Does Incorporating Spirituality Or Religion In Your Recovery Make A Difference?

People often describe addiction as a spiritual void, or lack of inner peace. Addiction thrives when there is internal turbulence and an emotional or spiritual disconnect. 

While abstinence from mind-altering substances is certainly essential to recovery, spiritual healing and emotional growth are also integral to sustainable sobriety. 

12-Step Recovery And Spirituality

Many rehabs subscribe to a holistic treatment approach that addresses the roots of addiction, including deep-seated trauma and co-occurring mental health disorders. The typical recovery program at any given free rehab center or private facility follows the guidelines and principles of the 12-step approach, such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

The cornerstones of the 12-step program are spirituality, mindfulness, and discipline. These principles are designed to help people focus on healing themselves from within. The 12 steps can be adapted to any type of religious faith or spiritual belief system. It is not meant to exclude anyone who does not adhere to or conform to preordained religion.

Finding A Higher Power In Recovery

Spirituality should be defined and expressed in a personal way. Having a higher power is considered essential, but the concept of god is flexible and open to interpretation. The point of having a higher power is to get out of self-obsession and develop the willingness to let go of self-will and control, which are barriers to holistic well-being. 

In early recovery, people are encouraged to explore their own connection with their higher power and learn how spirituality can be integrated into their daily lives. 

Mindfulness And Spirituality

Spirituality does not have to conform to the 12-step program to be effective. Many people prefer to implement spirituality in sobriety in a less structured way.

Mindfulness is a practice of being emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually present in all dimensions of life, which enables the development of insightful perceptions.

Mindful awareness is an important aspect of spirituality. Having awareness about yourself and others helps cultivate spirituality in your thoughts, behaviors, and actions.

The continuous growth of spiritual and emotional mindfulness also fortifies sustainable recovery, and mindfulness therapy has become a popular investment in spiritual health.

Relapse Prevention With Mindfulness

Mindfulness-based relapse prevention is an extension of addiction treatment that can help people in recovery manage their reactions to triggers and cravings over time. This technique is a more spiritual and preventative alternative to suppressing or ignoring urges and cravings. Instead, you can face them and do what is called urge-surfing.

Urge-surfing is the process of objectively observing your feelings and emotions, positive or negative, and validating them without immediately reacting to how they trigger you. It takes practice, but mindfulness and urge-surfing can help you develop a higher tolerance for stress and reduce your compulsive and self-destructive tendencies. 

The stronger and more profound your inner spirituality becomes, the more you can effectively control your impulsive urges to act on cravings and prevent relapse.

Spirituality As A Lifestyle

Sobriety is a state of mind, and spirituality is a way of life. Living in both optimizes your chances for success in recovery, as you become more self-aware and find inner peace.

Spirituality encompasses connections and relationships on different levels, including with yourself, others, your higher power, your environment, and the universe at large. The more connected you are with all these things, the less dependent you’ll become on your drug of choice, which probably monopolized your life before getting sober. 

Integrating spirituality in your life as a sober person is considered fundamental to achieving fulfillment in recovery. It is a lifelong learning experience to be treasured.