Addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body and spirit. We lose ourselves in this attempt to fill a void that’s been bringing us down, we use because we want to feel more comfortable around others, and we use because we want to distract us from the very real things that are going on in our lives. Spirituality is the opposite of this – it’s what grounds us, what helps us get through hard times, and what gives us a sense of hope for ourselves and our future. A 2017 study published in the Universal Journal of Psychology found that after analyzing studies that involved spirituality components of recovery – such as through twelve step programs – high levels of spirituality were connected to reduced substance use as well as improvements in other areas of recovery.
Spirituality is different from religion in that it’s broader in nature – there are many different forms of spirituality, and a person can find what connects closely with them as they navigate their journey to recovery. The following are some examples of spiritual practices that can be used:
- 12-step programs – these types of programs lead people through 12 lessons that are meant to help them overcome addiction while also building a closer relationship with God, or a Higher Power. Many people find this type of approach to be helpful because they’re able to build connections with others while also strengthening their faith.
- Meditation – a traditional Buddhist practice, meditation helps you focus in on the present moment through formally closing your eyes and gently guiding your mind to focus on the breath. In recovery, this is often used to help people work through anxiety, depression, etc.
- Mindfulness – this is more of an informal meditation practice, as it can be done virtually anytime, anywhere. This approach is often incorporated in recovery methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as others, and it helps teach us to focus on the present moment.
- Volunteering – it’s a spiritual practice to give back to others, and volunteering is often a part of one’s recovery. Get to know other people and improve their life in some way.
- Practicing gratitude – often talked about in addiction recovery group sessions is the notion of forgiveness and gratitude. We must forgive others who have harmed us, and we must remind ourselves of all the things we have going for us.
Addiction recovery is like a rollercoaster, and spirituality is what keeps the roller coaster moving – no matter the twists and turns. Try different approaches. See what works best for you. You may find that spirituality enriches your recovery experience that much more.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.