Recovering from an addiction can be difficult both emotionally and physically especially if you have had a substance abuse problem for a long time. There are numerous aspects of a person’s health that must be addressed if they are attempting to learn how to live permanently sober. Recovery means focusing not only on mental and physical health but also spiritual wellness.
Spirituality can be a crucial aspect of addiction treatment because it is a part of a person’s sense of purpose and meaning in life. Being healthy in all areas of your life means being in touch with your spiritual side and feeling that you have a place in the world. If someone feels that life is meaningless and they have no spiritual side then they are more likely to revert back to their old behavior.
The important thing to understand about addressing your spirituality in recovery is that it does not necessarily have to be tied to any particular religion. People normally associate spiritual practices with things like Christianity or going to church but every person can find their own spiritual journey. People in recovery can choose organized religion if it is attractive to them but it not a requirement in order to be spiritual.
What is Spirituality?
In twelve step programs, people are asked to recognize a higher power that exists above us. That does not necessarily need to be God in the traditional sense but simply a power that is beyond oneself. This is a way for people with addictions to look outside of their own problems and feel a greater connection to life and the spiritual world.
Spirituality is essentially a personal search for meaning and connection between all things. It does not need to follow an existing path laid out in religious texts but it can be something you can create for yourself. A person’s individual experience can influence their concept of spirituality and it can help them gain their own perspective on life.
People need spirituality because without it, it can be hard to connect with more than just yourself. Spiritual beliefs help us feel connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Most spiritual practices whether based on organized religion or not, are grounded in love and compassion.
Addiction and Spiritual Issues
One of the reasons spirituality is so important for sobriety is that addiction can take away our ability to be spiritual. It can make people feel self-centered, disconnected and focused on their own pleasure or avoidance of pain. The isolation that people experience while they are addicted can drain them of their spiritual feelings of connection to others.
People who are addicted to a substance find that their sole purpose throughout every day is to continue using. It becomes such an intense focus that there is no room to explore their own inner life, beliefs and ability to connect. An addict can also find it hard to grow and change in a way that helps them develop spiritually because their routine is centered around obtaining and using drugs.
Another aspect of addiction that can take away from spiritual life is that inability to maintain close relationships. Connecting with others is a crucial part of human existence and is essential for our spiritual life. Addicts often lose relationships, distance themselves from the people in their lives and as a result find it hard to connect with anyone besides themselves and their drug use.
Creating a Spiritual Practice
In order to remain sober, an addict in recovery must start to develop or reconnect with their own spirituality that may have been damaged. They can begin to explore new kinds of spiritual beliefs, ideas or their own feelings about spirituality that they discover. There are many different ways to be spiritual and being about to find what works for you can take time.
As people in recovery explore different spiritual beliefs they should begin to develop their own spiritual practice that will keep them grounded and connected. A spiritual practice can be as simple as a short meditation every day or writing in a journal about spiritual thoughts. It means taking some time out of the day to tap into your spiritual life and reflect on your connection to everything around you.
Being spiritual can make the experience of recovery and life in general much more meaningful. If you feel disconnected from the reasons why you choose to be sober, a spiritual practice can help you reconnect with your sense of purpose. Practices such as gratitude meditation can be extremely beneficial throughout recovery to keep you on track.
If you are receiving treatment for addiction, make sure to talk to your therapist or other type of mentor about spirituality and how you can get involved in a spiritual practice to stay sober.