“Addiction is a spiritual malady,” said Boucher, a registered nurse who has helped women overcome alcoholism for the past 28 years.Most addiction counselors acknowledge the spiritual aspect of their clients’ compulsion. “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), for example, emphasizes a spiritual awakening as a necessary step in breaking free from alcohol’s grip.
“People are just trying to fill the hole of the soul.”
“Pride and ego are what keeps people locked into addiction,” she said. “They don’t want to accept that they can’t control something.”
“We have normalized alcoholism,” Boucher said. “The new alcoholic carries a diaper bag and wears designer pumps.”
“People drink because they can’t handle the way they feel,” Boucher said. “If you’re trying to change the way you feel, you’re not coping with some deeper emotion.”
“This is a woman who never learned to cope with life,” Boucher said. “She has had to go back and relearn how to deal with conflict in an appropriate manner.”
“Our mother never taught us coping skills,” Boucher said.
“You can’t heal emotional wounds intellectually,” she said.
“Jung said addiction is really a misguided search for God. It’s an attempt to feel the euphoria one gets from having a sense of belonging or a sense of being loved,” Heller said.
“You can’t diagnose depression when they’re smoking pot every day, drinking alcohol, using meth, smoking crack, taking opioids, or whatever that person’s drug of choice is,” she said. “How do you know what that person’s baseline is?”
“In 90 percent of the cases that I’ve worked with, these women were able to get off their antidepressants,” she said.
“One could say that the person needs to be able to expand their consciousness to incorporate new ideas,” she said, “but in order for anyone to engage in a process of healing and self-exploration, they have to be able to surrender to something greater than their own will.”
“If you’re looking at this from a disease model, you are as powerless over addiction as you are with cancer,” Hershenson said. “No matter what you try to do, your brain is going to crave more. And it’s really about accepting that.”
“An addict cannot force themselves into a place of health by soldiering through life,” Heller said. “This is about being willing, not being willful.”
“We are human beings. We need quiet. We need to reflect. We need to nurture the whole person,” she said.© Conan Milner