Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction and the Spiritual Quest.
Grof, Christina. (1993).
San Francisco: HarperCollins.
x + 283 pages.
introduction, 12 chapters divided into 3 parts: 1. The Thirst
for Wholeness, 2. Walking in the Desert,
3. Healing and the Path
to the Self, references.
Excerpt(s): Early in
my recovery from alcoholism, I came across part of a letter from
the Swiss psychiatrist Jung
to Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Referring to one of his former patients, Jung wrote, "His
craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual
thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language:
the union with God."
As I read on, I realized that Jung was describing
something that I know well. I have felt a nonspecific craving
for most of my life. Many of us do. And I recognize it from my
recovery. It is different from and more far-reaching than the
physical craving for alcohol. A trip to the mall, a piece of cake,
a cuddle: none of these momentary solutions quenches the deep
thirst. (page 1)
And we frequently feel a pervasive restlessness,
a desire for something more. This yearning takes
us into destructive or self-destructive relationships, activities,
or substance use that may seem temporarily to provide the missing
piece. Rationalizing or denying the implications of our conduct,
we go back for more and more. At first, our sexual encounters,
eating binges, use of alcohol or other drugs, gambling, or other
potentially addictive behaviors seem to satisfy us. I have heard
many people say, "When I took my first drink or my first
drug, I felt that all my problems were solved. I was home."
There are, I am sure, some fortunate people who
feel this longing but do not act upon it in painful ways. However,
many people identify the spiritual yearning as a persistent voice
in their lives, one they often confuse with their everyday aspirations.
At first, they identify it as the desire to excel on the playing
field, to develop their intellect, to get into the right college,
or to meet the man or woman of their dreams. Perhaps they feel
an overwhelming craving for a certain model of automobile, for
a new outfit, or for sexual contact. (page 13)
As a culture, we do not have many sanctioned frameworks
in which to deeply experience and satisfy the yearning for wholeness.
As a result, people of all ages distort and misdirect this immensely
strong impulse into addictions of all kinds, not
only addictions involving the use of chemicals, but also eating
disorders, sexual addictions, and addictions to power, money,
relationships, gambling, and countless other addictive activities.
I believe, however, that this fervent thirst for
wholeness, as well as the discomfort with it, is the underlying
impulse behind addictions. This deep yearning goes beyond the
very real physiological craving of those of us who become hooked
into the cycle of chemical addiction, and it is different from
our desire to escape pain through addictive behaviors.
Our innate longing to rediscover our spiritual nature is an often
unconscious driving force that many of us feel throughout our
lives. (page 18)
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP