Addiction is Just a Symptom

I spent a large portion of my life feeling like something was missing. It was like I was literally a walking puzzle with all but one piece. No matter what I did, I never felt complete. In the beginning, you think it must be that something specific is missing. Something tangible. If I just find that special someone to have a relationship with, I will finally be happy. If I just had more friends… If I just had more money, I wouldn’t be this miserable. If I just enjoyed my job more, life would be easier. If I just…

You begin to fill in the blanks. You try to fill in that missing piece with the “if only”. You grasp, desperately for anything to complete your puzzle – but no matter how many things you get; no matter how many of those wishes you fulfill, you still feel empty. You still feel like something is missing.

This was me for so many years. After suffering from years of confusion, trying to figure out why the puzzle couldn’t be completed with people, places, or things, I found alcohol. Then I found drugs. I found my solution.

For the longest time, the chemical solution allowed me to believe that I had finally completed the puzzle of my life. I fooled myself into believing that I was satisfied with the way I was living. My chemical solution worked for me –  until one day it didn’t.

Addiction is Not Only a Physical Disease

People who have never suffered from addiction will often equate it with purely physical symptoms. They will read up on the withdrawals or research what it’s like for someone to go through alcohol DTs, but few will understand what the addicted person is truly trying to remedy each time they get their fix.

Addiction is about desperately trying to complete the puzzle. It’s trying to fill in that missing piece, and while people tend to think of drugs or alcohol when they hear the word “addiction”, our world is filled with people who try to fill their emptiness with other things.

With the workaholic, they will use their career to try to complete the puzzle. The addicted gambler will use the high they get from gambling. The overeater will use food. Some people will use exercise, and some will use the false sense of control they get from having an eating disorder. Some will use sex. Some will even use love. The point is that they all reach for something – anything –  to fill the blank spot that so many of us walks around with.  But over time, as we discover that the puzzle cannot be completed by these things, we will begin to lose control and lose manageability over certain aspects of our lives. If you’re anything like me, you may let it get to the point where your entire life becomes unmanageable. It becomes chaotic, stressful, and very lonely.

The Solution is Spiritual

The solution to the emptiness? The missing piece of the puzzle? It’s spiritual. For me, that solution has come from a relationship with God. I am not going to end this blog with pushing any religious ideas on you, but rather make a few suggestions.

If your life is continuously hitting a wall, it might be time to look at doing something different. What would happen if you grabbed onto something bigger than you? What would be the worst thing that could happen if you tried to have a little faith in something other than yourself?

Friends, so many of us are walking around tired, confused, and sad. Americans especially, will work themselves to death and have nothing left emotionally for their loved ones at the end of the day. We continuously stress about being thin, pretty, smart, handsome, and wanted. We are always wanting bigger houses, nicer cars, and that next promotion, but is it really making any of us happier?

For me, my addiction was just a symptom of someone who was emotionally and spiritually bankrupt. Any peace that I have today (and I have a lot of it) has come from finally being willing to believe in something bigger than myself. The moments that I am at my happiest have nothing to do with my surrounding circumstances and everything to do with me getting out of the driver’s seat.

Alcohol is but a symptom. Drugs are but a symptom. Gambling is but a symptom. The unhealthy mechanisms that we all try to use to complete our own puzzles are only symptoms of a broken heart. That heart can only be healed with a spiritual solution.

Have you found yours?

– follow the bread crumbs – 

5 thoughts on “Addiction is Just a Symptom

  1. I love where you went with this post, but I’ll be sticking with the twofold disease concept. It works with what you describe and it explains the progressive nature of the disease unless something happens to counter it.

    That, and look up the definition of malady.

    In the end, whatever we call it, what is most important is what we both do with it. We fight it, we talk about it, or write in this case, and we DO something about it other than wailing about it. For that, you have my respect, indeed.


    1. Hi friend! I definitely agree with the twofold disease concept, and it wasn’t my point of this post to argue against it.

      Malady: a disease or ailment. – unsure why you had me look that up. In our literature, Bill is constantly speaking of the spiritual malady, and how we are constantly trying to fill that void with alcohol. That is what I am always trying to stress to people who don’t understand addiction. They continuously see is as a moral issue instead of a spiritual disease.

      I am 100% on board with everything that AA teaches us. AA saved my life, and I completely believe that nothing else would have worked for me.

      We’re all in this thing together. Our primary purpose is to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety. If anything I write helps to do that, I am at peace.


      1. My bad, I must have missed what you’re getting at. There’s a push lately to get away from the disease concept to more of a behavioral abnormality and I thought that was where you were going with what you wrote.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My recovery depended completely on a spiritual solution, so I get that completely. I also understand how suggesting this to someone can feel like “pushing religion.” The concept of God, for me, is far bigger than any religion. It’s just that pure love that flows through all of us, at the core.

    Beautiful post. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s hard, because when you say the word “God”, so many people immediately shut down. In the beginning, I did. I can remember seeing the word “God” in our steps and rolling my eyes. My concept of God is so much bigger than all of those “old ideas” that I used to have. I try to find a balance of stressing how much we all need the spiritual solution, without causing someone to shut down once they hear the word. ❤️


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