The Surprising Connection Between Spirituality and Recovery
During your 12-Step recovery process, you will be asked to forge a relationship with a God of your own understanding – a Higher Power. This is a very personal experience and you are given unlimited freedom to develop your own concept of God or a Higher Power.
Developing a spiritual practice in recovery is about connecting to this Higher Power. It is how you communicate with God – or higher consciousness, nature, the universe – whatever you choose to call It.
Spiritual health is vital to the recovery process. Those who actively cultivate a sense of spirituality in their lives are much more likely to stay sober than those who do not. Also, having a spiritual practice enriches the experience of living a sober lifestyle.
Five Different Types of Spiritual Practices That Promote Ongoing Recovery
At Ashley, we promote holistic care as a way to heal from drug or alcohol addiction. To encourage your ongoing sobriety, we want to share five of our favorite different types of spiritual practices.
# 1 Prayer
Step 11 of the 12-Step process reads, “We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Prayer can be a very beautiful spiritual practice.
Prayer is you talking to the God of your own understanding. Or, you might prefer to pray to the universe, nature, or whatever’s “out there.” It is a one-way conversation with you and your Higher Power.
In the morning, you might pray that your Higher Power guide you through the day and help you stay sober. At the end of the day, you might give thanks for another day of sobriety. Or, you might enjoy reciting one of the many well-known prayers of Alcoholics Anonymous regularly. You can also say prayers throughout the day by expressing gratitude or asking for strength.
How you choose to pray (and when and where) is entirely up to you.
# 2 Connecting With Nature
Many people find that connecting with nature is a spiritual practice that helps them in their recovery. This might involve hiking or walking along a nature trail. It could be just laying in the grass with the sun shining on your face. Maybe you would enjoy sitting quietly under a tree. Or, perhaps you might like to go on a camping trip and do some stargazing.
# 3 Yoga
Yoga is an ancient practice that dates back more than 5,000 years. It involves very intentional body poses and breathing exercises.
Many people in recovery enjoy yoga because it connects them to their mind, body, and spirit. After years of drug or alcohol abuse, many newly sober people have experienced a profound disconnect from their authentic selves. Yoga helps to restore this connection.
Don’t be intimidated by yoga. You do not have to be super fit or in great shape to enjoy yoga. There are beginner’s yoga classes available so you can start at a fitness level that is comfortable for you.
Also, you can do yoga from the comfort of your own home. If you are terrified by the thought of engaging in this spiritual practice in front of other people, check out the many beginners yoga videos available on YouTube.
Need some inspiration to start your yoga practice? Check out these 13 benefits of yoga, all backed by science.
# 4 Attending a Spiritual or Religious Service
One of the greatest things about the 12-Step process is that you get to develop a relationship with a God of your own understanding. You can believe in whoever or whatever you choose. This also means you can go to any kind of worship service to honor your own spirituality.
Some appreciate the structure of a religious or spiritual service, which takes place in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque, or other religious sanctuary. This is also a great way to fellowship with likeminded people.
Looking for a new religion? Here is a complete list of almost every religion in the United States accompanied by a brief explanation of each.
# 5 Meditation
It has been said that prayer is you talking to God. Well, then, meditation is God talking to you.
Meditation is another type of spiritual practice that tends to intimidate people. For those who have never tried meditation, it can seem like a frightening endeavor. Many get quite anxious when they think about sitting quietly for a period of time. Most people want to avoid the relentless chatter in their own mind at all costs.
The irony is that regular meditation actually quiets mental chatter. It also boosts mood, reduces stress and anxiety, promotes restful sleep, and works as a natural painkiller. These are just a few of the many research-based benefits of meditation.
There are different types of meditation. However; the general idea among each practice is to sit alone quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breath. There is no wrong way to do it. You don’t need a mat or any fancy equipment. It really is just about sitting with yourself without any distractions.
If you are interested in meditation – but you find it intimidating – just try it for five minutes. And then ten minutes. Continue to increase the time until you reach 30 minutes. Do this at least three times a week.
Want to try a guided meditation? There are plenty on YouTube and they are a great starting point for beginners.
Keep Searching Until You Find What Works For You
It is not uncommon for people to struggle with their own spirituality when they get sober. This is completely normal. However; we want to encourage you to try different types of spiritual practices until you find one that works for you.
A regular spiritual practice promotes relapse prevention, improves your quality of life, and enhances the experience of sobriety.