The Appetitive Function of the Soul

Source: Healing Addictions - Introduction

The word “appetite” can be defined as hunger and thirst for God. When we were created, we were created with a capacity for hunger and thirst, or a longing for and desire for a relationship with God. As sin enters our life this capacity or function is disrupted in our soul. It becomes dysfunctional. The whole purpose of the spiritual life is to restore this function.

All addictions are fundamentally wrong choices that we make in our attempt to satisfy our soul. But our soul, the appetite, will never be satisfied by anything created. It can only be satisfied by the living God.

Our hunger and thirst for communion with God has a great purpose in our life. We are meant to be healed so we can have our appetite satisfied by the living water that only Christ gives. It is this communion that will ultimately satisfy us.

The entire Orthodox perspective and the science of spiritual medicine teaches that we heal the heart first. We must all re-establish our relationship with the Lord. To do this we are going to need to address this appetitive function and how to satisfy it in its proper manner. We must be committed to this.

How the Appetitive Function Works

The Lord not only satisfies and quenches our thirst, but he also he allows us to be hungry and thirsty more. So we have times where we could be satisfied by his love, and then we get thirsty and hungry. He uses this to get our attention. Often afflictions take place so that we will recognize our need to repent. He does not do this to punish us, but to correct us and to lead us, like any good father would unto a son or daughter, whom he loves.

The great news of the Gospel is that his love has no boundaries. God has provided a way to meet this appetitive function in order to be free us through the church, it’s sacraments, it’s prayer life, and it’s ascetic life.

In summary, the appetitive function has its purpose, but we have to recognize that we need to have our appetite quenched by the living water Christ gives. There is a need for physical water, but there is also a need for spiritual water. We need to recognize that we make wrong choices, and begin a life that includes more of the therapy to our souls and bodies that the Lord provides us.