Modern psychology and psychiatry have made considerable gains in the treatment of alcohol and drug dependency. Although there are pharmaceutical approaches to the problem of addiction, such treatments require that the body take in additional chemical components to treat the issue.
However, the underlying problem of addiction resides in the personality and the mind, so the most effective treatments are approaches that focus on the mind, rather than the body.
The reason the patient must be cooperative is that addiction resides in a place where a professional cannot reach―a person's inner reality. That central place is where each person lives alone, and each person is unique and unknown to others.
For a person suffering from addiction, in their inner reality, their perceptions and spirituality have become damaged or distorted into something they can no longer use to help themselves battle their addictions.
As a result, there have been numerous efforts by sincere, committed individuals in mainline churches and religious organizations to offer healing approaches to addiction. But the results of such approaches have been far from permanently successful. The reason for this inconsistent success in treatment is the difference between religion and spirituality.
On the other hand, a person may be very spiritual and yet have no religious convictions at all. The two concepts are very different and are individual components of a person's inner reality. In fact, in some circumstances, the two can be mutually exclusive of each other.
People who are dealing with overpowering addictions because of a damaged or distorted spiritual reality will find little or no assistance from religious organizations, because such organizations tend to place form above substance.
Religious organizations often view addiction as a sin or a shameful activity, which can cause a person's inner being to become even more ashamed and more prone to deeper addictive behavior.
When the person tries to return to that place of comfort and finds the way blocked, the soul is damaged by the longing not being fulfilled. An empty heart can become disconsolate and so sad that it gives up on trying to return to inner peace, and instead turns to other means by which to feel fulfilled.
These are the conditions under which addictive processes are born and take hold of a person's inner reality. So, in essence, the growth of addiction begins with a spiritual act-searching for fulfillment.
For an individual to achieve success in overcoming addiction, they must first realize that their success is entirely up to them. They must realize that the addictive behavior does not bring gratification and fulfillment; it actually distances them further from the peace and comfort they seek.
They must focus on how the addiction is affecting their life. Instead of looking around to find outward causes for their addiction―such as relationships, family, stress, chemical imbalances, health concerns―they must turn their gaze inward to discover the problem in their inner spiritual reality.
Spirituality is often described as a connection to yourself, others, and the society and world around you. To heal addiction, people must first begin by restructuring their spirituality to be of service to others, to focus on making good choices, and to take responsibility for their own actions.
A stronger sense of spirituality helps people bring color and depth to their lives and inner reality―gradually replacing the temporary pleasure of addiction. A solid spiritual core can't originate sobriety, but, as spirituality is developed and strengthened, the resulting peace and connection to the world becomes crucial, ensuring a successful recovery.