Many believe that alcoholism is a spiritual disease, and that at the very least there are real spiritual consequences of alcohol consumption. Yet, is ubiquitous in our society, a strange culture which simultaneously prohibits those mind-altering substances which elevate consciousness and help us to live more meaningful lives
Alcohol is decidedly more dangerous than cannabis, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, LSD, and so many other drugs, but our cultural addiction to booze is evident everywhere. Research has shown that even moderate alcohol consumption is extremely detrimental to your health.
Research has shown over and again that alcohol is the most destructive drug known, and if you look at the etymology of the word itself, it’s clear there is a spiritual dimension to this substance, one that consumes lives and happiness, prohibiting people from living joyous, full lives.
So why then are so many of us interested in seeking oblivion with booze? Surely the supply is put in front of us by the alcohol industry, but why is the demand so high?
In a recent interview with London Real, the world’s leading expert on addiction, Gabor Maté was asked by host Brian Rose about alcohol. Rose first tells a very common story of how consuming alcohol on a daily basis is normal for people who’ve experienced something in their past which darkly colors their world.
Maté’s reply speaks to so many of us, for it breaks down the drivers behind alcohol consumption in our fast-paced, money and success driven culture. He says:
“It’s an archetypal story. First of all you’re hurt as a child, and then you have to compensate for it. So you compensate in two ways. One is by becoming a ‘success….’ When despite all of your best efforts in your successes, and your ability to impress people, the gnawing pain still shows up, now you use something to soothe the pain. And what do you say about somebody who drinks too much? There’s an old expression. When someone has drunk too much, there used to be an old saying. ‘They’re feeling no pain.’”
In a sick society it makes sense that so many of us are addicted to painkillers, the number one of which is alcohol. We are simply wanting to feel no pain. When you consider the depth of the opioid epidemic today, you have to wonder how we can heal this massive spiritual illness, and hope is to be found in the wisdom of those healers who understand the roots of the problems individuals attempt to face on their own.