It’s easy for alcoholics and other addicts to find excuses to use. We come from a society where we take pills or other medication for every little thing — one that spends billions of dollars telling us that it is not OK to feel not OK. Those are words that resonate subconsciously with all addicts. We not only think that it’s not OK to feel less than wonderful, but that even when we feel good we need to try to feel better. There’s a saying to the effect that “I drank because the dog ran away, then I drank because it came back.” Most people in recovery can relate to that.
Brain researchers have begun to explore what might be called faith-based analgesia.
Stimulating a religious state of mind in devout Catholics triggers brain processes associated with substantial relief from physical pain, report neuroscientist Katja Wiech of the University of Oxford, England, and her colleagues in an upcoming issue of Pain.
Given that such incidents have to involve brain chemistry, I wonder if they could be similar to so-called religious ecstasy?