What’s been the biggest surprise in working with and studying Addiction is the element of spirituality that’s so much a part of the whole process. I don’t mean “spirituality” from a religious perspective, but from a perspective of a “spirit” that manifests within those who are addicted to various substances. For example, I’ve written about heroin being the Devil’s Drug, but crystal meth is so destructive that it literally robs a person of their very flesh. The physical changes that encompass crystal meth, heroin, and alcohol addiction mirror the changes that occur in descriptions of demonic possession.
Within the span of an hour, I caught the last part of a movie called, “Deliver us from Evil” in which a murder suspect was being exorcised from a demonic spirit and a music video by Skid Row for a song called, “Wasted Time” about a kid who overdosed on heroin. Though the topics were quite different and Wasted Time came out about 22 years before Deliver us From Evil, the way the heroin addicted was depicted was agonizingly similar to the possessed soul.
Also, when I’ve sat down and talked with people who are detoxing from various substances, they simply look profoundly sick – not only ill, but as if there’s something missing in their eyes. In seeing depictions of addicts and possessed souls, I am reminded of people I’ve sat with and, unfortunately, sensed that physical death was imminent for them. It’s like something else had already taken their humanity; all that remained was their physical body.
I don’t see humanity as separate from divinity. In looking at great works of art, music, and literature, I see capability that can only be inspired and produced by a higher order intervention. For me, creativity is the path to tapping into our divine nature; thereby disrupting the downward spiral of physical suffering in any form. In Addiction Treatment, I think creativity isn’t a luxury, but a necessity.
Therefore, while I think prayer and meditation are also critical, I think that creativity is a prayerful and mindful process that connects us with our true and divine nature. If we choose to ignore that nature, we will succumb to various physical sufferings – including false piety and narcissistic and judgmental references to “God.” See, to me, Addiction may be a physical manifestation of spiritual isolation, but all too often, so is religion.
We are divine, how we access that divinity may be a personal choice, but creativity is a path and communication channel that appears to operate in all kinds of contexts and cultures and appears universal….
Image is a screencap from deliver us from evil, but could easily be a real life pic of a meth addict — don’t believe me? Google “images of meth addicts” and compare for yourself.