By Leslie F. Crowley, MA, LPC, LCDC
In the addiction field, we get past the myriad details needing tending too with each individual to find an incredible and magnificent spirit that is often asleep. Arriving to treatment, individuals often feel broken, beat down, insulated, afraid, lacking hope or trust in anyone or anything, angry, and often times having a recycled story and a way of being in the world that pushes everyone away. For some the story is helpful, others, not so much.
What if the story went on the shelf and spirit was sparked instead? I’m asking, what if we paused on the “this is what happened” monologue and created a space for something spiritual.
Having worked in the field for many years, the dis-ease and struggle of addiction is real and if we don’t find a way to treat your “spirit”, it will definitely treat you. Starting out on my own journey, my spirit was in desperate need of repair. I kept trying to figure it out on my own or taking therapeutic short cuts rather than taking any responsibility, perpetuating the pain, consequences and further isolation. In this progression, my own story of dis-ease was recycled.
I was at a community gathering for a woman who asked for a healing, after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. The one leading the prayer (whom I very much respect) said “cancer is an abandoned child that just wants to be loved”. There are moments when spirits are shaken awake, or we are struck sober to be present to this life for a brief moment. This was one of those moments for me. This was real. That statement replayed over and over in my mind.
I think of this sentiment when it comes to trauma and more importantly, to the individual who is walking wounded through our front door and is in a place to receive help and healing. This same sentiment is a potential conduit to activate the loving part of each individual, to help awaken their sleeping spirit. It is common that an individual does not want to be in treatment, does not trust or expect anything will change.
Spirit is defined as “the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul”, or “the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power”. The word spirit comes from the Latin “spiritus” which means “breath”.
We regulate the emotional body through breath. Simple. Automatic. Release.
When we find our breath, we step closer to giving spirit permission towards a path of expression, and a wake up moment. As a professional in this field, I look past the dis-ease so common in addiction and for the trauma survivor, that when sitting in front of or walking with a client, I look for creative means to connect. Actually, I demand it.
If I can spark the conversation around spirit, and encourage the individual to find their breath, then the person who is at dis-ease more often than not becomes at ease and a very good beginning has been made. Within each individual sits inside a truly unique spirit, and that same spirit simply just wants to be loved.
As a professional working in this field with the wounded client, and as a beacon to this sentiment for change of sparking spirit, I am responsible.