognize these stages as major components in addiction. However, very few programs make grief work a foundation in their approach and simply address it as a separate issue. It is in the final stage that one comes to terms with the forced changes that have taken place and makes the necessary adjustment in order to move forward and return to a state of Serenity and productivity. Addiction forces its victim to undergo numerous losses and changes throughout its devastating course. It perpetually throws its victim into the grieving process, never allowing him to exit through the door of Acceptance. Many programs attempt to deal with Denial, Anger and Depression as separate issues, never seeing them as processes or working toward a singular goal; Acceptance.

During the course of addiction, one’s Ego is badly battered and torn and becomes filled with guilt, shame and sorrow due to numerous losses. In order to escape the ravages of grief, the recovering addict must accept that he has been under the influence of a disease and has lost many things which he will not be able to recover. Indeed, the recovering addict’s own identity has been distorted and diminished by the very nature of the disease. He must then come to believe that, although his Ego is powerless over this disease, his true self, or Spirit, is free from its grip. This is Acceptance. Surrender is then turning his Will over to God, or Positive Energy, one day at a time. In order to be successful, he cannot allow his battered Ego to climb back into the driver’s seat and have full control.

No real, positive change can occur apart from Acceptance. Attempts to rationalize, suppress, or otherwise “move on” without fully accepting the corruption of the Ego will result in denial and the implementation of a coping strategy and/or substitutes for authentic healing. This is not to say that one must get bogged down by overthinking or ruminating over the past. In fact, Acceptance often takes place on a subconscious level apart from the awareness of the individual. However, in most cases, acknowledgement is required and sometimes further action such as forgiveness and setting of intention. Often, the assistance of a professional counselor or a supportive sponsor will be required in order to complete the work.

Acceptance is coming to terms with the past, that which cannot be changed and that which must be changed, then, having made that determination, letting go. Acceptance, in the recovery sense, does not mean accepting defeat; rather, it means accepting one’s Ego, the damage caused by addiction, the lies, the compensation and the loss; and then, that all of this is an illusion created by the twisted Ego. Surrender to one’s own Spirit, the pursuit of Positive Energy, Life and all Its Principles will restore the True Self. It is turning one’s face toward the Sun and allowing the Light of Life and the warmth of Healing to permeate one’s being and bring restoration.

Published by Rick George

Had someone noticed when I was younger, I may have been diagnosed with ADHD and been put on medication. Fortunately that never happened. No, it hasn't been fun and my life has been quite turbulent as a result but I have had a unique vantage point and I have a feeling that it is about to pay off.

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