When someone is engaged in active substance use, the focus of daily life becomes centered on perpetuating that lifestyle. Pretty much everything that once mattered to the person takes a back seat to the substance use. As a result, relationships, careers, and finances are damaged, while daily life becomes increasingly isolated.
By the time someone commits to getting treatment, usually after much suffering, they are ready and willing to accept help. Many discovered first hand that relying on themselves to straighten out their life was simply not panning out. This is when a growing awareness sets in that the help of a Higher Power is needed to help them right the ship.
In recovery, connecting with spirituality is like grabbing a life preserver in the middle of the ocean. Spirituality doesn’t have to involve practicing an organized religion with rituals and prescribed beliefs. While many in recovery do rediscover their former religious affiliations, others expand their understanding of spirituality in unique ways.
What is Spirituality?
It is difficult to define spirituality, which is an abstract concept that can have a different meaning to each of us. In a general sense, spirituality involves a personal connection with the divine, or a Higher Power, something that transcends the here and now. Identifying that Higher Power remains open to individual interpretation, although it is typically considered as something larger than our selves.
One person’s spiritual journey may look totally different than another’s. For some, spiritual nourishment comes through structured religious practices, a faith community, and belief in God. For others, a spiritual connection is something cultivated through the beauty of nature, animals, or the universe. In essence, spirituality involves making a meaningful connection with something outside of one’s self. This can be experienced in a variety of ways, depending on different types of spiritual practice.
5 Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery
The role of spirituality, or the expression of faith in a Higher Power, has been shown to be helpful in promoting both physical and psychological healing. This can also be said for its role in substance use recovery.
In a study published in 2019 titled “Belief, Behavior, and Belonging: How Faith is Indispensable in Preventing and Recovering from Substance Abuse,” the authors gather a plethora of research that underscores the importance of spirituality in recovery. One of these studies (Lyons et al) found that 82% of clients who had a spiritual awakening while in treatment were completely abstinent at the one-year mark, versus 55% of those who had not had this awakening.
Some of the known benefits of spirituality in recovery include:
- Helps You Find Renewed Purpose. Finding new purpose and meaning, as a result of spiritual growth, can drive positive actions in daily life.
- Promotes Accountability. A strong connection to your Higher Power creates a sense of accountability in recovery, to both the Higher Power and to the people who care about you.
- Helps You Connect with Something Outside Self. Recovery helps you shift from being isolated, focused on yourself and the substance, to deriving strength from a Higher Power.
- Increases Compassion and Humility. A spiritual worldview usually entails practicing faith-based virtues, like empathy, compassion, and humility.
- Promotes Greater Mindfulness. Spirituality can lead to a more mindful way of walking through life, fostered through meditation and prayer.
Spirituality can have a positive impact across all realms of daily life. By nurturing a connection to a Higher Power you will be simultaneously reinforcing recovery, regardless of how you define and practice your unique sense of spirituality.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.