According to Carl Jung, the way to recover from alcoholism is a spiritual or religious experience. Jung believed alcohol is “the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.” Jung’s expression “spiritus contra spiritum” literally translates into “spirit against spirit”.
Spirit against spirit is really apt; alcohol definitely works against human spirit. In fact, alcohol drowns human spirit. Jung describes alcoholism as the search for wholeness, but you can also think of alcohol as a way to fill the hole, that thirst that goes beyond alcohol. And alcohol fills that hole in us, until it doesn’t.
Whether you do or don’t believe in god (dog, the universe, great spirit in the sky), the only way a person can recover from alcohol is to have a complete psychic shift. Many of us come to recovery with a negative experience of organized religion. Fair enough, horrible deeds have been committed in the name of religion throughout history.
Others have not experienced any kind of spirituality in their life. Without any meaning in our existence, life can spiral into addiction, depression and anxiety. If you’re new to spirituality and looking for a way out of the hole into a more meaningful life, yoga, meditation or a walk in the woods are all good baby steps. And useful for becoming whole again.
(For a much deeper metaphysical look at alcohol’s effect on spirit, check out this article, The Spiritual Consequences of Alcohol)