(This document can be downloaded in its original form by clicking Spiritual Disease.)
“Defining Spiritual Disease”
- The Church teaches that ‘disease’ is the corruption of something good because of its isolation from God.
- Humans were created to be good, which is why we have the natural capacity to discern right from wrong.
- Fallen Humanity is born without a natural consciousness of God’s presence.
- This leads to the experience of fear of pain (Adam and Eve in the garden first experience the fear of separation from God)
- Human nurture Pride and the dependent Passions to deal with this fear.
- Pride creates a false reality, so that its prisoner can no longer properly distinguish right from wrong. This is the core of the ‘disease concept’ of alcoholism, where the alcoholic no longer can properly rely on his intellectual functions to save himself.
- To return to reality, one must, like the Prodigal Son, return to God. This, communion with God is the cure for the disease of alcoholism, because this relationship is the only proper cure for the fear behind the disease.
- This applies to all manners of repetitive sinful behavior, not just alcoholism. Alcoholism is only a symptom of a more advanced stage of spiritual disease.
- It is necessary to note however that although alcoholism has spiritual roots and a spiritual dimension it does have very real and important physiological symptoms. Some people actually die in acute alcohol withdrawal. Post acute withdrawal symptoms that have a physiological base can last for months or even years. You could say that what begins as a sin ends as a disease.
- The recovery process is essentially spiritual, but there are physical and psychological considerations as well. Some people need a medical detox, and many will have more difficult withdrawal because of poor diet and general poor health. But the only road out of the addiction spiral is spiritual in nature.