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Author Topic: Are Addicts More Likely to Have Demonic Experiences?  (Read 386 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: June 18, 2013, 11:13:53 PM »

Addiction is pretty common in my family, and one thing I've noticed about nearly every addict in my family is that at one point or another, they have all claimed to have "seen the Devil" while under the influence and were scared out of their minds. Most memorable to me was my alcoholic grandfather--who's actually an atheist--who commonly used to wake up in the middle of the night repeatedly screaming at the top of his lungs, swearing that he was seeing the Devil, yelling "Go away you son of a *****!" Yet, no one else saw anything. Same thing has happened with a few heroin addicts I know.

So, are they really seeing the Devil and being tormented by demons, or is it just hallucinations induced by alcohol and/or drugs?
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 08:17:59 PM »

There is anecdotal evidence that drug addiction "opens the portals," so to speak, for demonic experiences--and not just hallucinations, but real spiritual encounters. An addict is in a spiritually weakened state and Satan preys on the weak, to destroy them.
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 08:19:30 PM »

One of the miracles of St. Ephraim the New Martyr of Nea Makri involves an addict. Satan came to this man twice to get him to OD, and eventually die. But St. Ephraim prayed for the man and he did not die. Later, St. Ephraim appeared to the man in hospital and said, "I am Ephraim. I have been praying for you. Go visit my relics."
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 08:26:41 PM »

When a close family member of mine used drugs he thought things like bugs were crawling under his skin and all manner of other stuff. So it wouldn't seem to me to be too much of a stretch... for him anyway...
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 09:14:00 PM »

Until we get some replies from former/current users, I really think it is useless to repeat anecdotal evidence of what a relative or friend experienced and come to a conclusion.
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 09:15:06 PM »

Until we get some replies from former/current users, I really think it is useless to repeat anecdotal evidence of what a relative or friend experienced and come to a conclusion.

Anecdotal evidence from a (former) user, rather than what the (former) users told someone, is more reliable because...?
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 10:12:46 PM »

OK, as a "former" user, I'll let you all in on a trade secret, we do all that stuff to you drive you away, so you stop harshing on our high.

Seriously, the confusion of latent mental illness, mental illness caused by acute / extreme chronic abuse of alcohol (my speciality, coke and psychotropics were extreme hobbies) or drugs does a number on you and is hard to pronounce so-called otherworldly causes until someone has been addictally treated (is that a Freudian?).

And I think folks should move away from both a supernaturalizing of the natural and the naturalizing of the supernatural. I think Orthodoxy has non-dichotomous / -trichotomous tendencies which allow it to collapse an either / or or even a both / and.

Treat the person.

Having said all that, I never had any of these "demonic" or whatever experiences even if I had drug induced hallucinations or alcohol induced delusions.

I have seen others who did. And typically, after being treated for the drug or alcohol problem they also were diagnosed with schizoaffectivish disorders. And those who went the "faith" healing route usually got worse, as often these religious moments or drives were the flip side to their disorder and they invariably ended up hospitalized.

This is in my experience which isn't insignificant.

In short, I am not sure how this speculation is helpful. What is, is creating a world where people who are so afflicted get the most robust and temperate care possible.

I think most Orthodox Priests who've seen the door of a University are not going to have any wild ideas about treating such folks as I saw in some evangelical circles.

FWIW.
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 11:37:56 PM »

There is anecdotal evidence that drug addiction "opens the portals," so to speak, for demonic experiences--and not just hallucinations, but real spiritual encounters. An addict is in a spiritually weakened state and Satan preys on the weak, to destroy them.

Exactly
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 11:38:58 PM »

Until we get some replies from former/current users, I really think it is useless to repeat anecdotal evidence of what a relative or friend experienced and come to a conclusion.

If you are saying ONLY people who have used drugs have any viable input, you are wrong.
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 02:00:54 AM »

Addiction isn't a matter of possession.  However, those who engage in all forms of addiction open themselves to demonic temptation, particularly when they contemplate quitting.  These are temptations that are common to all people when they desire to move from bad to good.

Because of the weakened will of the alcoholic or drug addict, it is not infrequent that addicts will report demonic activity, though most will not say for sure whether they are having hallucinations or real experiences.  I have dealt with several cases where demonic possession was accompanied with drug abuse and alcoholism, but they are really separate categories.

There are some people who use alcohol and drugs to deal with spiritual torments, particularly those being groomed for possession.

The best treatment for addiction is the 12 Steps.  Once a person decides to follow a program, the demons will eventually be defeated by their most powerful enemy: an honest confession.
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 02:12:43 AM »

I try not to consider any other passion as being any less dangerous to the soul. That's not to deny the devastation I've seen drugs have on the lives of some people that one may not typically expect to see come from other passions.
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 10:00:29 AM »

All untreated passions lead to a final stage that we may call 'addiction.'  They all have the same root.  Addiction is a relatively modern term and is still in transition as to its position within our understanding of the human will.  Modern sciences tend to isolate it, but cannot really explain the 'dividing line' when someone enters into addiction.

The Church does not separate the concept.  Neither does the Church say that demonic activity is limited to those who are particularly naughty.  In fact, we can assume demonic assault us a constant factor in all of our lives, addicted or otherwise.

From my dealings with people, both addicts and non-addicts, I can say with relative certainty that 'paranormal' experiences between the two groups occur at roughly the same levels.  I know plenty of addicts that never had any paranormal experiences and were staunch atheists, the latter being something they gave up in order to get sober.  Had they the experience of demonic activity, perhaps they would have sobered up sooner.


I try not to consider any other passion as being any less dangerous to the soul. That's not to deny the devastation I've seen drugs have on the lives of some people that one may not typically expect to see come from other passions.
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 10:08:24 AM »

OK, as a "former" user, I'll let you all in on a trade secret, we do all that stuff to you drive you away, so you stop harshing on our high.

Seriously, the confusion of latent mental illness, mental illness caused by acute / extreme chronic abuse of alcohol (my speciality, coke and psychotropics were extreme hobbies) or drugs does a number on you and is hard to pronounce so-called otherworldly causes until someone has been addictally treated (is that a Freudian?).

And I think folks should move away from both a supernaturalizing of the natural and the naturalizing of the supernatural. I think Orthodoxy has non-dichotomous / -trichotomous tendencies which allow it to collapse an either / or or even a both / and.

Treat the person.

Having said all that, I never had any of these "demonic" or whatever experiences even if I had drug induced hallucinations or alcohol induced delusions.

I have seen others who did. And typically, after being treated for the drug or alcohol problem they also were diagnosed with schizoaffectivish disorders. And those who went the "faith" healing route usually got worse, as often these religious moments or drives were the flip side to their disorder and they invariably ended up hospitalized.

This is in my experience which isn't insignificant.

In short, I am not sure how this speculation is helpful. What is, is creating a world where people who are so afflicted get the most robust and temperate care possible.

I think most Orthodox Priests who've seen the door of a University are not going to have any wild ideas about treating such folks as I saw in some evangelical circles.

FWIW.

I have a close priest friend who was a clinical psychologist who would agree wholeheartedly with your observations. (As do I.)

Also, consistent with what Fr. G. just posted.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 10:10:37 AM by podkarpatska » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 07:06:14 PM »

I have seen apparitions that seemed like Demons, both under the influence of drugs, and more recently when completely straight.

I also remember as a child with a fever, I was in bed and my mom had a wall of icons, I was hallucinating from fever and calling the Icons a "Junkyard".

I often think about these moments and believe that Satan will take advantage of any weakness, but that can be any type of everyday human weakness. Even such as being drunk at a wedding, such as the one in Cana. Or the usual weaknesses of lust ,jealousy pride,etc....

There are many ways the devil finds us weak, and tries to take advantage, and we go along and end up sinning because of it. This does not mean you will end up possesed in a way needing exorcism.

We simply have to pray and acknowledge our weakness and renounce satan and praise the Lord, and God will give us the strength to prevail over further trouble.

Thus we are spared from becoming more seriously in danger from minor demonic exposure, and keep ourselves from falling deeper.

I have read books on exorcisms and what led up to the point where such drastic measures were needed, and every time the person had the ability to deny the demons, but as time wore on them they let themselves go, but they could have avoided the later need for help if they had fought the urge, and all said they knew where was the point which they gave in .

God tells us in the Gospels that we always have a way out, we often ignore it. But rarely do we allow it to go so far as to need exorcism.
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