Thirst for Wholeness: Attachment, Addiction, and the Spiritual Path


'A rich and powerful pathway to a fully human spiritual life… Excellent… please read it.'

Carl Gustav Jung described the addict's craving as a 'thirst for wholeness.' Christina Grof, a pioneer in the transpersonal p

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
$12.68 price
(Save 20%)$15.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (25) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $8.63   
  • Used (18) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


'A rich and powerful pathway to a fully human spiritual life… Excellent… please read it.'

Carl Gustav Jung described the addict's craving as a 'thirst for wholeness.' Christina Grof, a pioneer in the transpersonal p

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062503152
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 797,301
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Craving Behind Addiction

As far back into my childhood as I can remember, I was searching for something I could not name. Whatever I was looking for would help me to feel all right, at home, as though I belonged. If I could find it, I would no longer be lonely. I would know what it is like to be loved and accepted, and I would be able to love in return. I would be happy, fulfilled, and at peace with myself, my life, and the world. I would feel free, unfettered, expansive, and joyful.

I have tasted that possibility many times and in different ways: as I sat on a hill, infused with reverence and wonder, watching the splendor of a sunset spread across the sky; as I came upon tiny spring flowers pushing their way through the frozen earth; as my heart swelled with the power of the hymns and the voices and the beauty of the stained glass during a Christmas service in church; as, with joyous abandon, I galloped my horse bareback down the long, warm sandy beach and splashed into the ocean for a swim; and when as a new mother I looked into the perfect, miraculous face of my newborn child.

I saw glimmers of that prospect during those moments, however fleeting, in which each filament in my experience suddenly seemed to come together; it all appeared to work; everything made some sort of nonverbal sense. It might happen as I worked in my garden, when I prayed or meditated, while I was walking with a friend in nature or sitting at the feet of a wise elder.

I also remember sampling what seemed to be the promise of freedom, connectedness, and love as I received praise from a revered teacher, a colleague, orappreciative guests after hours or days of frantically working to prove myself. I thought I felt it as I nestled into the arms of lovers, swallowed a Valium, devoured yet another brownie, or drove my car too fast.

And I knew I found it in the delicious oblivion of alcohol. My boundaries melted, the pain disappeared, and I was, I thought, free. I felt comfortable within my own skin and felt connected with a carefree vitality that told me I could do anything. I was at ease with people in a way that was impossible in my daily life. I felt included, accepted, and cherished — until alcohol turned against me.

The Addict as Spiritual Seeker

Since I began my recovery from alcoholism, I have listened to many recovering people discuss their search for some undetermined experience of unity and freedom and remember the territories to which their quest has taken them. They have described the dear, uplifting, and loving moments in their lives as well as the destructive or self-destructive periods in which they convinced themselves they were on the right track. In other peoples' stories and observations, I have recognized numerous familiar elements and themes that appear repeatedly in my own history.

Many alcoholics and addicts portray themselves as dreamers or as creative in some way, sensitive to the intensity as well as the beauty of life. We are idealists; legions of us talk about wanting to assist others or about helping to solve the world's problems. Some have been graced with spiritual experiences, often starting in childhood. We may find it difficult to deal with the complex and demanding world around us, as well as with the intricate emotional, psychological, and spiritual mosaic within. We have responded by developing elaborate and ingenious mechanisms that allow us to survive or to escape the challenges of our existence. Most of us feel different from other people, isolated and lonely, as though we are on the outside looking in at the rest of the world. We often experience ourselves as inadequate, shameful, and less important, intelligent, or effective than other people.

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."

A woman who grew up in an alcoholic home recounts that as a child, she vowed never to touch alcohol, having experienced firsthand its devastating potential. Finally, as a young bride, she gave in "because my husband drank, and I didn't want him to be lonely." With her first glass of wine, she said, "A whole new world opened up to me. I realized what I had been missing all my life. At that moment, I felt complete."

Eventually, we find ourselves caught in a ruinous addictive cycle that threatens our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. We can no longer control our relationship with whatever substance, activity, or relationship we have chosen as the answer to our problems. We think about it incessantly, plan for it, and habitually participate in it. We become increasingly helpless when faced with the object of our obsession, until something forces us to change.

When we hit bottom, when we are confronted with the realization that we can no longer continue our addictive activities, many of us begin for the first time to find what we have been searching for. By surrendering, by releasing our old, ineffective ways of being, we slowly discover acceptance, love, inner harmony, serenity and a sense of fulfillment.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)