Tag Archives: Spirituality in recovery

Tag Archives: Spirituality in recovery


Connecting with a higher power when feeling like you failed in recovery

When everything is going well – for example, when we’ve been participating in our 12-Step program, we’ve maintained our therapy appointments and we’re feeling like we’re making significant progress in recovery – it’s easy to look towards a Higher Power. Pair spirituality with bad days – in other words, moments when we’ve been feeling depressed, anxious, let down, infuriated, etc. – and it becomes a bit more difficult. Many people can affirm that recovery has its ups and downs, and we can’t always predict how we’re going to feel or what situations are going to arise from one day to the next. What we can rely on, however, is a Higher Power to get us through those bad days.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Religion and Health, found that aspects of spirituality can help people get through even the hardest of times:

  • Feeling God’s presence daily
  • Believing in a Higher Power as a universal spirit
  • Serving as an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sponsor
  • And more

The more we become involved with our spiritual side, the greater the reassurance we can feel because we’re no longer alone – and not only that, but we can feel confident that as human beings, we don’t have all the answers.

Earlier this year, writer Maria Mooney, MSW, LSW, explained that,

“A lack of connection to the authentic self, important others, a higher power and a larger community can contribute to feelings of isolation and emptiness, low self-worth and a pervasive sense of unhappiness that can contribute to and/or perpetuate addictive behaviors.”

In other words, it’s our connection with a Higher Power – and a sense of strength in spirituality – that can take us to greater heights of strengths no matter what life circumstances are thrust upon us. If you’re ready to overcome addiction and surround yourself with people who can guide you through recovery, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

How spirituality plays a role in addiction recovery

Everyone may have their own definition of what spirituality means to them, but there’s one thing that most people have in common: Spirituality brings about feelings of hope, love, connectedness and strength. Dr. Elizabeth Hartney, a psychologist, and professor, told Very Well Mind – a website that publishes information related to disorders, self-improvement and more – that spirituality can incorporate a lot of different things, depending on the person:

  • Getting in touch with a person’s “moral compass”
  • Learning to apply a person’s values to live the life they’ve always wanted
  • Respecting oneself and others
  • Gaining perspective on a variety of problems
  • Recognizing that as human beings, we all have weaknesses
  • Receiving and providing support to other people
  • And more

While some may question spirituality’s role in addiction recovery, the evidence is clear. Many people who’ve battled alcoholism, drug addiction as well as many other forms of addiction have felt isolated, hopeless, depressed, lost, etc. Spirituality addresses these types of very real human concerns in a loving way. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Religion and Health assessed responses from several long-term A.A. members (members of Alcoholics Anonymous, a 12-Step program) to explore the role of spirituality in addiction recovery. Researchers found that feeling God’s presence daily, believing in a Higher Power as a universal spirit and serving as an A.A. sponsor were all linked to positive outcomes – and it makes sense because all of these and more can only bring us closer to living a happier, healthier life.

If you’re ready to feel less alone, less scared and less worried about living a life that brings you brings you greater peace and happiness, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Trusting in a higher power in recovery

When life seems to be going the way we planned for it to, it’s easier to smile, to laugh and to be grateful for what we have. When things go awry, however – that’s another story. We find it easier to curse at the wind – to get mad at all of the people, places and things that have brought us down and to focus on outside circumstances and hold them accountable for how we feel inside. Earlier this year, A Conscious Rethink, a website that publishes information related to mind, body, spirit, relationships and more, described 5 main reasons why we tend to blame things on others when life goes “wrong”:

  1. We’re trying to explain why something happened because we feel a need to know a “cause” for a particular situation.
  2. To attack another person, because we may want to hurt them the same way we felt hurt.
  3. An attempt to defend ourselves – so that we don’t have to focus on ourselves.
  4. It all feels easier when we can blame someone or something else – because then we don’t have to confront the personal responsibility we’ve had on the situation.
  5. We want to feel hurt, broken, angry, etc., and blaming others provides us with the permission we need to act in this way.

A common topic in the 12-Step program is learning to rely on a Higher Power in times of despair. Rather than placing particular blame on someone, we can turn to a Higher Power to explore what we could’ve done differently, or what we could change for the future. By trusting that as humans, we don’t have all the answers, we open our mind – and heart – to exploring more options for better living.

If you’re ready to dive into better mental, physical and spiritual health from active addiction, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

A guide to recognizing spirituality and self care while in addiction recovery

12-Step programs – such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – serve as a strong foundation for many in recovery. They provide clear steps and spiritual guidance that have helped thousands find their place in the world – alongside building a network of supportive people and a life that’s more fulfilling. Self-care is essential in daily life, but those in addiction recovery have often neglected self-care for quite a long time. Whether you’ve just begun your journey to recovery or you’re considered taking that courageous step towards treatment, it’s important to explore self-care and how it connects to 12-Step programs; because although it’s not talked about as often, there are many links there.

What is Self-Care?

There are many definitions of well-being; Yoga International defines self-care as,

“…what happens when you meet yourself as you are, and where you are”.

When we practice self-care, we’re recognizing that we’re human – and that as human beings, we don’t always have the ability to control what happens to or around us. Instead, we can acknowledge that we’re going to make mistakes – and by doing this, we can start taking steps towards making our lives more fulfilling as we can direct our focus up (to God or another Higher Power) and out (to our community).

In 2018, The Fix, a website that publishes relevant information on addiction and recovery, noted that when addiction is active, we’re more likely to neglect our personal mental, physical and spiritual health. Addiction is a disease that progresses and reels us in as we go – and with it, we may lose parts of ourselves even for a brief moment, along with relationships, jobs, money and more. They recommend the following exercises to implement self-care in recovery:

  1. Writing about how you’re feeling. Get a journal and start keeping track of your thoughts, moods and overall feelings about yourself, your life and your recovery. These brief moments of writing will help you release any pent-up anger, sadness or stress you may be feeling – and, over time, they can also serve as a way to observe patterns in your behavior so that you can take steps to ease your journey.
  2. Taking time to be alone. Addiction often brings people who abuse substances together – but all that substance use does is take us away from the present moment. Spend some time in recovery sitting alone and just breathing. Mindfulness is a beautiful practice that can truly change your life if you embrace slowing down and simply being.
  3. Taking breaks from technology. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s lives – especially if it feels like there’s more time to relax in recovery. At Cumberland Heights, however, you’ll be involved in a schedule with a lot of activities to keep you focused on your recovery goals – and you’ll find that it’s a nice break from technology.
  4. Move your body. Nutrition and exercise are vital components of wellbeing. As you work towards your physical health, you’ll want to get moving – even if it’s just a walk – so that you can start embracing how wonderful it feels to participate in life at a steady pace.
  5. Connect with others. Previous research has shown just how important it is to build a strong support system, and Cumberland Heights can provide you with many opportunities to do this.

12-Step Programs and Self-Care: What You Need to Know

12-Step programs are made to integrate self-care through weekly meetings and updates. By talking about the problems we’re experiencing and connecting with others, we’re doing a number of self-care acts:

  • We’re relating to others, which builds our sense of community
  • We’re opening up about our problems, which relieves stress
  • We’re problem-solving, which enhances our lives
  • We’re adopting new perspectives which shape the way we lead our lives
  • And more

Several years ago, a study was published in the Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment which assessed 12-Step program effectiveness alongside treatment programs. Researchers found that individuals who participated in 12-Step programs with regular treatment were more likely to remain active participants in their recovery; the 12-Step philosophy encourages people to look beyond themselves and into something much greater. From here, it becomes not only an act of self-care – but acts of care towards a Higher Power and one’s community, too.

Accountability is a highlighted component of 12-Step programs, and they remind us that not only are we not alone but that our actions do have an effect on others. Self-care then becomes part of relapse prevention and daily maintenance, as we attend 12-Step meetings, eat healthily, maintain contact with our sponsor, and participate in other recovery programs to feel continuously uplifted.

Seek Help Today


If you’re ready to push past addiction and build a life that’s fulfilling, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

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 two 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. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Event Details:

Cost: $30.00 – CEU Registrations
$15.00 – General Admission
(Lunch is included with all registrations)

3.5 CE Credits available, approved by NAADAC and NBCC

REGISTER HERE

Workshop Agenda:

8:30AM — Registration

9:00AM — Model of Care
Cinde Stewart Freeman, RN, LADAC, QCS
Chief Clinical Officer, Cumberland Heights

10:20AM — Spiritual Care Principles
Rev. Stan Bumgarner, M. Div. LADAC II
Spiritual Director, Cumberland Heights

11:30AM – Lunch (provided to all participants)

12:00PM — Alexis McAlister
TN Together

12:20PM — Music Assisted Therapy
John McAndrew
Music Therapist, Cumberland Heights

1:45 p.m. Evaluations

Using spirituality in recoverySpirituality can mean so many different things, but it’s essentially what keeps us grounded in our lives. Spirituality brings us balance, peace, joy and so much more, and it’s something that we all have to work towards each day. 12-Step programs emphasize spirituality because of how truly transformational it is on the heart. For many who have struggled with addiction, there is a void that needs to be filled – and while we try to use substances to fill that gap, they simply don’t work. Throughout recovery, however, we can actively strengthen our spiritual selves to fill the missing pieces in our lives. Let’s take a look at some of the most important aspects of spirituality that we all really need:

  • Hope – when we strengthen our spirituality, we’re likely to have a better outlook on the future. We walk a little taller because we know that everything will be okay – even if we aren’t sure how yet.
  • Compassion and understanding – Mother Theresa once said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” As human beings, we’re all fragile; we all make mistakes, we all have regrets and we’ve all experienced pain. Spirituality helps us recognize others’ pain as well as our own, with the ability to be compassionate to others in acknowledgement of what it means to be human.
  • Sense of purpose – a 2017 study published in the journal Addiction emphasized that addiction takes away meaningful life activities and connections that give us a sense of purpose in life; conversely, spirituality brings us closer to ourselves and to a Higher Power, which means we can then become closer to others as well.
  • Inspiration – through sponsorship, individual therapy, group activities and more, those in recovery can find inspiration. Spirituality is about connecting to others and coming together as a community – both of which only serve to strengthen love and hope.
  • Peace of mind – when we place less emphasis on ourselves, we can have a peace of mind in knowing that we are on the right path for a reason. Spirituality gives us this sense of peace by allowing us to overflow with stability, love and balance.

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.


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