Admitting to yourself or a loved one that you have a substance use disorder (SUD) can be extremely difficult. However, making that decision to find the help you need is freedom — freedom from a life of substance abuse, need, and dependence.
However, making that decision is just the first step. Finding and maintaining a path to long-term sobriety may be hard too. That path may start with a drug and alcohol inpatient treatment center. It may begin in a 12-Step program. No matter where recovery begins for you, finding your path to spirituality, in whatever form that looks like, may help you better navigate your recovery journey.
What Is Spirituality?
Spirituality is about connection to and with something larger than yourself — a higher power. A “higher power” does not always have a religious connotation. If you do not have a strong connection with a religious affiliation, that is okay. You can still connect with something outside of yourself and find connections with nature, meditation, philosophy, or even non-traditional forms of spirituality. Connecting with a higher power will positively impact your life, bringing you peace, motivation, and purpose in your recovery.
Benefits of Spirituality
One study on spirituality and substance abuse treatment found that spirituality positively impacted those recovering from substance abuse. Participants in the focus group stated that spirituality helped improve their “state of mind by giving strength and peace” to them, allowing them to manage their cravings better.
It also provided them with better-coping skills for difficult situations. Participants also credited spirituality with helping them forgive themselves and decreased their feelings of guilt, shame, pain, and bitterness resulting from their substance abuse.
Spiritual Consistency Is Key
Spirituality will vary from person to person and consist of different practices that will be unique to each individual. A key element to fostering a sense of spirituality is consistency. Cultivating a consistent spiritual practice can be an excellent tool to release stress, free yourself from depression, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental and physical well-being.
Find activities that are important to your spiritual life and find time to make those practices a part of your new lifestyle. Traditionally, if you practice a specific religion, you may have met once a week for a church or religious services pre-pandemic. However, your practice can be once a week, once a day, twice a day, etc. Spirituality is whatever feels good to you and keeps you motivated.
Spirituality and 12-Step Programs
Thousands of people worldwide have turned to 12-Step programs for their social support, guidance, structure, and recovery resources. Of those who succeed in these 12-Step programs, many feel a sense of heightened spirituality — and that’s because the 12-Step program not only helps people become stronger in recovery but also brings people closer to a higher power or God. Various studies have explored the aspect of spirituality within 12-Step programs, and they’ve found that they can bring about several wonderful feelings such as:
- Freedom. It’s not uncommon for those who abuse substances to try incredibly hard to control their emotions. When we’re bombarded by painful feelings such as rage, regret, jealousy, or depression, sometimes substances feel like the only way out. However, when we turn towards a higher power in a 12-Step program, we’re free to understand that we’re simply human beings with no control over the outside world.
- Gratitude. It’s challenging to feel appreciative over our lives when we’re caught in the murkiness of what’s going wrong – but 12-Step programs can bring us up close and center to the many blessings that life brings us if we open our heart and mind to gratitude.
- Humility. Once we begin seeing ourselves and the world around us differently, it becomes easier to acknowledge that we’re only human. We can do the best that we can do and look to our higher power for guidance in daily life. We’re no longer alone.
Our 12 step program will play a key role in helping you form new, healthy relationships that will play a beautiful part in your recovery story.More info
Non-Traditional Activities and Practices
Spirituality comes in multiple forms, based on what works for the individual. Non-traditional spiritual activities could include yoga, mindfulness mediations, prayer, spending time in nature, etc. These activities can provide you with a great sense of purpose and may allow your mind the time it needs to slow down, recenter, and help ground you. This form of spirituality may keep you focused on those things that are important to you when life becomes overwhelming.
Like 12-Step programs mention, practicing gratitude is also an effective tool to incorporate into your spiritual practices. Taking time to remember – and sometimes write down – the people, experiences, or things you are grateful for keeps you focused on those things going right in your life instead of focusing on anything negative.
Making time for self-care is also an essential part of your recovery journey. Self-care is one of the best investments you can make in helping you sustain a sense of emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Self-care enables you to heal your mind, body, and spirit as a whole and complete individual. By taking care of yourself, you are also taking care of others.
Spirituality consists of connecting to and with something larger than yourself — a higher power. A “higher power” does not have to be religious. Spirituality will vary from person to person and consist of different practices unique to each individual. You can connect with something outside of yourself and find connections with nature, meditation, philosophy, or even non-traditional forms of spirituality. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction and want freedom from a life of substance abuse, need, and dependence, reach out to Hawaii Island Recovery today. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we aim to provide quality substance abuse treatment with special focus groups on spirituality, relapse prevention, and other recovery services to promote a healthy and productive way of life. For more information on how we can assist you, give us a call today at (866) 390-5070. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.