Mental Illness, Physical Addiction, Intuition and Non-Attachment Spirituality

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Is it real?  It is!  Image credit: Thomas Shahan via Flickr

I asked my friend Paul Loughman, who is not a blogger, to write a Guest Post for me this week.  I kept the topic wide open.  Interestingly, and typically, he chose to write on the topic of Addiction and Non-Attachment Spirituality.  It’s interesting because last week I was discussing the related topic of mental illness and how to differentiate between the “hearing voices” that comes from doing psychic or intuitive readings and the “hearing voices” that comes from schizophrenia with Michael Pierich on his blog post Mental Health and Spirituality.  I was also contemplating the ideas put forth by Justin Mazza in his article Change The Projector Of Your Reality.  Non-attachment is “just one of those things” for me – it will probably take a lifetime (or, you know, maybe next week when I suddenly become enlightened!).  Once again, we are all connected.

One thought I had on the mental health issue is that when I do psychic readings, I intentionally ask to be connected to a spiritual team and so I expect to see things, hear things, and just know things – at that time.  I don’t generally walk around and see, hear or experience anything odd at all…in my own perspective.  If your average person walked around getting gut feelings and “just knowing” certain things about people without intentionally trying or even wanting to know, they might think it IS a mental health problem, but I just see it as “being me.”  I am not in the position of diagnosing anyone, not being a mental health professional, but I do sometimes turn people away from readings and direct them to a physician when I am guided to do so.  It is not an exact science for a non-professional and I don’t profess to have the answers.

Consider the following guest post and let me know your thoughts in the comments:

After decades of struggling with alcoholism and other associated addictions, my good intentions in conquering these demons have been invariably thwarted by this most deceptive of diseases.  For the sake of brevity, I will continue to refer to it as such, though admittedly, I’m still not convinced that addiction possesses all the hallmarks of a disease, especially given the complex psychological states of mind that have inspired me and countless others to return to our self-destructive consumptions after both long and short periods of self-imposed abstinence.  I’ll leave that debate to the AMA.  But for me, despite having devoured countless medical journals on the subject, I still view it as a nihilistic philosophy to which the addictive mind becomes increasingly indoctrinated.  It is, simply put, slow and deliberate suicide; a method of avoiding pre-existing emotional pain.
As I write this, I must shamefully own up to the fact that I have not yet conquered this disease of fragile will, so all further theories I shall explore here are optimistic conjecture.
After my most infamous evenings of alcohol-fueled hijinks, and the resulting day-long nursing of the inevitable hangover and miasma of guilt and regret, I usually turn to the pages of Buddhist and other spiritual writings in the hopes of gaining perspective.  With all due respect to A.A. and 12 step programs in general, I have historically walked away from these universally-embraced rehabilitative venues feeling that the trite and repetitive catchphrases they employ did not speak to me in any substantive way.
Buddha preached above all that the true path to happiness is the pursuit of non-attachment.  While most of us are firmly entrenched in the business of career advancement, child rearing, and the American Dream of wealth accumulation, “non-attachment” may feel like a Utopian goal; one best left to the monk or the ascetic holed up in a remote Tibetan cave.  It’s no wonder the majority of us find this to be a goal beyond our capabilities of achieving.
However, I propose the following to myself as well as to you, the reader.  Perhaps the pursuit of non-attachment is best approached with baby steps.  At this moment, my most significant source of unhappiness, spiritual bankruptcy and self-loathing is the continual pursuit of the object of my addiction; namely alcohol.  So it should go without saying that I am not yet prepared to unfetter myself from other worldly trappings.
I intend to focus instead on re-indoctrinating my mind to understand its impressive level of self-deception.  When approaching a bar or liquor store, money in hand, all of the countless moments of guilt and pain that I have inflicted upon myself and others become suddenly mute.  All I am thinking about at these moments are the occasional good times I have enjoyed under the influence and the initial euphoric sense of relief I experience with my first sip.
These thoughts, more so than the actual bottle itself, are the first things I need to address.  I have fallen in love with the idea of self-destruction, somehow believing that my inevitable death or incarceration will beautifully illustrate to the world the mental and spiritual pain I have endured for the better part of my lifetime.
So I travel with some understandable trepidation towards a figurative Bodhi Tree.  It is to be hoped that this is but step one in a much longer spiritual journey.  But for now, I seek to throw off the maddeningly illogical attachment to death, negativity, melodrama, self-pity and India Pale Ale that have all combined to put me into the state of spiritual and emotional bankruptcy I currently inhabit.
And he said unto them, “Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and to sickness, to riches and to poverty, to freedom and to slavery.  It is we who control these, and not another.” – Richard Bach
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Comments

  1. I do believe that some addictions are illnesses to the extent that the particular chemical affects the body – alcohol is one of those. Others, like pot, are simply mental/emotional addictions and more subject to the effects of discipline, plain and simple. With those, it's a matter of what you want more: pleasure…or a clear head and some ambition. Same with food; which do you want more….a healthy body or pleasure of eating?

    In my case, I was "addicted" to pot for over 40 years and was convinced that I'd never give it up. I stopped it the day I was energetically cleared, and have had no major cravings since. I also attribute a part of that to having replaced it with something I want more – a clear mind, spiritual evolution, and my work. A replacement strategy is very effective.

    As far as the mental health/spiritual experience thing…again I say, it all depends upon the degree of interference with one's ability to lead a life. If you're hearing voices but they don't disturb you and you can feed and clothe yourself…who cares? 🙂
    My recent post Guest Post: Energy Healing and Cancer

  2. AClearSign says:

    Michael,

    As usual, you've hit the nail on the head.

    I see your point on "what do you want more"…much easier to do with say food than cigarette smoking (at least, for me). After starting to smoke I decided addiction was a slippery slope and best not to start anything else.

    I wonder what happens if you truly are in 100% non-attachment mode.

  3. Might need to ask Jesus or Buddha on the100% thang…
    My recent post Guest Post: Energy Healing and Cancer

  4. AClearSign says:

    OK I will get them right on the line 🙂 If I could hit 10% I think it would be an improvement.
    My recent post Mental Illness, Physical Addiction, Intuition and Non-Attachment Spirituality

  5. Great points, Michael. I agree that an addiction to certain substances can indeed be classified as an illness; in my case, as far as alcohol is concerned, I think I questioned the use of the word "disease" for me personally, not for all alcoholics. I say this simply because I've never been a 24/7 drinker and when I have abstained for any significant periods of time, I experience no physical withdrawal symptoms. However, if left unaddressed, I may very well reach a different state. And of course, abrupt withdrawal from things such as heroin can indeed be fatal. "Which do I want more?" I appreciate the profound simplicity of this question and I'm sure I'll be rolling it around in my head for some time to come. Thanks for the input.

  6. A couple of years ago I was smoking pot every single day. It was to numb my emotional pain and led to many a guilty feelings. How did you give it up entirely with an energetic clearing? Was it really that easy? If so, do you think energetic clearings could help a great number of addicts?
    My recent post A Dog’s Purpose: Pets & Reincarnation

  7. Paul,

    This article hit me right in the heart. Well done, you. You are very self-aware. Isn't this self awareness the first step in healing? (For anyone in relation to anything, really…).

    "I have fallen in love with the idea of self-destruction, somehow believing that my inevitable death or incarceration will beautifully illustrate to the world the mental and spiritual pain I have endured for the better part of my lifetime."

    If only that were true…when in reality, many people don't see alcoholics as people in emotional or spiritual pain. Rather, they are viewed with pity, disdain, seen as weak, or worse. I think people don't understand the pain that causes addiction unless they've lived it (either living with an addict or having been one themselves).
    My recent post A Dog’s Purpose: Pets & Reincarnation

  8. Hi Julie and Paul,
    Hey Julie, No hard feelings Huh, 🙂
    The topic of addictions is a tough one. Alcoholism runs in my family and I was fortunate enough to quit that almost six years now. I think that some of us almost get a rush or feeling from suffering. The word "passion" comes to mind.

    Eventually we need to re-examine our lives and decide what serves us and what doesn't and then take the steps necessary to remove these things. I know, easier said than done.

  9. After reading your post.I really come to know what the topic really is.You are doing a fine job.Keep it up.

  10. AClearSign says:

    Justin,

    I apologize – I clearly phrased that incorrectly and will go back to amend it. Your article had a big impact on me, truly it did. As in, "How am I supposed to get THERE from HERE?" My mind can't quite wrap itself around the complete concept. There is a part of me that does not like getting pushed into a corner and given no options. I know everyone would argue that I create my own reality and brought all this on myself and it's for my higher good etc – but down here in this reality, it is quite the pill to swallow. I cannot help but feel that if we work on ourselves and make real progress, it should be reflected on the other end. That this is not necessarily so really gets my goat. Gee, I sound like a petulant teenager, don't I? There goes one of my buttons getting pushed 🙂

    My recent post A Clear Sign's Favorite Personal Synchronicity and Message From The Other Side

  11. I have not been addicted to alcohol, but I have been to food, certain relationships and unhealthy behaviorial patterns. It wasn't until I started doing energy clearings and working closely with the angels and Divine that I have found that most of these addictions stem from some sort of "energy" that just needs to be let go. Now to let go of a pattern, I feel we have to be willing to see the lesson involved in regards to this energy being attached to us so that it will not be a pattern we repeat. Very nice article!
    My recent post Divine Chakra Communications

  12. interesting article! Addiction is a habit that is hard to break.. most of us are victims of this vice specially when it comes to alcohol.. maybe because of the pleasure it brings. Yes, you might be on the pedestal right now with your addiction in alcohol but beware of its lifetime consequences
    My recent post play angry birds on pc

  13. Lindsay,

    I've wondered the same thing. Having had SR work done I found that it did help with insomnia but not with giving up cigarettes…I imagine that there are layers of these things that don't all just magically disappear with one shot at a clearing. However if you went into it with the intent to rid yourself of a particular addition, and set your prayer/intention toward it specifically, I imagine it could be done at least in some cases.
    My recent post What If Calvin and Hobbes Were In Your Soul Group?

  14. AClearSign says:

    RP, Thanks for the comment.
    My recent post A Clear Sign's Favorite Personal Synchronicity and Message From The Other Side

  15. AClearSign says:

    Kenya,

    With any addiction, it may be wrapped up in a whole lot of issues that need to be dismantled before we are ready to let go. Sometimes I feel that the issue is already gone but we are so used to the addiction, the feeling we get from it, or the chemicals that our body "wants", that we just don't see it and realize it's ready to go in the trash bin so we can move on.
    My recent post What If Calvin and Hobbes Were In Your Soul Group?

  16. AClearSign says:

    Hi Amber,

    That's a funny thing, isn't it…I'm not so sure most people are in it for the instant gratification or pleasure. Those who have an addiction to whatever, whether it's a positive or negative consequence, are endeavoring to drown something else out. They almost never actually care about the lifetime consequences. In fact, they may embrace the negative consequences. They know them, they understand them, but it has to mean enough to make them want to stop…and usually the thing they are trying to drown out overrides any desire to prolong the experience.
    My recent post What If Calvin and Hobbes Were In Your Soul Group?

  17. I wasn't envisioning you on a soapbox at all, Patti. Many things I've tried with various levels of success in the past do deserve a revisiting. Thanks for the input and congrats to you.

  18. Patti Foy says:

    Dear Paul,

    Thanks for the post, and thanks, Julie for hosting it.

    I won't beat around the bush. Besides being painful as you've poignantly expressed, alcoholism is a progressive disease and it WILL kill you. Like Justin, it runs in my family, and I lost one brother to it already with another on the way. You may want to give AA another look. I've heard it works.

    Trite sayings like "One Day at a Time" can be lifesavers when you live them. But more than that, it's not a trite program; it's deep and profound — or so I've heard. Maybe if you first and foremost "Put the Plug in the Jug" as they also say, you'll have a better experience with your detachment or any other endeavor. Of course, it's your choice. It truly is up to you and only you, like you say in your closing quote.

    As to the disease aspect, the very idea of what you say "When approaching a bar or liquor store, money in hand, all of the countless moments of guilt and pain that I have inflicted upon myself and others become suddenly mute. All I am thinking about at these moments are the occasional good times I have enjoyed under the influence and the initial euphoric sense of relief I experience with my first sip." This is exactly the odd mental twist that is referred to as the insanity of an addition. My bet is you will never make sense of it or overcome it with logic.

    Anyway, that's my take on it. I got clean and sober at the age of 29 after being addicted to pot, cocaine, and alcohol so badly I'm still amazed I lived through it. I proceeded then to develop an eating disorder (short-lived, thankfully), then a taste for clove cigarettes, then when I couldn't get them, I started smoking regular ones from time to time even though I found them disgusting. The "disease" was still there even though I wasn't drinking.

    But for many years now I've been clean and vice-free (ha, except for potato chips now and then ;-)). In my experience sobriety has nothing to do with strengthening your will. Paradoxically, it's about surrendering. Odd, huh.

    Sorry about the soapbox, but this truly is a life and death subject. I wanted to add my 2 cents.
    My recent post Experience the Magical Effects of Sending Blessings

  19. Patti Foy says:

    Oh, whew, I'm glad. And I got so impassioned about what you brought up for me that I totally forgot to wish you all the best. You described the pain and self-loathing so well and I truly hope you break through to the other side. You surely are worth it and deserve to be happy and free.
    Thanks again for sharing so openly and honestly.
    My recent post Strengthen Your Animal Communication Skills with an Online Practice Group

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