Bobby Wall, Wakefield, Massachusetts
13 June 2018

If you are a member of a 12-Step fellowship, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “spiritual malady” used before in a meeting or from someone in the program. With all of these terms and ideas being thrown around, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused whenever we hear phrases such as spiritual malady. 

The only way we can grow in the program and recover is by understanding our condition on a much deeper level, and that’s by understanding what’s going on inside of us. In our previous posts we discussed the body and mind portion of the disease of addiction, now we want to jump into the spiritual (emotional) side of it. They say we suffer from a spiritual malady, but what does that mean anyway? And even if that is true, how exactly does one address and fix a “spiritual malady”?

Spiritual Malady
Photograph by Bobby Wall via Facebook
Within the Big Book Of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. says that the alcoholic or addict suffers from a spiritual malady. This spiritual malady is the reason for his or her obsessive and destructive thinking, drinking, using and other negative behaviors. Without addressing this spiritual malady, there is no hope to recover from this seemingly hopeless state of mind, body and spirit. So, what exactly is this spiritual malady Bill W. is referring to? If fixing it is what’s standing between us and a sober, healthy, happy, recovered life, then what do we need to do? We will try our best to summarize what we have found out about the spiritual malady.

If an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his or her spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he or she could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.

The spiritual malady, in the sense that Bill W. is describing, essentially is referring to a large, endless void in our lives and souls that we constantly attempt to fill with external things such as drugs, alcohol, sex, money, shopping, and the list goes on and on. It is the emptiness, the purposeless we feel on such a deep level that we turn to self-medication in order to alleviate the depression and despair that go hand in hand with the malady. But while we attempt to fill this void with anything and everything we can think of, we completely miss that the only thing that can actually fulfill us is a connection with a higher power, something greater than ourselves. You may be asking yourself ‘How does one build a relationship with a power greater than themselves?’ I will share my experience below.
Finding Freedom
Photograph by Bobby Wall via Instagram
I build my relationship with my Higher Power just like any other relationship. A successful relationship requires a lot of things in order to be successful I believe. Here are some of the ones I find most important. A successful relationship takes kind, honest and constant communication. Without talking to your Higher Power on a daily basis, throughout the day,  your relationship will not survive. The more you communicate, the better you’ll understand one another. The next requirement is trust. I must trust that my Higher Power has the best life planned for me and as long as I don’t get in the way, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.
So to summarize our theory on the spiritual malady is just this, we must practice spiritual principles and disciplines in all of our affairs and constantly seek our own conception of a Higher Power on a daily basis. It states in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his or her spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he or she could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. Going through the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and enlarging my spiritual life on a daily basis has absolutely saved my life and I am forever grateful!