Alcoholism – Theft of the Spirit


/ Photo by procsilas /

I lost a school buddy to alcoholism. The disease ravaged him, stole his charm, his musicality, his broad smile. I woke up one night in a cold sweat from a dream where I saw him walking around his home. I hadn’t seen my friend in several years because we lived in different states. I was in a state of shock: In the dream, my friend, from the neck up was just a skeleton, an image of the walking dead.

Something was wrong, very wrong — I wondered if he had died. I called his mother right away and found out he was living with her, out of work, and that he’d been in and out of rehab.

I later visited him in person. He had lost weight and was now painfully thin. His teeth were darkened from a cigarette habit, and his hands shook. He handed me a cup of coffee and the cup rattled eerily and his whole body shook as we talked. I could tell his nerves were shot, his energy depleted, his soul shaken – traumatized and lost.

Addiction and the cervical spine

I’ve seen this image many times during readings: a person’s neck cut off from their body. A clairvoyant develops a data bank of images and their meanings, much the same way a dreamer stores up repeating symbols in a personal dream dictionary. I’ve learned that this image suggests a significant disconnect between the body and emotions, the head and heart. It’s an indicator of alcoholism or other addictions wreaking havoc in that person’s life and in their relationships.

My husband and I went to a chiropractor when we lived in Hawaii who educated us on the relationship between emotional health and the upper (cervical) spine. The cervical spine feeds the nerves to the upper chest and arms where we feel and reach out to others. The nerves in that region also send electric signals to the brain, our mental and emotional headquarters. When the atlas, the base of the skull, is out of alignment, headaches, visual disturbances, irritability, insomnia, emotional disquiet, and anger can result.

After a chiropractic adjustment, especially after an intense neck adjustment, the shift in our general mood was often dramatic. Emotional well-being is helped by having a healthy nervous system. Your nervous system is your psychic switchboard delivering signals and messages to your body. When it’s out of order, it’s not just that your body doesn’t function, your internal compass — your instincts and intuition — is out of order. There’s a risk of loss of direction, aimlessness, pointlessness setting in that pulls the spirit down.

I can’t help but wonder if regular chiropractic care could help alcoholism and drug addiction, not as the only therapy, but certainly as an adjunct therapy that’s part of a comprehensive treatment plan. (See Dear Chiropractor: Help Me Kick the Habit.)

Healing the subtle layers

I met a woman who had been sober for at least fifteen years. She still attended AA meetings regularly. She was devoted and committed to her sobriety. What perplexed me is that I observed an emotional rigidity, an explosive anger within her. She was sober, yes, but emotionally she was tightly wound. Whatever was bothering her was still alive at the surface demanding care and attention. Her emotions were quieted and contained, and yet there was still something longing to be heard.

Old wounds are like ticks. We hope to pull out the whole tick. If we leave in the head, the bite and infection remain. Although the root of the disease is in a slumber and retracted, its activating agent could spring open again.

There’s something they won’t tell you at your school health class, at rehab centers, or at your psychologist’s office. Extended alcoholism and drug abuse can punch holes in the etheric body, the psychic envelope. It’s like wearing a coat in sub-zero temperatures without a lining. You lose your protection, insulation, and natural psychological defense. You were already feeling exposed when the pattern set in, and now you’re feeling raw to your bones. The body and all its layers need repair. Energetic healing – Reiki, Polarity Therapy and others are required – for mending the soul’s fragile garment.

If you consume more alcohol or drugs than your body can handle — and that amount is usually much less than people imagine — the spirit can become dislodged from the physical body. Addicts often experience the Nobody’s Home syndrome. When you look into their eyes, you often see a stranger. Or a ghost. Or nobody at all. Addicts often feel so intensely that all feelings become painful (another hint to check the nervous system); numbing becomes the only form of relief imaginable. But the problem is this: When we step out of our body through excessive drug or alcohol use, it’s much like leaving our own house and leaving the keys on the door mat. You never know who might step in.

Sobriety and Consciousness

I occasionally have a glass of wine. I am not an absolutist (so long as you aren’t wrestling with addiction patterns). But, whether we drink or not, we are all working towards sobriety. Sobriety in the broader sense is about full consciousness. Being present. Truly feeling our feelings, and learning to feel without overwhelm. Sobriety is being fully conscious of how are actions and attitude impact the lives of others, and to always ask ourselves whether our actions justify the means. That is sobriety. That is consciousness. And we are all working towards it, no matter what the challenges are in our lives.

We must regain consciousness.

Drunkenness: false pride, lies, narcissism, denial, carelessness, absence, excess, apathy, irresponsibility, leeching, materialism, self-deprecating, toxify, autopilot.

Sobriety: humility, honesty, altruism, awareness, attentiveness, presence, moderation, participation, dependability, generosity, spirituality, self-esteem, purify, conscious.

We are called to be present in our life, to hold true to our responsibility as planetary stewards serving the planet and each other. We must remember our original cause as human beings — our nobility – to bring peace to the Kingdom. We must protect our spirit, cultivate awareness… and work towards a deeper sobriety, all of us.

9 comments on “Alcoholism – Theft of the Spirit

  1. Christine Santoro says:

    Once again a fascinating topic. Just wanted to say that I believe the etheric body can get holes in it from a lot of different experiences in life. I often wonder whether just being mindfull of the holes and visualizing repairing them can actually help. We hear so much about doing certain things that will repair us but what happens when we just can’t afford these remedies? I can’t believe that our mind and soul doesn’t have the innate ability to repair itself if other options cannot be used. Any ideas about this?

  2. Radha says:

    Meditation Christine. Its the surest cheapest most effective medicine for the etheric body. Just simple mindfulness, attentiveness to ones self. How early we learn to condemn ourselves and how hard it is to simply appreciate everything on this earth including ourselves !

  3. Radha says:

    I get so carried away by what I want to say, sorry. I also wanted to ask – what else causes those holes dyou think? I’m sure visualizing those holes repairing would definitely do the trick – thats what visualizations are all abt arent they? In Yoga teaching we say,’ where attention goes prana flows’. Prana, meaning qi, chi, bio-energy…

  4. Christine,
    Great questions! Yes, we need some affordable remedies that are easy to use for healing ourselves. Here’s a $10 remedy: the Bach Flower Remedies. Some of you may already use Rescue Remedy formula for stress. These are homeopathics that help heal the emotional and spiritual layers. There are 38 different remedies corresponding to 38 emotional and spiritual states. Gentle enough for children, pets, and plants too. I’ve used these for years — they helped me get through a divorce in the late 80s. Bach Flower Therapy is an excellent reference book by Mechthild Scheffer. Here’s a link I found with a listing of alternative therapies for treating alcoholism and she’s included a list of Bach Flower Remedies: http://discoveringwellness.hdmenterprises.com/addictions.htm

  5. Radha,
    Excellent suggestion! Meditation and mindfulness are key in mending those energetic leaks in our emotional body. As we cultivate awareness, we can begin the process of inner reflection, acceptance, and change. There’s a therapy that is integrating mindfulness practice called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). I have a friend who is a counselor and she leads DBT groups for adults and adolescents. They learn to self-monitor and self-regulate their emotions through mindfulness. Here’s a link to learn more about DBT: http://www.centerforcontextualchange.org/treatment-dbt.html

  6. Radha says:

    Is there a way to tackle a person who is in denial re the havoc that alcohol has caused his health and his family. Often I find that it is simply not the one person but the whole family has these patterns and they keep fueling each other. For that matter I’ve been noticing this in non alcoholics too. I know there are organizations such as Al Anon for families of alcoholics but without taking recourse to such, what could one do ? at the moment I just leave it alone and pray for them. It works but its missing an opportunity to become conscious, I feel; but that again is free choice.

  7. Radha,
    That’s a tough one. The person must be ready to make a change; change cannot be forced. Sometimes an alcoholic has to bottom out before they’re willing to accept help. In extreme cases, an intervention may be necessary, especially when the person may cause harm to self or others. You’re right that the family dynamic could be enabling that individual — thank goodness for organizations like Al-Anon — they address this very problem. Prayer is a good intermediate solution because prayer helps that person connect with their internal goodness and other higher aspects.

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  9. Alcohol withdrawal differs significantly from most other drugs because it can be directly fatal. While it is possible for heroin addicts, for instance, to die from other health problems made worse by the strain of withdrawal, an otherwise healthy alcoholic can die from the direct effects of withdrawal if it is not properly managed. Heavy consumption of alcohol reduces the production of GABA, which is a neuroinhibitor. An abrupt stop of alcohol consumption can induce a condition where neither alcohol nor GABA exists in the system in adequate quantities, causing uncontrolled firing of the synapses. This manifests as hallucinations, shakes, convulsions, seizures, and possible heart failure, all of which are collectively referred to as delirium tremens. All of these withdrawal issues can be safely controlled with a medically supervised detoxification program.
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