In the United States, millions of people are impacted by the devastating effects of substance use disorder. Overcoming the grip of addiction is an intense process, and treatment must address all aspects of a person’s health for long-term healing. For many people, an essential aspect of recovery is spirituality. Although it can provide support, inspiration, and purpose, spirituality in recovery can be confusing and complicated, especially for those who are not religious.
Are Spirituality and Religion the Same Thing?
Many people confuse spirituality with religion. Religion is a set of practices, beliefs, and rituals that brings together a group of people who share their belief in a divine being, God, or multiple Gods. Spirituality is a personal experience and exploration of the meaning of life, existence, purpose, and self-power. It is the search for a connection to something greater than oneself.
Many people choose to practice their spirituality by spending time in nature or practicing meditation. Some may use devotional readings, daily prayers, tai chi, yoga, or any of the other many holistic methods. Others choose to exercise their spirituality through their religion. While religion isn’t necessary to recovery, spirituality is important and could make the difference between repeated relapses or living a life free from addiction.
The Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery from Addiction
One study examined the link between a person’s level of spirituality and faith and their success in recovery from a substance use disorder. The results showed that the individuals who had higher levels of spirituality and faith had a better rate of recovery than those who did not. It also showed a correlation between relapse and low levels of spirituality.
In addition to having a better recovery rate, spirituality benefits individuals in many other ways:
- Improved ability to cope with stress and situations that are emotionally overwhelming
- An increase in feelings of self-esteem and self-worth
- Having hope in situations that are uncertain
- Feeling increased peace and joy in everyday life
- Having greater ability to heal and forgive things from the past
- A greater understanding of one’s purpose and a sense of meaning
How Spirituality Helps You Find Who You Are
Practicing spirituality will help you know yourself–your strengths, your weaknesses, your needs, your desires. Spirituality will help you form a set of beliefs and principles that support your well-being and guide your actions.
Spirituality will also help you accept your shortcomings and ask for help. It fosters a basic respect for self and others and the desire to both give and receive support. When you are grounded and calm, you can look at situations from multiple perspectives and make smart choices.
Ways to Put Spirituality into Action
Options for exercising your spirituality are almost limitless. Think about the things you enjoy doing and do them. Find your unique gifts and talents and make them a part of your life. Learn to do something new and experience the vulnerability that requires. Enjoy time in nature, exercise, spend time with friends. You can also do the following spiritual practices:
- Practice kindness, honesty, and humbleness
- Meditate and/or pray
- Help others
- Practice gratitude
- Give back to the community
- Be good to others and to yourself
Let us Help You Discover Your Spirituality
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we can help. Our professional team at Canyon Vista Recovery Center in Mesa, Arizona, will use an individualized combination of medical, psychiatric, clinical, and holistic/spiritual approaches to treat all aspects of your disease. We can help you learn to value yourself and to get excited about discovering your own spiritual connection.