Easing Soul Depression: How to Improve Your Response to Your Agitated Subconscious

There are different causes of depression. Identifying the main cause of your depression can help you deal with it more effectively. Depression that is primarily caused by physiological issues is often due to things being imbalanced or malfunctioning in your body. This type of depression is best managed by treating the body’s issues directly. Advising you in detail about this type of depression is beyond the scope of my focus as a trauma counselor. If you suspect you’re dealing with physiological depression, it’s best to talk to someone who focuses on physiological issues, such as a medical doctor, nutritionist or herbalist.

It’s important to distinguish between symptoms and root causes. Anytime one of your elements is depressed (mind, body, or soul), all of your elements will react to that situation. This means that your body can develop physical problems which are reflecting its reaction to another element’s distress. But when you’re dealing with a form of spiritual or psychological depression, you won’t get very far just focusing on your physical symptoms, because your depression is not originating with your body; instead, your body is simply responding to another element’s troubles. Think of it like a child who is upset because his mother is upset. If you try to calm the child without helping the mother, you won’t succeed. Until the child sees evidence that his mother feels better, he will remain upset no matter what you do.

The fact that your elements are so sensitive to each other’s well-being makes it important to pinpoint which specific element is primarily upset whenever you are dealing with some kind of ongoing stress. Chronic or frequent depression is a sign of ongoing stress, and suggests that one of your elements is having a problem which it needs better tools to cope with. The goal then becomes identifying which element is primarily struggling. Happily, there are some useful clues that you can look for to distinguish between psychological depression and spiritual depression. The first place to look for help is your thought life, especially the thoughts that keep surfacing in your mind over and over again. What you’re specifically looking for is the value system being reflected by those thoughts. For example, are you stressing over a moral issue or a safety issue? Moral fretting indicates spiritual depression (which originates with your soul), whereas safety concerns indicate psychological depression (which originates with your subconscious).

Now in this post, I’m going to discuss a very common scenario in which your soul becomes depressed in response to your subconscious’ activities. Your subconscious has far greater sway over your actions, since it directly manages your conscious and can literally override your body. The fact that your subconscious holds this kind of power means that it often succeeds in getting your body and conscious to align with its agendas. When your subconscious is feeling very stressed (as is always the case with unprocessed trauma), it gets into a habit of operating on “emergency alert” all the time. This causes you to feel hypersensitive and easily threatened. The longer your subconscious remains stressed, the more time it has to experiment with defensive strategies. Before long, it will lock onto a few strategies that it feels are useful, and these things will generally seem very negative to your soul, because they are negative.

Humans who feel threatened are not calm, gracious, smiling and friendly. They are tense, suspicious, angry, hostile, and emotionally volatile. When you have a threatened subconscious dominating your elements, your behavior, mood, private activities, and reactions to others will swing in a clearly negative direction. Often at the same time, your soul will lock onto an “ideal” and totally unrealistic version of yourself which it wants you to become right now. It will then try to demand resources from the entire system to devote to pursuing its personal agenda. Common examples of soul agendas in these moments is turning you into someone who never worries, never snaps at others, never gets offended, and is always focused on the positive. If your subconscious is pushing you to do negative activities such as watching deviant porn, taking drugs, attacking others, or abusing yourself, your soul will likely label those things as unpardonable sins. The end result is your subconscious going through the day highly stressed and frequently defaulting to its defensive strategies while your soul pours on the condemnation and fights as hard as it can to get in your subconscious’ way. When your soul fails to get your subconscious to submit to it, your soul crashes down into moral guilt, which then causes you to feel depressed.

The scenario I just described is very common, and yet it’s rare for these situations to be properly diagnosed and treated in helpful ways. Until you get taught about your various elements, you tend to view all depression as an “emotional” problem and then you try random things to make yourself feel better. When you hit on something that seems to ease your misery–like watching a ton of TV or scarfing a bunch of snack foods–you can easily start to obsess over that activity while never dealing with the root cause of your depression. Spiritual issues must be dealt with on a spiritual level. So now let’s talk about how you can respond to spiritual depression in ways that will actually help.

Two Goals

The kind of spiritual depression I’m discussing in this post is actually a form of moral guilt, and understanding this is an important key in choosing helpful responses. There are two key issues that you will need to address: your soul’s impossible standards, and your soul’s lack of compassion for your subconscious’ problems.

Your soul has its own moral code which it is constantly adjusting to align with new information that it receives. That moral code is greatly influenced by your current beliefs about how you can succeed with God as well as the humans who you feel most dependent on in life. If Dad is a self-righteous pastor who believes that he has cracked the code on sinless living, and so he acts like you’re a dirt clod anytime you have a normal human reaction to life problems, your soul can easily conclude that it’s essential that you appear to be perfect in Dad’s eyes. If your sister is a shining beacon of innocence who has never soiled herself with drugs, extramarital sexual flings or crude humor, then your soul can easily feel like you are committing a horrific sin when your subconscious drives you to do cocaine or sleep around. If your brother is an optimistic overachiever who your parents are clearly enamored with, then your soul can easily base its moral code on your brother’s behavior and demand that you match his performance in every area. When your subconscious sabotages your soul’s dreams by intentionally keeping your conscious in such a scattered state that you can’t focus or follow through on anything, your soul can easily respond with intense disgust at your “immoral” behavior.

While your soul’s intentions are noble, it often sees moral failings where none exist. For example, it isn’t a “sin” to react with fear when you believe you are in danger. Fear is a natural response that our Creator wired into us to help us steer clear of danger, and it often proves to be quite helpful. It isn’t “immoral” to have a pessimistic view of the future when you’ve been severely burned in the past (see Optimism vs. Pessimism: How The Subconscious Controls Your Outlook). By the time you’re grappling with spiritual depression, some significant lies have crept into your soul’s current set of beliefs. When you find yourself frequently thinking about all of the ways you’re failing to do or be what you “should,” this is an indication that your soul’s moral code has some very unrealistic aspects to it. To address this issue, you first need to identify the specific unreasonable demands that your soul is making. Then you need to identify more reasonable standards that those obnoxious demands could be replaced with. It’s time for a list exercise.

Examining Your Soul’s Current Moral Code

It often takes intentional effort to chase down your soul’s moral code. In daily life, we tend to just react to our beliefs without taking the time to really think about what those beliefs are. But when it comes to dealing with any kind of elemental crisis, specifics are critical, so create an electronic file that you can make notes in. Using paper for this exercise will be awkward because we are going to be adding things as we go along and you’ll need flexible spacing. Since you are going to be writing down highly sensitive information about yourself, make sure you lock your file with a password that only you know. Then, create two columns in your note file. Label the first column Critical Thoughts and the second Soul Beliefs. Take some time to reflect on the kinds of thoughts that well up and cycle around and around in your head once you start feeling “depressed.” Remember that what you’re calling depression is really being fueled by moral guilt, so we’re looking for thoughts that focus on what you’re doing wrong, how you’re failing, and what you ought to be doing/thinking/being instead. When Troy does this exercise, he comes up with the following:

Taking the time to write out your thoughts like this will really help you appreciate just how hostile the communication between your elements has become. When Troy reads over his list, wow. Talk about a man who is down on himself and having zero sympathy for his own struggles.

Your soul can be incredibly vicious to your other elements, and once it gets into this mode, your subconscious will typically respond by becoming increasingly hostile, stubborn, and secretive. It’s vital to reduce tensions between these elements, and to do that, we need to move on to the second step of this exercise. Once you fill out that first column with as many entries as you want, use the second column to try to pinpoint a specific moral standard that each negative thought is responding to. After all, you can’t conclude that you’re a “bad father” unless you’ve already decided what a “good father” looks like. You can’t decide that you’re “too negative” unless you’ve already decided what a reasonable degree of negativity is. When you take the time to really think about it, you’ll probably be surprised at how extensive and specific your soul’s current moral standards are.

When our friend Troy does the second part of this exercise, here is what he comes up with:

Troy believes in God, and right away we can see that God’s opinion is very important to him based on how often God is mentioned in his soul beliefs. Troy’s soul is clearly trying to align its personal moral code with what it believes God’s moral code is. Once God introduces Himself to you, it’s very wise to try to adopt His moral code as your own. But major problems can happen when you are misinformed about what God actually expects from you.

Now if God hasn’t introduced Himself to you yet, you probably won’t mention Him in your list. This isn’t a cause for concern. Every soul has a moral code regardless of what they do or don’t understand about God, and every soul falls into the trap of forming unrealistic expectations.

Once finish your second list, look it over. Your own Soul Beliefs column undoubtedly contains many false beliefs about what is possible for you to do as a human being. By now, your soul is also making many false assumptions about why you’re behaving the way that you are. It’s time to insert a new column between the two columns you already have. Label this third column Why?

Most (if not all) of those critical thoughts that you recorded in your first column are your soul’s reactions to things your subconscious is doing or expressing. You now have a clear picture of how your soul views these things, and you can see how it justifies its views now that you have taken the time to write out its underlying beliefs. But what is your subconscious’ take on the situation? If we’re going to resolve tensions between your warring elements, we have to hear both sides of the story.

The goal of the Why? column is to form a list of specific questions that we will then give your subconscious a chance to answer. To fill in the Why? column, look at what you wrote in your first Critical Thoughts entry. What specific behavior, thought, or activity is being focused on? Once you identify something specific, write out a simple question in the Why? box that simply asks why you are doing, thinking, or feeling whatever it is. Since your soul has already provided its own explanations, it might get a little huffy with this part of the exercise. But the reality is that many of your soul’s current explanations and beliefs are dead wrong. Until we identify the specific lies it is hauling around, we won’t be able to help your soul calm down, and that is our ultimate goal. So tell your soul to be patient while you work on your Why? questions. Here is what our friend Troy has come up with:

When we eliminate all of the snark and insults that showed up in the Critical Thoughts column, we end up with a list of very important questions that we can now give your subconscious a chance to answer. But this next part is going to be a bit tricky because by now your soul has probably spent a lot of time ripping on your subconscious and shutting it down before it can say anything. Suppose someone were to say to you: “I already know that you’re an idiot and that whatever you’re about to say is stupid. But go ahead and tell me how you feel. I’m listening.” Are you going to open up to someone after that? Of course not, and yet your soul is likely taking a similar attitude towards your subconscious right now. If you’re going to get anywhere with the next step of this exercise, we need your soul to dial down its hostility. So let’s now help it do that.

Mental Imagery Exercise: Triggering Soul Sympathy

I’m now going to teach you a handy little trick for helping your soul become a better listener. We’ve already established that your soul has an extensive moral code, and so far you’ve been focusing on the aspects of your soul’s code that apply to yourself and the ways that you behave. Well, while your soul has a long list of rules about you, it has other rules that focus on other people. What you’ll often find is that your soul’s rule for other people allow for a lot more sympathy and compassion to flow. To get a feel for how this works, imagine how you’d respond to a grown man crying when he trips and falls versus a young boy crying in the same situation. You automatically have more sympathy for the boy, don’t you? You automatically assume that the boy’s emotional reaction is more reasonable than the man’s. This is how it works with your soul: it does not treat people equally. There are certain lucky people who your soul is quite willing to heap compassion on even while it acts very impatient and annoyed with you.

Take a moment to rifle through a list of your favorite people and try to identify someone who your soul is especially kind towards. This could be someone who is in your life today, such as a spouse, romantic partner, or child. Or it could be someone from your past or a someone you knew from a distance, like a past friend or coworker who you looked up to. There will always be someone you can rustle up if you think about it long enough. Sometimes it won’t be a specific individual who triggers your soul’s sympathy, but a category of people. For example, a man who views child molesters like the scum of the earth might have great sympathy for men who have been sexually abused. Take time to identify who your soul’s favorite people are, and then close your eyes and imagine yourself having a private conversation with one of those people. Take a moment to really connect with your soul’s automatic affection for the person who you are with. You’ll notice that the way your soul reacts to its personal favorites is quite different than how it reacted to you in your Critical Thoughts column. Towards you, your soul makes it disgust very clear. But towards its favorites, your soul does just the opposite: deciding up front that it will be extra interested in anything they say and assuming that any problems they have are quite valid and reasonable. (Can you imagine how much easier your life would be if your soul treated you like one of its favorites?)

Once you’ve taken some time to bask in the warm affection that automatically wells up in your soul at the thought of one of its favorite people, you’re ready to continue with this mental imagery exercise. Imagine that your favorite person now confesses to you that they are struggling with the issue that you wrote in the first row of your Why? column. For Troy, that issue is drinking too much alcohol.

When Troy does this exercise, he focuses on a teen boy named Shane who he especially liked during his time working with a church youth group. Shane came from a troubled home and had a very turbulent relationship with his harsh and emotionally distant father. Troy saw a lot of himself in the boy, and had great sympathy for the pain Shane was grappling with. Troy tried hard to earn Shane’s trust in hopes that the boy would open up to him and express some of the anger that Troy knew was building up inside. There were a few precious moments when Shane did open up and Troy had the chance to tell him things that he desperately wished an older man would have said to him when he was young. Troy has always treasured those memories, and whenever he thinks of Shane, feelings of deep compassion, protectiveness, and a desire to help well up within him.

Troy now imagines Shane nervously confessing that he has developed a drinking problem. “It’s owning me,” Shane confesses. “It’s like I can’t stop even though I don’t like who I become when I’m drunk.” Because this is Shane talking, and Shane is one of Troy’s favorites, Troy’s soul instantly assumes that Shane must be drinking in order to cope with some kind of internal crisis. Troy finds himself feeling very sympathetic towards the boy, genuinely concerned, and wanting to find some way to help him with whatever the problem is. This is the reaction that Troy now needs to try to transfer to himself.

Once you succeed in triggering a compassionate response from your soul by focusing on one of its favorites, there are two ways you can continue with this exercise. One method is to try to swap out the image of your favorite person with yourself while maintaining your soul’s compassionate attitude. Troy now tries to imagine that he is talking to himself instead of Shane. Troy visualizes himself sitting across from himself, he sees himself looking distressed and upset, and he tries to say something sympathetic and encouraging while he waits for his other self to take a guess at why he thinks he’s drinking so much.

Now if you find that your soul attitude immediately changes the moment you make the swap, then put your favorite person back in and try to continue the exercise with them doing the talking. But regardless of what face you put on your conversation partner, invite your subconscious to take over the script for that character and to supply the explanation for why they are struggling.

Troy’s self-disgust is so strong that he’s not able to face himself in this exercise without his soul’s attitude instantly becoming negative again. So he puts Shane back in and invites his subconscious to continue the dialogue. You will need to be patient here while your subconscious decides whether or not it wants to participate in this exercise. The best way to coax it into participating will be by focusing on that sympathetic attitude you were able to trigger. If you’ve lost your grip on that attitude by trying to make the swap, then take time to conjure it up again by refocusing on your positive feelings towards whoever you’re focusing on. Wait for the positive feelings to well up and then try once again to imagine your favorite person nervously confessing that they are struggling with the issue that you wrote in your first Why? box. Then wait for your subconscious to supply an answer. Don’t try to rush it. Just keep focusing on being sympathetic and on assuming that your person will have a valid reason for doing whatever it is.

It takes Troy several rounds of coaxing to get his Shane character to divulge more information. But then, Shane finally does say something, and his reply surprises Troy. “I can’t afford to quit,” Shane says. “I need the distraction. I know the risks. I’m not an idiot. But I’ve got bigger problems going on. The benefits outweigh the costs.”

This is Troy’s subconscious talking. It’s very important that you respond respectfully to whatever your character says. Even if your honest reaction is negative, show your subconscious the same courtesy you would show a friend who goes to great lengths to get you a gift that you’re not thrilled with. You wouldn’t just rip on his or her efforts, would you? You’d respect their feelings enough to at least fake some enthusiasm, right? It is your soul that is behind many of the phony acts you put on in order to protect other people’s feelings and come across as a “good” person. This means that your soul is well-equipped to fake some sympathy for your subconscious. When your subconscious sees your soul making an effort to put a cork in its usual insults, your subconscious will be more likely to keep doing the exercise with you, and you need it to work with you if you’re going to help your soul feel less depressed.

It’s now time to add a new column to the right of the Why? column where you can record any answers that your subconscious supplies as you slowly ask it all of your questions. Take your time and don’t push it. If your subconscious suddenly shuts down or tries to evade certain questions, take a break and give it some space before you try again. Label your new column Answers.

It takes Troy several attempts spread out over several days to get answers to all of the questions on his list. His results are as follows:

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get some kind of answer to all of your questions in the Why? column or if many of your answers sound incomplete. Getting your subconscious to supply any degree of explanation is a huge step forward in reducing the tension between your two elements. And once you get this far, we’re ready for the next step, which is to strengthen the alliance between your soul and your subconscious.

Strengthening the Alliance

What would you do if a good friend came to you with a problem that you obviously couldn’t fix for them? You’d still want to do something to help them, right? You’d say something like, “I’m so sorry you’re struggling like this and I really care. What can I do to help?” This is the kind of response your soul needs to give your subconscious. Look over the answers that your subconscious has supplied. It’s a pretty grim picture, isn’t it? Clearly your subconscious is grappling with an enormous load of stress and some very complex problems that your soul really doesn’t know how to fix. What has your soul been doing while your subconscious has been bravely soldiering on under this immense burden? Has there been any cheering on? Any praise for the immense perseverance? Any “you can do it” pep talks? Not hardly. Instead of trying to support its comrade, your soul has been making your subconscious’ problems a whole lot worse by bombarding it with all of that hate you recorded in your Critical Thoughts column.

Here’s a critical principle to understand: psychological problems must be resolved using psychological methods. Your subconscious doesn’t care about morality. That’s a soul value, not a mind value. So when your soul keeps dumping on the moral lectures, it is trying to fix psychological problems using spiritual methods. This never works. You must always match the method with the problem. Spiritual tools for spiritual problems. Psychological tools for psychological problems. Physical tools for physical problems.

The kind of spiritual depression we’re focusing on in this post is due to your soul having a rotten attitude towards your subconscious. To be frank, your subconscious really doesn’t deserve all of the flack that your soul is dumping on. Your subconscious’ problems are legitimate, and its attempt to resolve them are reasonable given the limited understanding and resources that your subconscious currently has at its disposal.

Appealing to your soul’s interest in morality is the best way to motivate it to change its response to your subconscious. Your soul simply isn’t being nice to your mind right now. It’s refusing to listen to your subconscious’ problems, it’s being a miser of mercy, and it’s demanding the impossible. Helping your soul see the immorality of what it’s doing is a very productive way to help it course correct. Your soul wants to do the right thing, but sometimes it simply loses sight of what the right thing is. Take this game of favorites that it plays. How can you morally justify assuming the best about other people while you assume the worst about yourself? How can justify pouring out buckets of sympathy for other people while you withhold all sympathy from yourself? Do you think it’s morally right for a teacher to utterly discourage her student by harping on every mistake the kid makes and calling him a bunch of nasty names when he’s genuinely struggling? Is it really legitimate for your soul to decide for your mind what it can and can’t do? Would you tell a boy with a busted ankle that he’s “obviously not trying hard enough” when he can’t walk without a limp? Would you tell a woman who was just hit by a car to “suck it up and stop whining” when she is crying over the physical agony she is in? Your ability to see the obvious “right” answers to these questions demonstrates that your soul hasn’t lost it’s grip on what the “right” response is to give to someone in pain. It just needs help seeing you as a person who is in legitimate pain.

Your subconscious is not a lazy slacker who just doesn’t give a darn about anything. While your soul is obsessing over morality, your subconscious is just as passionate about doing a good job in the areas that it cares about, such as keeping you safe and keeping your mind and body running as smoothly as possible. Regardless of how it seems to your soul, your subconscious is working very hard at these two goals. But it can only work with what it has, and just as your soul can get tripped up by ignorance and false assumptions, your mind has the same kinds of vulnerabilities.

Troy’s mind is currently clinging to alcohol and porn because it doesn’t have any better tools for how to handle its problems. This doesn’t mean better tools don’t exist, because they do. But you can’t fault a guy for not being all-knowing, because that’s simply not an option for any human being. If Troy’s soul will start being more supportive of his mind’s problems, Troy’s mind will be able to free up the resources it’s currently spending on arguing with his soul and use those resources to investigate new recovery methods. Freeing up resources is a vital part of any healing process.

Empathy Sessions

So what does it look like to be more supportive of your subconscious? Well, suppose you were babysitting a very well-mannered child who gets extremely upset when there is a loud booming sound outside. Now your kid is all frightened and crying and leaping to conclusions that sound pretty ridiculous. She seems to feel that the sound was made by some kind of monster who eats kids. You figure she must have picked up the monster idea from something she saw on television or perhaps something she read. Either way, no monster exists, so obviously the girl’s fears are unfounded. But the fact is that she’s still upset. So what are you going to do to help her? Are you going stand there and tell her how ridiculous she’s being? Are you going to yell at her to stop crying and threaten to discipline her if she doesn’t? If you’re a jerk about it, the girl is only going to stay upset longer, and as long as she’s upset, you’re home won’t have any peace. Clearly the wiser course of action would be to sit down with the girl and put your personal agenda on hold while you take time to comfort her and assure her that she’s safe and no monster is going to get her.

The next time your subconscious becomes agitated by something, if you try to respond to it as you would a frightened child, you’ll help both your mind and your soul be less upset by what happened. The more your soul practices responding to your subconscious’ with compassion and validation, the less upset your soul will be by your subconscious having moments of panic. Right now your soul is viewing your subconscious’ panic as a moral failing. Because your soul can’t stop your subconscious from panicking, it feels very frustrated and ashamed, as if it has just received a bad grade on a project. But there is no project. Your soul needs to stop taking personal responsibility for everything your subconscious does. Your soul can’t control your subconscious, nor can it instantly fix your subconscious’ issues. Your soul needs to give your subconscious permission to have a bad day without viewing your subconscious’ upset as some kind of failure. Your subconscious isn’t failing. It’s actually trying very hard to do the best job it can with the resources it has available. You will find that sympathy and encouragement are far more helpful than criticism and anger.

Trying to focus on the positive is fine as far as it goes, but when your subconscious becomes upset, you’d be wise to take a moment to let it talk about what it wants to talk about. Imagine that you get very alarmed by a huge hairy spider that suddenly crawls into view on the wall of the room you’re sitting in. You’re now very upset. Your pulse is racing, adrenaline is flooding into your veins, and your mind is producing all kinds of scary possibilities of how that spider might harm you. As quick as it came into the room, the spider scurries out through an open window. The threat is now gone. Fine, but your heart is still racing and your mind is still brainstorming disaster scenarios. It’s not reasonable to expect yourself to instantly get over a fright like that. Humans need time to recover once they go into an internal emergency alert mode. If a friend handles your distress by refusing to talk about the spider or acknowledge its invasion of your space, are you going to recover faster or slower? You’ll recover slower. You’ll also feel hurt and angered by your friend’s reaction. But what if your friend was to say, “Whoa! That was a seriously huge bug! That sure was scary, wasn’t it? It’s okay, it’s gone now. But it sure was upsetting!” With some acknowledgement, validation, and sympathy, you’ll calm down a lot faster. You’ll also feel appreciative towards your friend for helping you out.

The next time your subconscious’ fears get triggered by something or someone, try to respond to it the way you’d want your friend to respond in the spider scenario. Acknowledge what happened. Don’t try to stop your mind from talking about it. Respect your mind’s reaction. Don’t belittle it. Compassion is a very soothing thing, and self-compassion can go a long way towards helping your mind regain its calm. Also, by focusing on compassion, your soul will avoid getting stuck in guilt. Sure, your soul wishes your subconscious wasn’t so severely injured, in the same way that a man wishes his leg wasn’t broken. But we have to work with what is. A broken leg can heal, it just needs time. Minds can heal as well, even from severe traumas. But healing takes time, and healing always progresses more quickly when we are intentionally kind and gentle towards our hurting element. Just as you’d put effort into keeping weight off of your broken foot, you need to put effort into making less demands of your mind. Recognize that it is working under a strain and lower your expectations accordingly.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Unreasonable demands are a very common factor in soul depression. But how do you know when you’re being unreasonable in what you expect from yourself? Well, a reasonable demand is one that makes succeeding easy to do. Sure, some effort might be required, but it won’t be “Let’s hike Mt. Everest” kind of effort.

You can’t measure the reasonableness of your demands by what you see other humans doing. This is a very common mistake that souls make. Troy’s brother Alan quit drinking instantly, so obviously that means it’s quite possible for Troy to do the same, right? Wrong. Troy isn’t Alan. These two men have different internal resources and issues. What’s possible for Alan isn’t necessarily possible for Troy and vice versa.

Troy’s soul wants him to stop drinking. Yet when Troy is in the presence of wine, the urge to drink some of it feels truly irresistible. So he does. And it is only after he has succumbed to temptation that his soul starts going on about how possible it was for that temptation to be avoided. Well, no, his soul’s assessment is wrong, because in the moment, Troy feels like he can’t resist a drink.

After seeing himself give into drinking over and over again, Troy needs to take an honest look at his actions and realize that not drinking is clearly something that he doesn’t feel he has the resources to do right now. Instead of pretending that he can do this, like an out of shape man who pretends he is ready to run a marathon, Troy needs to acknowledge that he’s not ready to kick his addiction. Then he needs to try to figure out how he can gather the resources that he needs to become ready. Until he actually has the resources he needs to stop drinking, Troy’s soul is being totally unreasonable to demand that he “just quit.”

Now in Troy’s notes, there were many very negative beliefs about God which were quite wrong. False beliefs about God are quite common in cases of intense soul guilt. Correcting such beliefs is an important step in helping your soul feel less upset, so if you also find yourself mentioning God in your columns, ask Him to help you correct any false beliefs you might have about Him. In this type of soul depression, both your soul and your mind need further education. Your soul needs help correcting its beliefs and setting reasonable expectations. Your mind needs help identifying better ways to deal with its problems.


I take the time to write out detailed advice on how you can do self-analysis because I believe self-awareness is a very important element in recovery and in general maturity. The better you get to know yourself, the more you will gain from your personal struggles, and the faster you will mature. Personal maturity is one of the greatest goals a human can focus on in this life, and its benefits far outweigh the cost.

If you identified with Troy’s struggles, you can find more information on alcoholism, porn addictions, sexual assault, and fears of intimacy on this site.

To learn more about how God judges you, see Your Soul vs. God: Two Different Judges.

This post was written in response to a request.

Looking for advice? You can submit an anonymous request through the Ask a Question page.