The Craving behind the Craving: Addiction as a Spiritual Disease

Posted: June 8, 2017 in addiction, alcoholism, awakening, sobriety, spirituality, substance abuse
Tags: , , ,

“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”

By Irwin Ozborne

As a child, I remember walking in my grandmother’s backyard and one day noticed a litter of kittens near her garage in the alleyway. They were hissing, crying, and yelping with the hair sticking up on their backs as their frames were so thin you could see their skeletons.

“I want to pet them,” I told my grandmother.

“Oh no. They are not ready for that,” she insisted, “Someone must have dropped them off and they need food and water first.”

“Why not?” I asked, “Are they bad kittens?”

“Of course not, “ she laughed, “there is no such thing as bad or evil. There is only misguided love. These kittens were abandoned and they just need love. But they are also starving so we need to first feed them so they can refill what is missing.”

We went inside and came back with dishes of tuna fish, milk, and water for the kittens. Like always, grandmothers are always right. As the kittens indulged in the meal we brought them, the hair on their backs went down and their growls turned to purring sounds. When cats purr it is an instinctive reaction to communicate their mood as content, calm, and safe.

It was truly amazing. They were lacking basic survival needs of food and water, which had altered their behavior to aggressive and mean. Yet, once that need was met, they were content and friendly.

I look back at this story often as it has so many wonderful lessons attached. The first such is that when these kittens were lacking basic needs – such as food and water – and then finally presented with this need, they instinctively indulged. In fact, a few of the kittens actually vomited after eating so fast.

It makes perfect sense. If I am walking in the desert and dehydrated and finally brought to an oasis, I am going to indulge in water to replenish the fluids and nutrients that were have been missing. If I am starving, I am going to crave high fatty foods to relieve all the nutrients that are missing and most certainly indulge. But, what if I am spiritually starving or thirsty? Wouldn’t it only make sense that if presented with a substance that would instantly fill this void, I would also indulge?

What is Spirituality?

Spirituality is not religion; although religion is a type of spirituality.

Most people that get turned off by the word spirituality have had a negative experience with religion, which is why it is essential to differentiate between the two terms. Spirituality refers to finding purpose and meaning in life, as well as a sense of connection to the universe outside of our self. Some people find this in religion, which is why religion is a type of spirituality. Religion does so with traditions, customs, books, and preachers. And at the core, all religions have the exact same spiritual message – to love one another unconditionally.

Spirituality can be found in any type of connection such as nature, sports teams, understanding the universe, in meditation, groups of people with a common goal, love, friendships, and mindfulness. All of use experience spirituality at times of our lives, though may not have used that term or understood what the term actually means.

As Ekhart Tolle explains that the word is not the experience, “The word honey isn’t honey. You can study and talk about it as long as you like, but you won’t really know it until after you taste it. After you tasted it, the word becomes less important to you.”

In this same sense, the word spirituality turns people off. But it is not the word, it is the experience in which we have all had in our lives such as:

· Moment of clarity

· Sense of inner peace or calmness

· A burst of euphoria

· A feeling of interconnection with the world around us

· Being in the present  moment

· Detached from all of life’s labels and feeling as your true self

· Unconditional love

Is Spirituality a Human Need / Desire?

In the opening story, I share the story of the kittens that were derived of their basic animal needs of food and water for survival. But is spirituality also a human need and/or desire?

This answer comes in two parts. The first portion involves the innate need for love and connection, whereas the second part involves a historical perspective of spirituality in humanity.

In 1958, Harry Harlow performed the controversial “Wire Mother Experiment” which was a designed experiment on the overlooked human need of love.

In one study, the monkeys were reared in isolation in which many died and others were frightened and acted abnormally. Once they grew older, they could not interact with other monkeys. The second study separated monkeys from their mother and gave them options of two surrogate mothers – one made from wire and the other with a soft cloth, both which provided milk. All the monkeys spent more time with the mother made of cloth, even if she had no milk. They would only go to the wire mother when they were hungry and then spent the remainder of the day with the soft cloth mother.

Futhermore, when a scary object was placed in the cage, they rushed to the cloth mother for support. The monkeys were also more willing to explore, or take risks, when the cloth mother was present. This allowed Harlow to conclude that for a monkey to develop normally they must have some interaction with an object they can cling to during those critical first few months.

Back to the story with my grandmother, the behavioral theory would suggest that the kittens needed food and water which is why they responded with joy after that need was met. However, Harlow’s theory shows that it is actually that these kittens were abandoned of their basic animal need, love and security, which created the erratic behavior and they were only brought back to loving animals once they established trust and love.

In regards to the human history of spirituality it goes back to the beginning of humanity. Humans have always shared a desire to alter their level of consciousness in one way or another. The oldest evidence dates back 40,000 years ago in which archeologists have discovered cave paintings in France that show images of humans in a trance-like states, indicating the first recorded history of humans intentionally altering their consciousness.

All ancient cultures have had different ways in attempting to do the same, including indigenous tribes in the Americas would go on vision quests in nature in which they tried to find their mission or purpose in life. Tribes in Africa dance in the streets until they feel the presence of their creator, other tribes in the east will dance on hot coals to try to free their spirit from the body, and many other cultures use meditation as a means to alter their consciousness.

As shown by Harlow, spirituality in regards to love and connection is a basic human need. As indicated by historical accounts, for at least the past 40,000 years humans have had a strong desire to alter their consciousness.

And psychoactive substances have always contributed to this.

Historical Substance Use

One of the oldest organized religions today is Hinduism, which was founded around 3500 B.C. in eastern India. The scrolls and texts of the Hindu religion is organized in books known as the Vedas, which is put together by a series of poems and hymns. Throughout the texts, there are numerous references to the drug/plant called Soma. The drug is basically idolized and worshipped as a hallucinogenic drug that helps the people of this time feel a sense of connection to the world.

Today, experts still do not know what this plant is and have been unable to discover its origins. Historians believe that the drug got into the public’s hands and started to be abused recreationally which led to the first prohibition of a drug.

In the southwestern American tribes they used peyote buttons from cactus at religious ceremonies to feel the presence of the Great Spirit. Also in the ancient Americas, tobacco was initially used in prayer and in South America the Coca plant was originally deemed a gift from the Gods.

In the East, opium and cannabis also first were believed to be gifts from the Gods and used in religious ceremonies as it served as a way to alter the level of consciousness.  While these ancient cultures it seemed worshipped these drugs by their texts, documents, and artifacts, one could argue that not much has changed.

If someone were to research our current times a couple thousand years from now, they will report that this generation wore clothing and jewelry with a hemp plant, 90-percent of their popular music made references to this hemp plant, and their passionate conversations and debates all revolved around the use of this plant. They will clearly say that cannabis was worshipped in this time.

Even alcohol has its spiritual roots as the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks all had Goddesses of Wine. Today, go into any liquor store and they still refer to hard liquor as spirits. As Bill W, the founder of AA refers to the formula for addiction as “spiritus contra spiritum,” which is directly translated to spirits against spirits. This means that the only solution to fight the spirits (alcohol) is to find a spiritual solution in a natural way.

The Craving Behind The Craving:

Addiction is a spiritual disease. It is a thirst, quench, hunger, or starvation for some type of fulfillment or wholeness in a person’s life. People who become addicted to something or another either have an initial void of spirituality, a innate higher drive for a spiritual connection, or a combination of the two.

In listening to many speakers over the years it is quite apparent that the first time the person uses their drug of choice, it significantly alters their consciousness to the point that addiction is inevitable. Just as the opening story indicates that the kittens indulged in food and water because of they were dangerously lacking the nutrients to fill what was missing, people who become addicted certainly share the same behavior in indulging in alcohol and drugs that help fill their spiritual void.

The craving behind the craving refers to looking beyond the desire to use the drug, but rather the desire of the spiritual connection.

In an unofficial collegiate study, a graduate student surveyed about 200 people including students, professors, and staff in regards to the reasons why they use alcohol. The student provided a checklist of ten reasons why the person uses and they could check off however many applied. The results showed that 100-percent of the people in the survey checked off the box marked, “I like the feeling.”

Every single person that drinks alcohol does so because they like the feeling. Which made me dig deeper into examining exactly what is this feeling that everyone craves?

Using personal experience along with talking with others that are actively using or in early recovery, we came up with a list of our own in describing the feeling of being drunk or being high:

· Everything makes sense / I just get it……………………………….…(Moment of clarity)

· I just relax and not worry about all the stressors of life………(Inner peace)

· Everything is better – food, people, jokes, experiences…….(Euphoria)

· I understand people better / love for everyone………………..(Interconnection/oneness)

· Not worried about minor things / Content in moment….….(Being present)

· Freedom from self-criticism and anxiety  …………..……………..(True self)

· No judgments about anyone……………………………………………..(Unconditional love)

In reviewing the list, you see that it is the exact same feelings of a spiritual moment. This proves it is not the drug we are craving, we are craving the feeling the drug provides. The drug is just a tool to help us reach that spiritual connection.

If I am dehydrated, I am going to indulge in water or fluids that help replenish what missing. If I am starving, I am going to indulge in some greasy food that brings energy and life back into my body to restore what was missing. If I am spiritually starving, of course I am going to indulge in a drink, a joint, or a pill that will revitalize all these things that have been depleted.

See the Forest for the Trees

It is highly common for people to find their first encounter with spirituality in the natural world and in nature. On a sober trip that I took with a group a few years ago, we went camping in one of the most beautiful places in the country – Northern California. We spent a couple of days in the Redwood Natural Forest and finding instant connection with the world around us.

In observing the Redwood Trees, there was something quite majestic about these giants. They stood about 300 feet high, some were 20 feet wide, in fact some of the trees have tunnels carved in the middle of them through the highway and our bus drove right through the center. The Redwoods are the tallest living organism on Earth and some of them date back to the time of the Ancient Greek Empire 2,500 years ago.

I always wondered, how do they grow so tall? Whenever there are storms, the tallest trees always topple over because they lack the strength to survive the strong winds. In order for a tree to grow tall, it needs strong and deep roots. But, in looking at the size of the Redwoods, you would think that the roots must reach to the center of the Earth to keep these trees upright amidst strong winds.

But then I discovered that the Redwood Trees roots only grow about five or six feet deep, only adding to my confusion and admiration of the species. Upon further research, I was told that the roots of the Redwoods actually grow horizontally and go about 100 feet wide. Also, they need to grow together in forests so that their roots can interlock underneath and they help prop each other up. You can not grow an individual Redwood tree, they can only grow together so their roots can connect and ensure that they grow together.

The trees also cycle nutrients amongst each other to help each other grow. The tallest trees collect moisture from the fog and share with the shorter trees, and the barks of the trees are intentionally burnt so help cycle the nutrients at the bottoms of the trees.

The story of the Redwoods is a perfect metaphor for spirituality and addiction. We can not survive the storm alone, but once we are able to interlock and find a sense of connection outside of ourselves we are able to embrace the stor more tant to know what sort of person thing as bad or evil. There is only misguided love. These kittens were abandoned and they just need love. But they are also starving so we need to first feed them so they can refill what is missing.”

We went inside and came back with dishes of tuna fish, milk, and water for the kittens. Like always, grandmothers are always right. As the kittens indulged in the meal we brought them, the hair on their backs went down and their growls turned to purring sounds. When cats purr it is an instinctive reaction to communicate their mood as content, calm, and safe.

It was truly amazing. They were lacking basic survival needs of food and water, which had altered their behavior to aggressive and mean. Yet, once that need was met, they were content and friendly.

I look back at this story often as it has so many wonderful lessons attached. The first such is that when these kittens were lacking basic needs – such as food and water – and then finally presented with fulfillment of these needs, they instinctively indulged. In fact, a few of the kittens actually vomited after eating so fast.

It makes perfect sense. If I am walking in the desert and dehydrated and finally brought to an oasis, I am going to drink water to replenish the fluids and nutrients that were have been missing. If I am starving, I am going to crave foods to relieve all the nutrients that are missing. But, what if I am spiritually starving or thirsty? Wouldn’t it only make sense that if presented with a substance that would seem to instantly fill this void, I would also indulge?

Spirituality

Spirituality is not religion; although religion is a type of spirituality.

Most people that get turned off by the word spirituality have had a negative experience with religion, which is why it is essential to differentiate between the two terms. Spirituality refers to finding purpose and meaning in life, as well as a sense of connection to the universe outside of our self. Some people find this in religion, which is why religion is a type of spirituality. Religion does so with traditions, customs, books, and preachers. And at the core, all religions have the exact same spiritual message – to love one another unconditionally.

Spirituality can be found in any type of connection such as nature, sports teams, understanding the universe, in meditation, groups of people with a common goal, love, friendships, and mindfulness. All of use experience spirituality at times of our lives, though may not have used that term or understood what the term actually means.

As Ekhart Tolle explains, the word is not the experience, “The word honey isn’t honey. You can study and talk about it as long as you like, but you won’t really know it until after you taste it. After you tasted it, the word becomes less important to you.

In this same sense, the word spirituality turns people off. But it is not the word, it is the experience in which we have all had in our lives such as:

  • Moment of clarity
  • Sense of inner peace or calmness
  • A burst of euphoria
  • A feeling of interconnection with the world around us
  • Being in the present  moment
  • Detached from all of life’s labels and feeling as your true self
  • Unconditional love

Is Spirituality a Human Need / Desire?

At every stage, addiction is driven by one of the most powerful, mysterious, and vital forces of human existence. What drives addiction is longing — a longing not just of the brain, belly, or loins but finally, of the heart.” ~ Cornelius Plantinga

In the opening story, I share the story of the kittens that were derived of their basic animal needs of food and water for survival. But is spirituality also a human need and/or desire?

This answer comes in two parts. The first portion involves the innate need for love and connection, whereas the second part involves a historical perspective of spirituality in humanity.

In 1958, Harry Harlow performed the controversial “Wire Mother Experiment” which was a designed experiment on the overlooked human need of love.

In one part of the study, the monkeys were reared in isolation in which many died and others were frightened and acted abnormally. Once they grew older, they could not interact with other monkeys. The second study separated monkeys from their mother and gave them options of two surrogate mothers – one made from wire and the other with a soft cloth, both which provided milk. All the monkeys spent more time with the mother made of cloth, even if she had no milk. They would only go to the wire mother when they were hungry and then spent the remainder of the day with the soft cloth mother.

Furthermore, when a scary object was placed in the cage, they rushed to the cloth mother for support. The monkeys were also more willing to explore, or take risks, when the cloth mother was present. This allowed Harlow to conclude that for a monkey to develop normally they must have some interaction with an object they can cling to during those critical first few months.

Back to the story with my grandmother, the behavioral theory would suggest that the kittens needed food and water which is why they responded with joy after that need was met. However, Harlow’s theory shows that it is actually that these kittens were abandoned of their basic animal need, love and security, which created the erratic behavior and they were only brought back to loving animals once they established trust and love.

In regards to the human history of spirituality it goes back to the beginning of humanity. Humans have always shared a desire to alter their level of consciousness in one way or another. The oldest evidence dates back 40,000 years ago in which archeologists have discovered cave paintings in France that show images of humans in a trance-like states, indicating the first recorded history of humans intentionally altering their consciousness.

All ancient cultures have had different ways in attempting to do the same, including indigenous tribes in the Americas would go on vision quests in nature in which they tried to find their mission or purpose in life. Tribes in Africa dance in the streets until they feel the presence of their creator, other tribes in the east will dance on hot coals to try to free their spirit from the body, and many other cultures use meditation as a means to alter their consciousness.

As shown by Harlow, spirituality in regards to love and connection is a basic human need. As indicated by historical accounts, for at least the past 40,000 years humans have had a strong desire to alter their consciousness.

And psychoactive substances have always contributed to this.

Historical Substance Use

One of the oldest organized religions today is Hinduism, which was founded around 3500 B.C. in eastern India. The scrolls and texts of the Hindu religion is organized in books known as the Vedas, which is put together by a series of poems and hymns. Throughout the texts, there are numerous references to the drug/plant called Soma. The drug is basically idolized and worshipped as a hallucinogenic drug that helps the people of this time feel a sense of connection to the world.

Today, experts still do not know what this plant is and have been unable to discover its origins. Historians believe that the drug got into the public’s hands and started to be abused recreationally which led to the first prohibition of a drug.

In the southwestern American tribes they used peyote buttons from cactus at religious ceremonies to feel the presence of the Great Spirit. Also in the ancient Americas, tobacco was initially used in prayer and in South America the Coca plant was originally deemed a gift from the Gods. In the East, opium andcannabis also first were believed to be gifts from the Gods and used in religious ceremonies as it served as a way to alter the level of consciousness. While these ancient cultures it seemed worshiped these drugs by their texts, documents, and artifacts, one could argue that not much has changed.

If someone were to research our current times a couple thousand years from now, they will report that this generation wore clothing and jewelry with a hemp plant, 90-percent of their popular music made references to this hemp plant, and their passionate conversations and debates all revolved around the use of this plant. They will clearly say that cannabis was worshipped in this time.

Even alcohol has its spiritual roots as the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks all had Goddesses of Wine. Today, go into any liquor store and they still refer to hard liquor as spirits. As Bill W, the founder of AA refers to the formula for addiction as “spiritus contra spiritum,” which is directly translated to spirits against spirits. This means that the only solution to fight the spirits (alcohol) is to find a spiritual solution in a natural way.

The Craving Behind The Craving

Addiction is a spiritual disease. It is a thirst, quench, hunger, or starvation for some type of fulfillment or wholeness in a person’s life. People who become addicted to something or another either have an initial void of spirituality, a innate higher drive for a spiritual connection, or a combination of the two.

In listening to many speakers over the years it is quite apparent that the first time the person uses their drug of choice, it significantly alters their consciousness to the point that addiction is inevitable. Just as the opening story indicates that the kittens indulged in food and water because of they were dangerously lacking the nutrients to fill what was missing, people who become addicted certainly share the same behavior in indulging in alcohol and drugs that help fill their spiritual void.

The craving behind the craving refers to looking beyond the desire to use the drug, but rather the desire of the spiritual connection.

In an unofficial collegiate study, a graduate student surveyed about 200 people including students, professors, and staff in regards to the reasons why they use alcohol. The student provided a checklist of ten reasons why the person uses and they could check off however many applied. The results showed that 100-percent of the people in the survey checked off the box marked, “I like the feeling.”

Every single person that drinks alcohol does so because they like the feeling. Which made me dig deeper into examining exactly what is this feeling that everyone craves?

Using personal experience along with talking with others that are actively using or in early recovery, we came up with a list of our own in describing the feeling of being drunk or being high:

  • Everything makes sense / I just get it……………………………….…(Moment of clarity)
  • I just relax and not worry about all the stressors of life………(Inner peace)
  • Everything is better – food, people, jokes, experiences…….(Euphoria)
  • I understand people better / love for everyone………………..(Interconnection/oneness)
  • Not worried about minor things / Content in moment….….(Being present)
  • Freedom from self-criticism and anxiety  …………..……………..(True self)
  • No judgments about anyone……………………………………………..(Unconditional love)

In reviewing the list, you see that it is the exact same feelings of a spiritual moment. This proves it is not the drug we are craving, we are craving the feeling the drug provides. The drug is just a tool to help us reach that spiritual connection.

If I am dehydrated, I am going to drink water or fluids that help replenish what missing. If I am starving, I am going to eat some food that brings energy and life back into my body to restore what was missing. If I am spiritually starving, and have not yet identified that unfulfilled need, I am likely to indulge in a drink, a joint, or a pill that will temporarily revitalize all these things that have been depleted.

See the Forest for the Trees

It is highly common for people to find their first encounter with spirituality in the natural world and in nature. On a sober trip that I took with a group a few years ago, we went camping in one of the most beautiful places in the country – Northern California. We spent a couple of days in the Redwood Natural Forest and finding instant connection with the world around us.

In observing the Redwood Trees, there was something quite majestic about these giants. They stood about 300 feet high, some were 20 feet wide, in fact some of the trees have tunnels carved in the middle of them through the highway and our bus drove right through the center. The Redwoods are the tallest living organism on Earth and some of them date back to the time of the Ancient Greek Empire 2,500 years ago.

I always wondered, how do they grow so tall? Whenever there are storms, the tallest trees always topple over because they lack the strength to survive the strong winds. In order for a tree to grow tall, it needs strong and deep roots. But, in looking at the size of the Redwoods, you would think that the roots must reach to the center of the Earth to keep these trees upright amidst strong winds.

But then I discovered that the Redwood Trees roots only grow about five or six feet deep, only adding to my confusion and admiration of the species. Upon further research, I was told that the roots of the Redwoods actually grow horizontally and go about 100 feet wide. Also, they need to grow together in forests so that their roots can interlock underneath and they help prop each other up. You can not grow an individual Redwood tree, they can only grow together so their roots can connect and ensure that they grow together.

The trees also cycle nutrients amongst each other to help each other grow. The tallest trees collect moisture from the fog and share with the shorter trees, and the barks of the trees are intentionally burnt so help cycle the nutrients at the bottoms of the trees.

The story of the Redwoods is a perfect metaphor for spirituality and addiction. We can not survive the storm alone, but once we are able to interlock and find a sense of connection outside of ourselves we are able to embrace the storm and help each other flourish as we rise above and reach the skyline.

 

Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution $3.99

taking-the-mask-off-stigma-barriers-mental-health-addiction-spiritual-solution

Taking the Mask Off” is the new book by Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne. Cortland Pfeffer spent years as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and jails before becoming a registered nurse and working in the same facilities. Based on his experience, this story is told from both sides of the desk. It offers a unique and valuable perspective into mental health and addiction, revealing the problems with the psychiatric industry while also providing the solution – one that brings together science, spirituality, philosophy, and personal experience.

“Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution” is available on Amazon, and Balboa Press.

Comments
  1. Wow! Just Powerful!! And I think the Photo also says it all Right? Lets all take our masks off in Recovery! Great Post.
    *Catherine*

    Liked by 3 people

  2. gh0stpupp3t says:

    Re: kittens
    Faith in humanity restored.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. spykeyone says:

    Very good piece. Well thought out and informative and presents the question very effectively. Well done.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Melanie says:

    WOW! This is perfectly said. You have nailed it. Love is all that I can say.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The picture with Jesus is meaningful to me as I avail myself of His healing power. But the NA and AA rooms would never let this as part of approved literature or as poster in room. I wish there were more Christian recovery groups. Some anti God/Jesus people are so stupid. God with capital G is listed 134 times in the first 164 pages of the AA big book. That doesn’t even count the capital H’s for he, his and him. Then they recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the meeting which is in two of four books of the Gospel. The steps also say “there is one and that one is God. May you find Him now.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      I have also found some of these things to be contradictory in regards to AA. I have known some people that have struggled with saying the Lord’s prayer at the end, thus not enjoying the power of AA/NA. Most people I have encountered have been open and accepting but definitely run across people that are not spreading the message as it were intended.

      I think the picture says it all. It is quite powerful.

      Thanks for sharing your perspective on the topic. This type of conversation adds to the overall discussion of addiction and spirituality.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. artsychicksw says:

    I so enjoyed reading this! It is extremely well researched, well thought out and well written. Imagine a world where all people have their needs for love and connection met! I’m not sure that addiction would even exist in that world and can imagine how far-reaching the effects of that would be.
    While reading about your childhood experience with the kittens my mind went to a theory in psychology called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Perhaps you know of it already. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belongingness” and “love”, “esteem”, “self-actualization”, and “self-transcendence” to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. The image of his theory is a pyramid, with physiological needs on the bottom, then safety and so on until one reaches self-actualization at the top. The thing is this: if your most basic need isn’t being met then you can’t move on beyond that level of development. This is true at any point in moving up the hierarchy. So, first, the kittens needed their physiological needs met…the food, etc. Just as we humans need to first have food/water/sleep etc in order to think about higher needs. If we have these things but aren’t safe, then that is what we can focus on. We aren’t really able to think much about love or self-esteem at that point. And so on up the pyramid.
    I think this theory goes along perfectly with everything you were saying. We need love and nurturing before we can begin to address how we see and feel about ourselves and making that view positive. If you haven’t received the love then how can you possibly feel good about yourself, worthy, valuable etc?
    Finally, we reach self-actualization. “This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. As previously mentioned, Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.” (Wikipedia)
    Now, where does spirituality fit in all of this. Well, in Maslow’s later years he came to understand that self-actualization is more than what he’d earlier theorized. The self only finds its actualization in giving itself to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality.
    For me, though, I think we long for this from the very beginning. We probably can’t get there until we have some of those basic needs met. I’m thinking this is where seeking something outside ourselves to meet this need comes in….addiction. Including everything else you described.
    Beautifully, the way out of addiction is most often found through spirituality, through that connection with something bigger than ourselves. And while in recovery it is those needs lower on the pyramid that can threaten recovery. For instance, the slogan HALT…(Hungry Angry Lonely Tired, for those who may not know). Being in unsafe situations, even ones we put ourselves in, can lead to the desire to escape through alcohol/other drugs. And so on.
    I would quite enjoy knowing your thoughts and responses to what I have shared. It just kind of came to mind and came out without thinking much about it, so your thoughts would be appreciated. I may be missing something or misinterpreting or whatnot.
    Thank you so much for this post! I’ll be sharing it with my husband, who will also greatly appreciate it. Peace to your heart and soul. Sara

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Wow this was very well written, descriptive, and adds quite a bit to the original post. What do you think about love and acceptance being a more important need than that of the physiological needs? Such as what is stated with the experiment with the monkeys. I tend to think that love is a more basic need as when we get depressed – we stop eating and drinking as we lack the energy to do so.

      I do agree that we need to get the basic needs met before going onto the next level, that makes perfect sense. I am familiar with Maslow but did not know about the part in realizing that one only finds actualization in giving to others. Quite interesting! Ties in nicely to Step 12! Thanks for sharing this information as it adds great information to the article. I greatly appreciate it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • artsychicksw says:

        irwinozborne, Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts. I can see what you are saying about love being a more important need. I’m not sure the monkeys actually were getting love in the experiment, though, when they went to the inanimate but comforting cloth object. I’m just throwing this out there….is it more a safety need being met, feeling safe? Just wondering, I’ve not come to any conclusion. Certainly we feel more safe when we have folks that love us and we know will protect us and provide our basic needs. Something to give more thought to.

        Having clinical depression most of my adult life (treated, but having flares when meds stop working; seasonal problems, too) I do relate to the lack of care for our physiological needs. On the other hand, some folks overeat when they are depressed, drink alcohol, etc. Not that it’s healthy, by any means, but again suggests more thought about it. Another thought about that: love in itself cannot (typically) pull someone out of a depression. It’s morning…not my time of day as I have fibromyalgia. My brain isn’t working well yet LOL So, I have more questions than answers right now.

        You are so right about Maslow’s later thoughts about giving to others being right in line with step 12….I hadn’t put that together yet, thank you. (I’m an AlAnoner, myself; my husband in recovery) To add to that, we now know that giving and doing for others actually releases natural chemicals in our body that help us to feel good! For me, that’s a strong link with my Higher Power and completes the circle of self-actualization including spirituality.

        I’ve very much enjoyed discussing this with you. If I have more clarity about this later (and remember to come back here) I’ll perhaps have a more intelligent response 😉

        Peace to your heart, Sara

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Mary says:

    Solid food here!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This makes me think of God as He is depicted in Scripture and in the image above, especially in John 13:34-35. If only we would love Him and one another as He has loved (and does love) us, I believe the world would be a more peaceful and less painful place!

    Liked by 4 people

  9. This article is amazing and so timely for me and I think for so many people. The need for a spiritual connection, (which is human) is why all effective addiction treatment programs include this need in approaches to healing and recovery. I am going to reblog this to my website.

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for sharing the article! Yes, it should be a part of all treatment programs and I honestly think it should be a part of any type of education curriculum. Teaching kids to love each other, be honest, connect with something outside of themselves is far more helpful than learning the pythagorean theorem.

      I do appreciate the nice comments and sharing the article. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Deanne says:

    This is a awesome post… Filled with insights on so many levels💕💕💕

    Liked by 3 people

  11. brianbalke says:

    What a great post, Irwin. I’ve got some quibbles, but they’re exposed entirely coincidentally in a post titled “The Trust Mind” that I wrote this morning. I can’t post while I’m at work, so it will come up this evening. In part, it reflects the cult of Dionysius in Greek Hellenismos and the use of addictions to attain spiritual integration. I hope that you don’t mind me linking back to this, as your post provides valuable supporting detail.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Not at all. In fact, I am quite interested to read your post! I find the the history of ancient cultures fascinating and also the role it plays in shaping how we live today. I look forward to reading what you have to write about Dionysius.

      Like

  12. Great article – thank you.

    Jesus said that He will return and bring this perfect world back for us. He will reign for 1,000 years in Jerusalem – no more death.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Anthony867 says:

    Spot on. Ideally one should feel the same as after a few drinks, without them just without the dizzyness. This though works often with interaction of others being in the same state which is why drugs are often needed.

    I also think that the egostates do play a role here even though I don’t like this model in general, yet it is applicable to many things. With alcohol the critical parentstate gets usually put to sleep. It needs thinking and with alcohol that gets dealt with. This way you are in free childstate aka yourself whereas with critical parantstate beliefs you end up in adjusted childstate at least to an extent that it is not a spiritual experience. The critical parentstate which are beliefs and perceptions filters your true being and distorts it.

    Now this adjusted childstate is also needed cause nobody would work that much although that is another topic. Approaching work from a clear self perception shouldn’t neccessarily not be working out. It’s just that our economy would suffer from it cause it is based on people not being fully happy. Well overall without a void to be filled it seems we are not motivated or were to get things done.

    Then in the morning the hangover I feel is not so much about physical things, but rather the parentstate perception kicking back in and then looking back, sometimes going hand in hand with feelings of regret or shame. Sometimes we can’t remember the evening which seems to be a protect meachanism from such feelings.

    I like the songline: “Every night I think I know, in the morning where did it go” Often at the end of the day we reached a higher state of consciousness also just without any drugs. Then over night we may dream of things that we were supressing and it feels like we start over again in the morning.

    As for the free childstate often there is narcissism involved which is why some people don’t really behave all too spiritually yet it is needed.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Anthony867 says:

    Spot on. Ideally one should feel the same as after a few drinks, without them just without the dizzyness. This though works often with interaction of others being in the same state which is why drugs are often needed.

    I also think that the egostates do play a role here even though I don’t like this model in general, yet it is applicable to many things. With alcohol the critical parentstate gets usually put to sleep. It needs thinking and with alcohol that gets dealt with. This way you are in free childstate aka yourself whereas with critical parantstate beliefs you end up in adjusted childstate at least to an extent that it is not a spiritual experience. The critical parentstate which are beliefs and perceptions filters your true being and distorts it.

    Now this adjusted childstate is also needed cause nobody would work that much although that is another topic. Approaching work from a clear self perception shouldn’t neccessarily not be working out. It’s just that our economy would suffer from it cause it is based on people not being fully happy. Well overall without a void to be filled it seems we are not motivated or were to get things done.

    Then in the morning the hangover I feel is not so much about physical things, but rather the parentstate perception kicking back in and then looking back, sometimes going hand in hand with feelings of regret or shame. Sometimes we can’t remember the evening which seems to be a protect meachanism from such feelings.

    I like the songline: “Every night I think I know, in the morning where did it go” Often at the end of the day we reached a higher state of consciousness also just without any drugs. Then over night we may dream of things that we were supressing and it feels like we start over again in the morning.

    As for the free childstate often there is narcissism involved which is why some people don’t really behave all too spiritually yet it is needed.

    But this all also explains why sometimes it is enough to be among people who had a few drinks and to share the state without drinking oneself whereas one may drink by himself and then be among people who all have that parent state going and therefore frame ones behaviour as weird or such and actually also suggest and enable such things.

    Definetly a highly interesting topic.

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for this post! This is quite interesting and a paints a very accurate picture. I always enjoy reading your deep perspectives.

      In the first paragraph are you saying that people in the same state are able to interact effectively? Or ineffectively? I would think that people in different states would have a stronger urge to use a substance to deflate this parent state?

      Thanks for adding this to the article.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony867 says:

        I think so too, but I feel there is more to it. I meant if people are their true self or in such a state they effortlessly connect like dogs. Yet also dogs have that parentstate of their “owners” and you can see when people walk their dogs and the dog is not their friend but raised to be obedient the dog is a metapher for their true self in adjusted childstate and it reinforces their non true self states, like parents and their children.

        When I was younger it was easier to connect with old friends, we didn’t have that parentstate. Now we reached the age of 32 on average and even though there is drinking to reach such a state it is biased cause many’s free child became naricisstic and it uses the parent state to feed off others. There is also too much enabling that develops a dynamic of its own so these friendships got weakened which though is not really how it should be. At the same time it never were true friendships or very superficial or unconscious ones cause nobody had a clue who he was.

        The fascinating thing is that at times we do get there often with the help of music or doing the things we did when we were younger and then it’s gone. Ideally imo a parentstate consists of encouraging and nurturing and isn’t really a state but supporting who you are.

        Now that I think about it what I mean overall is that the parentstate became a part of people’s life to cope with life and even though they may use a substance it is not to deflate it but to deflate unwanted feelings. So this makes it drug abuse yet it’s also coping whereas if you use it to be your true self it has a different frame yet if you overuse it it also comes with downsides. There seems to be 2 kinda people, some want to reach to who they are and some want to not deal with certain feelings and things about themselves and this then could collide when both of them drink, yet it’s a simplistic look at it I feel. I’m not sure. I see my post got already quite long, there is so much attached to it.

        Thanks for your article also, it brought me back in touch with these perceptions. They just always have the potential to lead to overthinking haha. But in the end it’s just supposed to be one picture and zooming in is just an option. I hope it makes sense, I’m more intuitve, well we all are I guess and it’s not always easy with words.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Anthony867 says:

        Thing is now I see the unwanted feelings also are attached to this parentstate perception so overall it seems people in different states use drugs to deflate it as you wrote.

        Liked by 2 people

      • irwinozborne says:

        Overthinking can be good at times in an analytical sense. It is helpful for everyone to discuss these topics from an analytical view.

        I agree with you that it actually deflates unwanted feelings, that is what leads to dependence. I also agree that is attached to the false self / parent state / ego or whatever we choose to call it. That reinfroces us to continue to drink/use.

        Liked by 3 people

  15. Anthony867 says:

    Oh sry i posted double 🙂 Could you delete the first one and this, then it’s how I meant it 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Fascinating article. It makes sense to me that the redwood trees would interconnect their roots out for 100 feet in order to stay standing strong and to help nourish each other. Now, the question is, for a retired 69 year old, how do I establish those roots which keep me strong? I’m in musicals; taking Hula, Ukulele and Hawaiian language lessons, but growing deep/wide roots with others still seems elusive!

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Growing roots certainly gets more challenging with age. We think back to when we were children and basically you see another child and ask “do you want to be my friend?” and we are off running to the park together. As we grow older, we start to lose that ability to naturally connect with other people as we get involved in our own worlds.

      However, I think you are definitely deepening your own roots with all the things you are involved! That is quite impressive and admirable! Do you feel any sense of connection with the people in those groups you are involved?

      Thanks for the nice comments as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. […] The Craving behind the Craving: Addiction as a Spiritual Disease. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  18. spartandts says:

    Just one point – I don’t drink because I like the feeling; but the taste. I only drink craft beer and red wine, and I have a drink or two almost daily. I live in Michigan and we have great breweries all over the state making many top notch brews. I really like the taste of good beer and good wine, but don’t do so for the feeling. Thus, not 100% of people drink for the feeling it provides. I also drink a lot of good coffee – for the taste, not the caffeine. I grind my own beans and try many different roasts. I’m kind of a beer and coffee snob I guess.

    Liked by 4 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Interesting. I truly appreciate your perspective and added point to this article.

      While it is true that your number one primary reason for drinking alcohol is because you like the taste, wouldn’t you also check the box that states you enjoy the feeling it provides? The survey allows you to check as many boxes as are applicable. Even though the taste is the primary reason to drink, I would argue that you can not drink alcohol without it affecting your emotions which is an added bonus for anyone to use. If not, how often do you choose to try non-alcoholic drinks or Decaffeinated coffee in your tastings?

      Would you agree that you would also check the box that states you enjoy the feeling it provides, even though it is not your primary reason?

      Thanks again for the interesting perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Joyful2bee says:

    This was a well thought out blog with lots of information and a very insightful solution to addiction. There is of course a physical element but that can be beaten too with help. Great resource too!! Thank you for sharing with us!

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thank you for the very nice comments! Yes there is the physical component, but I do think that tends to be the first part of recovery. I do think that for prolonged recovery there needs to be a spiritual solution to help fill these voids or the person is prone to relapse (partially due to the physical nature of the disease). Thanks for adding this piece as it was not addressed in the article. I appreciate the feedback.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Joyful2bee says:

        You are very welcome and very knowledgeable about this topic. I always felt as a nurse that the patients would be much less fearful if they could learn everything they could about their illness. Knowledge beats the monsters of fear and ignorance.

        Liked by 2 people

      • irwinozborne says:

        Beautifully stated! I like that. I agree, knowledge is the key! Then comes the part of using that key to unlock the door to personal freedom! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  20. […] We surrender ourselves to trust, and so relate more freely and deeply than we would otherwise. (See this post by Irwin Osbourne for more on this […]

    Liked by 3 people

  21. MAMA DEB says:

    Great article! I love the connection and reference to spirituality. Finally, an article about addiction which appeals to a non-addict. It truly held my interest, and therefore explained a lot. Thank you for reaching me in a way that truly spoke to my heart.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read through the article and comment. It is nice to hear from people (addicts and non-addicts) as to what reaches them and allows the message to be heard. I am glad to hear it had such an impat on someone and truly appreciate the nice comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. New Journey says:

    great post, really like the picture…took me a moment but only a moment…I finally looked at the faces and not what was going on….very moving picture….great article…

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Noelene says:

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. phebek108 says:

    What a wonderful synopsis of addiction and spirituality! I was young in the 1970’s U.S. and hung out with a group of seekers. After the LSD trips went bad, after some friends began recovery in AA, I discovered that meditation and chanting were free and didn’t leave a bad after effect. Brava and look forward to more of your blog posts. Phebe, “The Goddess Babe”

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Well said! It’s free, we can do it anywhere, no hangover, and don’t have to worry about bad trips. Thanks for sharing your personal experience and how it ties into all of this. I think all personal accounts and testimonies only help make the message stronger! Thanks for taking the time to read through the article and comment with personal experience.

      Like

  25. Jennifer says:

    That was an awe inspiring story. It sure makes a lot of sense. Keep your wisdom coming

    Liked by 3 people

  26. swamiyesudas says:

    You always write well, my Dear T! Hearty Kudos again.

    But there IS a thing called evil. You and I know that there are people who would calmly break and tear people from limb to limb, and THAT is evil.

    As for reasons and solutions, let us keep fighting for a Better World!

    Hearty Regards. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thank you kindly for the nice words! I understand what you are saying, but I still believe my grandmother’s words that there is only “misguided love.” People are not born evil, they are created by abuse, neglect, trauma, and victims of hate themselves. You can look at the past of anyone who is evil and would almost guarantee there are some very serious traumatic experiences, neglect, and misguided love in their paths. Perhaps it would be better phrased as “nobody is born evil.”

      Thanks for bringing this up as I think this is always a very important discussion. I appreciate taking the time to read and comment.

      Like

      • swamiyesudas says:

        My Dear Irwin, evil is a concept, a name, applied to a state of mind or affairs. Like brokenness.

        The very best Rolex watch, factory tested, did not come out broken, and WHATEVER THE REASON, once it is fallen or crushed, it is ‘broken.’ To say brokenness does not exist is meaningless.

        I appreciate Your love and faithfulness to Your grandmother, but Philosophy is Philosophy.

        Regards.

        Liked by 2 people

      • irwinozborne says:

        Thanks for the response, I enjoy the conversation. I like the way you put it here, as a concept applied to a state of mind. That seems to resonate better. The analogy you give also makes it more clear.

        Would you agree though that the Rolex comes from the factory as a good, working watch? And then it becomes broken? If so, I think we are in agreement. I think we are both acknowledging evil exists, but does not start this way.

        It’s interesting as I reflected on your statements from yesterday about the concept of evil, I realized it was the 70-year anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Clearly, an evil act, in an evil war, that took far too many innocent lives from all corners of the globe.

        I agree with you, evil does exist as you have stated. However, I do still believe that we are not born that way and that monsters are created, as opposed to being born.

        Thanks again for the way you were able to put this into words. I appreciate the feedback on the article and the nice words.

        Like

  27. jenjenmaria says:

    Reblogged this on jenjenonline and commented:
    Superb.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. trotter387 says:

    i enjoy reading your blog and the reasoning behind the progression. Here is one I can’t agree with though – spiritual and physical just words as you suggest when quoting other sources however the spiritual is not additive because all of us can lose that connection and all of us need to work for it everyday.

    The biblical use of the word spiritual is a contrived adjective connoting invisibility and power originating from God. That which comes from within is not by nature spiritual as these can be both immature and demonstrate a lack of understanding.

    How the adverb can be used to indicate where our focus is Paul uses it in Romans 8: 6 our minds fixed on the things above.

    Also you refer to unconditional love – God is love however we await the foretold destruction of the wicked according to the bible so how can his love be described as unconditional and if it is how is it just and kind?

    Again really enjoyed the read through and found some points that require more time for consideration.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for the nice comments and also offering your perspective on this subject. I find this a very interesting point of view. In your first paragraph you mention that we can lose the connection and work for it everyday and I am in 100-percent agreement with you. It is progressive and involves an entire lifestyle change.

      I want to use an analogy to explain spirituality and religion. A Mercedes is a type of car. In the owner manual of the Mercedes it will repeated use the word “car” in reference to the specific one that you own. But that does not mean that that use of the word “car” refers to every type of automobile. The same is true for spirituality and religion. Religion is a type of spirituality; and the use of the term in the Bible makes sense for this type.

      However, spirituality is a broader term. It has do with finding connection to others, purpose and meaning in life, and finding inner peace and calmness. Religion works for billions of people which is wonderful! Others find this sense in nature, within the universe, and this is also wonderful.

      Which is why I quote Eckhart Tolle as he explains it is not so much the word itself, but the experience. If you took away the word spirituality and called it something else it would work the same. It is more important to understand what the experience of connection, togetherness, unconditional love, clarity, and inner peace feels like than to have the same word/label.

      I truly admire your strong faith, as well as sharing some important information for this topic. I’m surely not trying to convince anyone to believe in anything or disbelieve in anything. I am more trying to make the connection of a spiritual moment (inner joy) to that of being intoxicated, along with the potential for this to be habit-forming to fill that void.

      I am interested to hear more / talk more about this subject. Thanks for the discussion. This is helpful for many.

      Like

  29. bp7o9 says:

    The picture you’ve chosen to add hit me hard. I have a very ugly memory of seeing someone shoot up. It’s one of my treasured ugly memories, if there can be such a thing. The site of that and the memory it invokes has kept me from falling down some very dark paths. The naked NEED of the addict cannot be described in words; the sweating, the licking of the lips, the jabbing of the needle to hit the vein. It’s more than senses can accept.

    Pulling back from that darkness, you bring up several points (thank you for your thoroughness) I’d like to touch on.

    Spirituality, nirvana, zen…Whatever you want to call it, we all want it instinctively. Even when I’m in a rage and LOVING being in a rage, I still desire peace more than the time, ability, or indulgence to continue with my tirade. I rant and scream BECAUSE I want peace.

    Humanity’s use of mind altering substances is not unique. In parts of Africa, when fruit trees begin to have over ripe fruit, animals come from all over to feast and get wasted. This desire to alter our consciousness is inherent, I believe, in everything on this planet (ever see a pet get into someone’s stash? they don’t walk away or stop until it’s all gone). So while I have that ugly memory of an addict shooting up, I cannot condemn anyone who desires to alter their own consciousness, to seek for what is beyond their physical reality. It’s part of our nature.

    The argument can be made that mind altering substances were put here to do just what they do – alter our consciousness, see a little bit beyond and above what we are. For myself, that smacks of truth. The problem comes in when people who are not stable decide to use.

    Stable people can come in all forms and guises. So can unstable people. I’ve seen supposedly ‘stable’ individuals go off the deep end, and supposedly ‘unstable’ individuals handle large doses of mind altering substances with no discernible difference in their behavior other than the fact they laughed a lot.

    Frankly, as long as ANY drug is “illegal” to the general public it will remain a danger. People who choose to use have to lie and hide it. This creates a sense of shame, which can cycle into more abuse. Casual users can become abusers just because they can’t discuss their experiences. People who get addicted can’t really get help; if they’re running from their reality, which a lot are, getting off the drug is only going to confirm what they don’t want to see: nothing’s changed.

    So yes, after that very long winded ramble I agree with you. We must take care of people first, start from the bottom up. Go back to Maslow’s pyramid. Make sure everyone has shelter, clothing, food, safety, education, health care, access to opportunities, help when they need it. It’s the only way to break addiction and maybe – just maybe – get mind altering substances back to the spiritual realm rather than the gutter.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Wow. Thank you for this very well-thought, insightful response. I’m sorry you had to experience some of those moments which certainly are unpleasant and engrained in our minds forever. Definitely not a “long-winded ramble,” I thought it was a great addition to the post.

      A few interesting points. The first is about the illegality of the drugs. I think the better way of putting it is the decriminalization of drugs, meaning offering people education and treatment as opposed to locking them up. As stated in the article, people who are addicted or dependent of a drug NEED connection and are craving connection. So locking them up is the absolute opposite of what is going to help them. They have done this in Portugal and have some pretty positive results. In America they are offering more treatment, but the jails and prisons continue to be overfilled as a result of the failed Drug War that has profited corporations, politicians, and private prisons….but that is another story for another day.

      Thanks for the nice response and added material.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. James says:

    Hello!
    Harry Harlow’s experiments were a study relating to attachment theory, not to the meeting of survival needs for milk, water, and tuna in cats. Harlow’s experiments were barbaric because they let animals harm each other, and also involved artificially inseminating female monkeys on what he called ‘rape racks’ (Burman, 1994).

    Psychological science, and the public didn’t know much about the darker side of Harlow’s research protocols, and also automatically assumed that Harlow’s theory of attachment also related to humans.

    This assumption was perhaps an error because it failed to acknowledge: the assumptions, social agenda behind the research, that monkeys are a different species that were in an unusual environment, and that Harlow’s research protocols poorly approximated everyday human infant life and relationships. A social agenda behind attachment theory is about determining what is needed to create self-governing citizens (Burman, 1994).

    To then write: “As shown by Harlow, spirituality in regards to love and connection is a basic human need” is wildly inaccurate. Harlow’s experiments had nothing to do with spirituality. Perhaps if the author had pointed to Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of needs theory and self-actualization, the reference to research might have been a bit more credible, even though it is just a theory. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is not culturally universal, and was constructed based on observations of people who were mostly caucasian men at a time when Maslow himself was trying to understand why German soldiers behaved violently to prisoners of war. It is important to understand the context of research.

    In a slightly later paragraph, the author wrote: “Back to the story with my grandmother, the behavioral theory would suggest…” Could you please tell us which behavioral theory the author is pointing to? Is it attachment, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, or something else? It would be helpful to know. Referring to research to support a point is wonderful, however how about using it accurately, and with awareness?

    My comments are not meant to detract from the authors’ overall message, and if I can help with accuracy in the future, then reach out to me. It would have been nice to have read a stronger concluding paragraph, and some transitions between the sections of the blog post to unify the whole piece. These are just my preferences though. Thank you for spreading a message that is intended to connect people, and which is intended to encourage greater understanding and harmony.

    James

    Burman, E. (1994). Deconstructing developmental psychology. Routledge: London.
    Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Hi James,

      Thanks for taking time to read the article and provide useful feedback for the article. I will certainly use this information in the future to better present material for readers. I truly appreciate your remarks.

      Especially in you final paragraph in which you state you do not wish to detract the overall message, which is in sense is “seeing the forest for the trees.” Which brings me to the first point of your comment I would like to address – the concluding paragraph. I am going to strongly, albeit respectfully, disagree with the statement. The article is about addiction as a spiritual disease, hence, needing a spiritual solution. The closing paragraphs shares a story of people in recovery enjoying a spiritual experience without psychoactive substances – some of us for the first time. Also the analogy explains that we need to work together and hold each other up (spirituality) if we are to grow as tall as the redwoods (recovery). However, this is a pure matter of taste and opinion and no need to discuss it any further.

      As far as Harlow’s experiments are concerned, I do state that it is “highly controversial.” I did not feel the need to explain the reasons why it was controversial as that is irrelevant to the point of bringing it up in the first place. The point is to explain that there is a fundamental need for love and attachment in the early years of development. I will also argue that it is about spirituality. While he does not use the exact term “spirituality,” it is clear that the study is to understand the need of love and connection – which is the essence of spirituality.

      In reference to monkeys being a different species, there are also studies from Schaffer and Emerson that explain the different levels of attachment in babies. These show that the baby forms stronger attachments to those play with them and communicate with them the most – not those who feed them, change them, or spend time with the. Again, showing that love and attachment is a basic human need. Love and connection equaling spirituality.

      We can nitpick the fine details together back-and-forth all day, but that certainly is not the point of the article. This is not an academic piece, it is spoken purely from the heart from personal experiences to share the message of addiction as a spiritual disease and help others in their recovery by finding their personal spiritual solution. Which is the opposite of the concluding paragraph and clearly not seeing the forest for the trees.

      I do sincerely appreciate the feedback as it will be useful in future writings, though I would encourage you to look deeper into the message of the article. While you state you do not wish to take away from the overall message of the article – the attention given to the trees as opposed to the forest – it is quite contradicting.

      Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read through the entire piece and give some meaningful feedback along with your effort in providing sources to your information. I am grateful that others have an opportunity to read this message and hopefully gain a greater understanding of addiction, recovery, and spirituality.

      Irwin

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Avril says:

    Glad to read your latest post Irwin, brilliant, timely and oh so validating. I agree the essence of your story is the message and we all truly need to support each other to discover our own innate spirituality, which I believe we were born with but then we were “educated and conditioned2 into separation consciousness. Now we can find our way back home, in other words, without the masks, that keep that intimate connection at bay.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Laura says:

    This is so beautifully written and so very, painfully true!

    Liked by 3 people

  33. givingleaf says:

    That’s right… thank you for pointing out the true message those who the world calls “addicted” really are needing to get out. What we need is love and a sense of meaning within life, and everyone needs this. drugs and everything else is just a way (a wrong way) to try to reach it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for the nice comments and perfectly stated summary. The short cuts never work! But it sure is a beautiful moment when we do find that true connection, love, and acceptance.

      Like

  34. safirefalcon says:

    The info on the redwoods is fascinating. I’ve been there but didn’t know this and I love how you put all this together as far as roots and connection and spirituality.

    I have been a binge drinker and I much prefer craft beer. And as much as I like to drink it for the taste, when it comes to being drunk, I used to get those things out of it. But then I started to behave in obnoxious ways and say obnoxious things. So I stopped drinking.

    As far as cannabis goes, I remember the early years and the feeling of it was intense. But that feeling faded and I would get agitated and sound sensitive when it wore off. And it wasn’t as intense anymore. In fact it made me paranoid. I continued indulging in it anyway and the reason is that I loved (and now miss) the ritual, the taste, and the smell of it. I even love the sound of it.

    If there was such a thing that could give me those things without the feeling, then I would probably indulge in that.

    Liked by 3 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for sharing your personal experiences, that takes courage and also adds to the importance of the message behind the article. That is exactly how dependency works, we rent the feeling that the drug provides – we always have to pay it back with high interest rates. Every feeling the drug initially gives us, it will end up depriving us of that same exact feeling.

      There is a way to experience these things naturally, to get a “natural high.” It is not easy and not as readily available but when we do experience it, it is quite remarkable, there is no hangover, or dependency, and even more long-lasting. This is why when you get involved in recovery communities you notice everyone has indulged on their personal concept of spirituality. They are indulging in whatever natural ways gets them high. My first experience was overwhelmed at how many people were naturally loving, genuinely caring for others, and held inner peace. They found the secret and were trying to share it with others.

      Thanks so much for sharing and adding to the article.

      Liked by 2 people

  35. Definitely addiction is a spiritual need, for God the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son.
    I was an alcoholic, but God delievered me 21 years ago.
    Melinda

    Liked by 3 people

  36. urrecyclebin says:

    Hi.. Really an eye opener for me… After reading your post i realise that I am very spiritual too… There is no need to be a religioys personto be spiritual.. I am truly at peace and I feel proud bcos I realise I ammore spiritual than many religioys people around me.. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Thanks for the comments and glad to know that this post was helpful for you. Often the words get interchanged but they have quite different meanings. Also glad that you have been able to find your sense of spirituality and find personal inner peace and freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. walkerkaty0 says:

    Very eye opening. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Irwin,
    Both to your thoughts and all of the feedback, I am not only enligtened but impassioned. I don’t judge , I feel, I feel for all of those and wish to help.
    Someone made a statement that rang very true with me: There are many forms of addiction and stability among people and those that are considered out of line was commented; “they are created by abuse, neglect, trauma, and victims of hate themselves. You can look at the past of anyone who is evil and would almost guarantee there are some very serious traumatic experiences, neglect, and misguided love in their paths. Perhaps it would be better phrased as “nobody is born evil.” I totally agree with this statement, This rings true, I was a victim of abuse, neglect in a sense and misguided love and directed under the influence of spirituality. Learning to live with that and take our places in society made that more difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

    • irwinozborne says:

      Wow thanks for sharing such a personal story. I agree that the best way to put it is that no one is born evil. I’m sorry you had to deal with the trauma and abuse. It makes everything incredibly difficult. You have a strong soul and i appreciate your willingness to share and contribute to the article.

      Like

  39. Reeling past that and sharing that with someone is purging. I thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  40. […] The Craving behind the Craving: Addiction as a Spiritual Disease. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  41. darie73 says:

    As someone who is an alcoholic and Bipolar I keep an open mind and really try to learn and understand where a point of view is coming from. This can be difficult at times. I had two extremely loving and supportive parents who did the best they could. A large percentage of people with addiction problems have an underlying mental health problem that they are not aware of. I didn’t want a spiritual connection or fulfillment, I wanted to be numb. I wanted the immense pain I felt for no reason I could understand, to go away. The only way I could make this happen was to drink. I self medicated for over 20 years before getting a diagnosis. Once I found the reason WHY I was drinking it became much easier to eventually work my way to sobriety/remission. If you really look at research you’ll see that mental illness is one of the main reasons for addictions. Thank you for sharing your information.

    Like

  42. EyezOfAnAddict says:

    Beautifully written and thought provoking.
    I woke up and read this beautiful piece on my way to work.
    This is incredibly fitting as well, especially for myself. I think it’s incredibly easy for myself to forget the importance of spirituality. That craving behind the obsession
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s