The Body, Mind and Spirit of Addiction

Written by Chris Clancy

Coming to terms with the dimensions of reality that addiction encompasses can be a complicated thing. The first thing that addiction does is take away our awareness. Drugs and alcohol lock us in a never-ending cycle of craving and aversion that keep us from accessing the very dimension of self-awareness and pause required to transcend it. Then, when we attempt to get sober we are locked in a seemingly never-ending field of anxiety, withdrawal, craving, and discomfort which tends to also inhibit our ability to be self-aware. We have kicked the can of self-awareness down the proverbial street for so long that we are required to learn in a hurry what should have been learned over long sustained periods of time.

The mind and body rebel and we become unable to access the dimension of serenity that enables us to move forward into some kind of grace and well-being. We hang on to the roller coaster of our emotions as our body and mind attempt to find a new sense of place in the powerlessness we have discovered.

In order to understand the state of addiction and its relationship to mind, body, and spirit we have to tear it all apart. We have to take a look at what these dimension of ourselves encompass to better understand the care we must take to transcend this disease. There is no cure for the disease of addiction… only care. 

What is The Mind?

The mind is basically just a tape recorder. Its job is to collect information and define the physical reality of our existence in relation to that. It’s only able to process new stimuli by what its already seen and heard through the 5 senses—or in its relationship to the past. It’s a limited possibility, especially in relation to transcending the effects of addiction. The mind always falls back on the known to define what its seeing and hearing, touching, tasting, smelling and experiencing. It’s a limited possibility.

After much life experience, we develop grooves in the mind called Samskaras. Samskaras are ruts or grooves of habit cut into our head by recollections, impressions and psychological imprints. Addiction is the ultimate samskara. Addiction is a groove that we fall back on subconsciously over and over again to solve the problem of the intensity and discomfort of the present moment. The problem of addiction cannot be solved in the realm of the known. We have to have a completely new experience that overshadows the habit, solutions, comfort, and understanding of the mind.

What is Body?

Our bodies are basically just collected food. We start out as a tiny baby and we eat food which is transformed into flesh or earth. We grow big. The body is our earth element. Our emotional life can also be collected and stored in the body. When our emotional life is collected into a responsive body it blocks energy flow which inhibits our ability to move into new dimensions of physical energy, understanding, and reality. The body is a conduit for the five senses. The body also has its own samskaric element.  They say our issues lay in our tissues. When it comes to addicts and addiction recovery, movement is essential. Recovering addicts and alcoholics have to move. We physically move our bodies into a new realm loosening the energy of the emotional body to be able to create a new form. It is action that is required.

What is Spirit?

Spirit is the non-physical part of a person that is characterized as the seat of the soul.

When we talk about spirit or our spiritual realm, we are talking about the dimension of ourselves that lies beyond the five senses. It is the dimension of ourselves that lies beyond what is logical-beyond what is currently known- beyond the body and the logical mind.

What cannot be contained in logic, or what cannot be perceived by the sense perceptions, is what we are referring to as the spiritual or mystical dimension of ourselves. That dimension of truth which cannot be boxed into your logical mind is being labeled “spiritual.” When you say, “we want to explore spirituality,” you are saying that you are willing to go beyond your present levels of understanding and experience, and look for the truth. So, our logical mind (or the known) will not be of use to us here. Only what has been fed to you through the filters of your five-sense organs is the content of your logic. And these sense organs are not reliable here. So, in recovery, we are going to be exploring a different entirely new dimension of ourselves.

Our addiction centers and reactions to codependency and trauma are centered in the physical. We have a “disease” that centers in the mind and body. For the sufferer of such ailments, it is imperative that we access and make dominant the dimension of ourselves that lie in the spiritual realm. What does this mean? When we talk of the spiritual realm we are talking about accessing the dimension of ourselves that lies beyond the mind and body. This dimension of ourselves lies beyond the physical or beyond the five senses. This dimension of ourselves is separate from the mind and body and is able to discriminate the mind and bodies games, follies and habits.

What is Recovery and the Spiritual Connection?

The system of spiritual recovery, the 12 steps, treatment, yoga, meditation, and spiritual practice are technologies used to create a distinction between you and your body and mind. There is a space between what we have gathered as body and mind. Our disease is centered in the body and mind. Becoming conscious of this space is the first and only step toward recovery and freedom. It is the accumulated physiological and psychological content that causes the cyclical patterns of addiction, codependency and trauma. If we can develop the awareness of this space and be constantly conscious of it, we have opened up the dimension of unlimited possibility in terms of recovery and life itself.

About the Author

Jeff Finlin is a singer/songwriter and Yoga of Recovery Counselor who brings his extensive knowledge to JourneyPure to help heal patients in recovery through yoga and experiential songwriting therapy.

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