Recovering from addiction is a highly individualized process that focuses on healing both body and mind.
Counseling can help patients notice thought patterns that are destructive to recovery, and group sessions can help patients find support from friends and family. Another avenue that can provide immense comfort and strength during rehabilitation is focusing on personal spiritual enlightenment.
Spirituality does not have to mean converting to a specific type of religious belief, although religious clients may find help by returning to the foundations of religious faith. Mostly, however, spirituality increases focus on self-healing and connecting with the world in a meaningful way to become more whole and personally satisfied.
What role does spirituality play in helping with addiction recovery? For every person, the answer might be different, but the results can be profound.
Goal setting is important in overcoming addiction because without goals, you limit your ability to progress and look forward to a life without addiction. When you focus on improving your spirituality, you have a better idea of what goals you want for your life.
For example, if you do follow a specific religious belief, you might set a goal to study from a religious text of your choice each day and apply the principles to your recovery through journal writing. This study will increase your ability to assess yourself and your progress through a concrete lens.
If you do not follow a specific religious belief, you might set a goal for yourself to spend 10 minutes a day thinking of things you are grateful for. This improves the connection you have with the world around you, helping you to see outside of yourself. Developing this gratitude fosters positivity and a feeling that you are blessed to live the life you have.
Addiction removes a core part of spirituality: it takes away your ability to choose something other than using drugs or alcohol. As you begin to heal, you regain more power over your own will. Using this new power to add more choices to your life is a compounding positive. As you make more choices that open doors, you’ll find an ever-expanding world of possibilities.
People who are moving away from addictive lifestyles need to redirect their focus to something else that brings meaning to their lives — they need doors to open. For many, that meaning can come from a spiritual source. For example, you might:
- Join a community or church choir. You’ll form new relationships while enjoying the positive feedback from creating joyful music to uplift others.
- Take up walking or meditating in nature. Introverted clients may enjoy the increased quiet and peace that comes from spending time outdoors breathing deeply and allowing thoughts to come naturally. Meditation is one of the most powerful spiritual tools for overcoming addiction.
- Participate in service projects. Serving others helps to develop your sense of belonging in the community, while also allowing you to ease the suffering of others. You can volunteer at local centers for refugees, mow lawns for a neighbor, or assist in soup kitchens and care facilities for the elderly.
- Grow a garden. Caring for something outside yourself is helpful in the healing process, but can seem like a foreign concept. Plants are a great place to begin. You connect with yourself and reap literal rewards as you cultivate a garden through the growing season.
Even if these new activities hold no interest for you at first, you can still experience newfound personal confidence. You’ll develop new hobbies, understand your own needs better, and reap personal satisfaction that has nothing to do with substance use and everything to do with your increased awareness of your ability to make good choices for yourself.
Connections With Others
Increased spirituality is like lighting a fire. First, you give more light and warmth to your own life, but then that light and warmth move outward to affect the people around you. A huge benefit of focusing on spiritual healing is being able to foster meaningful and healthy relationships with the people that matter to you.
Addiction robs you of your ability to adapt, change for the better, and grow. These qualities are essential for keeping healthy relationships. In relationships, you can’t stay stuck; you have to move forward and meet new challenges when they come. As you work on becoming a more spiritual person, you can focus on specific qualities that will help your relationships, including:
- Honesty. Before you began the addiction recovery process, you may have lost the trust of the people you care for most. In your meditations and reflections, you might focus on becoming trustworthy. Practice honesty in group sessions and in counseling.
- Compassion. Addiction can take away empathy for the suffering of friends and family. Reconnecting with your emotions and with the needs of others helps you to bring empathy back into your life.
- Forgiveness. People might have harmed you in the past, and you may have harmed others. A big focus of spiritual awareness is finding a way to forgive others and yourself for past mistakes so that you can move forward.
Your path to sobriety is made possible with the combined effort of doctors, therapists, friends, and family. But your personal progression and internal healing come from dedicating time to spiritual development.
For more information on how spirituality plays a role in addiction recovery, contact us at Pacific Ridge.