Spiritual Disconnection in Addiction

Spiritual disconnection in addiction is an internal distress that can have very little to do with religious beliefs or practices. We tend to equate spirituality with religious practice, but they are two very distinct issues. In this discussion, spiritual issues are considered in a broader definition. They include:Spirituality

  • a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life
  • a sense of connectedness to others, the community, one’s culture and the world at large
  • a sense of service to others and an ability to make a contribution to the world
  • a set of sustaining beliefs, ethics, or a philosophy that guides one’s conduct
  • having direction in life overall
  • having values and goals
  • having meaningful activity

The Distress of Disconnection

When one feels disconnected from an aspect of broader spirituality, there are many negative consequences. Among these are, for example:

  • feeling lost, having no ambition, drive or motivation, experiencing no ‘rhyme or reason’ in life overall
  • feeling unimportant, useless and of little worth
  • feeling alone, abandoned, alienated or isolated
  • being without guiding principles to organize around
  • having no direction to orient your activity or life’s work
  • feeling that you simply ‘go through the motions’ of life

The Role of Substance Use in Spiritual Disconnection

Intoxication alters our moods and thought processes. Consequently, our behavior changes, too. If this were not the case, we would have little motivation to use substances. We look to them for a change in our internal status quo. Also, as we have repeated episodes of intoxication, our outer lives begin to reflect the alterations that occur inside us. The lives we’ve built and typically lived change, too.

Our spirituality is the result of many things: our thoughts, feelings, experiences, beliefs… We come to our spiritual selves equipped with what we’ve learned from life experiences and what we’ve reasoned with our intellectual abilities, values, morals and ethics. Additionally, the environment in which we live helps make us who we are. Our associates and close affiliations do, too. As we shift all of these things in active addiction, we gradually shift who we are–internally and in the external trappings of our lives.

Living a spiritually disconnected life means that our higher reason, belief systems, values, ethics, goals, dreams and motivations have receded. The foundation of our lives and the drivers in our lives change. Addiction demands center stage and we begin to order our purpose and meaning around intoxication. If we persist, we have no ultimate choice. We have to disconnect from spiritual concerns.