Spirituality can be a difficult concept for people to grasp, sometimes leading them to imagery of churches and religion.
However, spirituality is not the same thing as religion or faith. Spirituality is purpose or meaning in everyday life. It can be a guiding force for many in recovery, giving freedom from negativity and challenges in daily life.
Most people in recovery benefit from spiritual practices and guidance in their lives. It can help people feel a connection to their recovery and the world around them. Spirituality is also not a difficult concept if approached with an open mind. Even those who are apprehensive to accept spiritual principles can benefit.
When asked what this really is, many people struggle to define it in clear terms. Some people’s interpretations of it are different than others. However the overall consensus is that it centers around a connection to something bigger than oneself.
Some people take a very simple approach to it, saying that there is purpose in life and things happen for a reason; defining it as a simple guiding force of the universe. Others believe it is nature, while some take the traditional approach of calling their spirituality a higher power, or God.
Investigating Spirit and Recovery
To highlight the meaning of spirituality in recovery, the National Institutes of Health published a study that focused on spirituality in addiction recovery. Their study had extremely valuable and powerful results. Some people in the study reported that “addiction dampened spirituality—or even fully replaced it”, while others “described an ongoing, yet bankrupt relationship with God when they were still using”.
These powerful statements highlight that they felt no purpose or meaning in life. Even if they still felt spiritual, their relationship with their “higher power” was “bankrupt”. There were also some strong statements that supported the power of spirituality in recovery.
Positive statements regarding spirituality by the study group included “Spirituality was credited with helping improve participants’ state of mind by giving strength and peace”. All of the results show that spirituality plays a positive role in recovery and can be a guide to life without drugs or alcohol.
Since spirituality is such a broad term with widely varying interpretations, it is important to highlight what it is not. Spirituality is not religion. While they do overlap in some areas, this is its own term and can be practiced in a number of ways.
It is also not associated with God. Although some people find their spirituality to focus on God, it can also be a belief in the universe, nature, or any combination of other forces. It is up to the interpretation and practice of the individual, which is what makes it so beneficial.
Since this concept is being noted as so beneficial, what are the specific benefits it can provide? People who practice spirituality report that they have a better time overcoming unfortunate events and negative emotions. They found that they have a way of finding meaning in every piece of their life, even the negative ones. They also found it easier to improve their mood when depressed or anxious.
Other benefits include increased empathy and compassion for others. Some people who are emerging into a life of recovery have difficulty empathizing with their peers or loved ones since their emotions were dampened by drugs and alcohol. Spirituality helps people overcome this and be more understanding.
There are countless other benefits like a healthier lifestyle, improved sense of community and connectedness. Those that practice spirituality feel they are a part of something and have meaning in their relationships.
The practice of this is also rather vague and interpreted differently from person to person. Many people utilize a range of different activities to practice their spirituality, while others just live in the moment.
Some people practice spirituality through Yoga, others through meditation or volunteering. The methods of reaching happiness and meaning through spirituality are completely customizable.
Yoga has proven to be a beneficial way of practicing spirituality, as it is good for the body and mind. It helps people clear their mind of anxiety and stressors while releasing serotonin naturally. Meditation has proven beneficial by allowing people to focus on their inner self and finding peace.
Incorporating Spirituality and Recovery
Now that we understand spirituality benefits, as well as how it can be practiced, it is time to assess how it can be used in conjunction with recovery. Spirituality allows people to find meaning in life. It allows people to see that their addiction can be a tool to benefit them in their lives as they overcome it and helps them move forward.
It also enables some people to be more empathetic and connect with their peers or loved ones. This can be critical to mending the burned and broken relationships due to addiction. This enables them to forge powerful and meaningful relationships going into recovery that will benefit their lives.
Finally, it also allows people to overcome hardships in life. It allows them to see how they are growing as they overcome difficult situations. This meaning in the negative parts of life provides perspective and experience.
This technique is also a big part of most 12-step groups and support programs. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous include spirituality in their programs because they see and understand its benefits.
This all results in powerful experience, understanding, and mental peace that prove invaluable to recovery. Combining all these benefits results in improved self-worth, inner peace, and a life full of joy and success.
Spirituality and The Recovery Team
At The Recovery Team, we understand the importance of spirituality in recovery. We also know that everyone is different and will never force anyone to accept spirituality if they are not ready. We simply provide the tools to those we work with and hope that they use them to build a strong foundation.
We have over two decades of experience in treating alcoholism, addiction, and mental health issues. We are here to provide a comprehensive program that gives each individual exactly what they need to overcome addiction and life a life of recovery.