Woman in the woods embracing spirituality in addiction treatment

Why Does Spirituality Matter in Addiction Treatment and Wellness?

Discovering how to express spirituality in addiction treatment can be difficult, as even the word “spirituality” can mean different things to different people.  For some people, the concept of exercising spirituality may mean attending religious services at a chosen place of worship and praying to God or another deity. For others, it may mean meditating often and using chakra stones and healing crystals for releasing negative energy and reaching an emotional release. Spirituality is a concept that can seem elusive, inaccessible and even contradictory at times. However, it is essentially each person’s unique way of finding purpose and meaning in life, no matter what chaos and stress each day may bring.

No matter what they may be, spiritual practices can benefit anyone and give them a sense of meaning and purpose in life. However, finding meaning in life can be particularly essential for individuals battling substance use disorders and addiction. Incorporating spirituality in addiction treatment can be a vital aspect to add to the recovery process. It can help individuals better understand themselves, develop connections to a greater sense of purpose and make more substantial commitments to staying sober. 

At The Ranch Tennessee, mental health professionals know that a person’s mind, body and soul must be in their best condition to have optimal health. For this reason, this center provides holistic care options to people seeking care and treatment for addiction, mood disorders, mental illnesses and more. Addressing the mind, body and soul through treatment programs guarantees that individuals recovering from addiction can enjoy enhanced physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Defining Spirituality

Spirituality can entail nurturing a connection to something considered greater than oneself, such as God or a higher power, the universe, our shared humanity or nature itself. For this reason, some people exercise spirituality that revolves around their belief in God and the ways they actively participate in organized religion. Others, however, may identify themselves as being spiritual but not religious. Specifically, individuals who do not consider themselves religious may center their spirituality on nonreligious experiences that enable them to connect with their spiritual selves. They may engage in yoga, meditation, private prayer, quiet reflection and spending time outside in nature. In general, however, the concept of spirituality is a broad one that includes a search for motivation, value and meaning in life. Ultimately, this search for purpose makes spirituality a universal human experience.

Not only can spirituality differ from individual to individual, but one person’s idea of spirituality can change, evolving and adapting to fit any new perspectives and experiences they gain. In other words, people receiving care and treatment for substance use and addiction may also alter their spirituality according to any recovery needs that may change during treatment.

Understanding Spirituality

No matter what spirituality means to each person or the existential questions they may ask, spirituality is not as far removed from daily life experiences as some people may think. Just thinking about something that you consider meaningful is a way of being involved in spiritual practice.

Religion can be a crucial aspect of some people’s spiritual lives, but it’s important to remember that spirituality has no exclusive ties to one religious organization or practice. While religion generally involves rituals, rites, traditions and a search for ultimate truth, spirituality more broadly includes a general search for interconnectedness and personal meaning. Still, it’s common for religious and nonreligious ideas of spirituality to connect to profound questions about life, the human condition, self-efficacy and more. Additionally, spirituality and religion, while different concepts, both involve:

  • A belief in something considered greater than oneself
  • Finding comfort in a set and system of beliefs
  • Seeking meaning in life through experiences
  • Living according to a system of values

Spiritual practices not only help individuals find meaning and purpose in their lives, but they can also contribute to significant improvements in physical and mental health and total wellness. Regular spiritual practice can help individuals increase empathy, attention, compassion and their sense of connectedness. Having a spiritual framework can motivate people to treat themselves and their bodies with more respect and kindness. Such a belief can encourage people to avoid harmful behaviors like drinking alcohol excessively and engaging in drug use, leading to a healthier sober lifestyle. Furthermore, your spirituality may help you make better sense of hardships in life and work through unpleasant emotions like anger, jealousy, shame and guilt, enabling you to persevere and overcome life’s difficulties.

Incorporating Spirituality in the Recovery Process

Like the individuals who experience substance use and addiction, the causes of addiction are multifaceted, complex and variable. While substance use disorders can develop for many reasons, addiction typically results from trauma, emptiness or dissatisfaction because people see alcohol and drugs as an escape from such hardships.

Substance abuse cannot provide safety, satisfaction or a long-term solution to the challenges you face. Conversely, recovery offers an opportunity to reevaluate belief systems and live life in an evolved, more meaningful way. Participating in spiritual activities and searching for a greater purpose in life during treatment can empower individuals in recovery to develop a solid foundation to fall back on when experiencing challenges.

Incorporating structured spirituality in addiction treatment and recovery enables individuals to embark on a journey of transformation that typically includes the 12 steps of:

  1. An admission that you lacked power over drugs and alcohol
  2. The belief that a higher power can help you recover
  3. The decision to trust this higher power with your life
  4. Being honest and taking a moral inventory of yourself
  5. Admitting that you’ve committed wrongs against yourself, your higher power, and another human being
  6. Preparing yourself to allow your higher power to remove the guilt for the wrongdoings you’ve admitted to
  7. Humbly asking the higher power that you believe in to remove your shortcomings
  8. Creating a list of the people you have harmed and gaining a willingness to make amends with them
  9. Making amends with people you have hurt, whenever possible
  10. Continuing to take an honest, personal inventory of yourself and willingly admit when you are wrong
  11. Enhancing your contact with your higher power by praying, meditating or engaging in other spiritual practices
  12. Incorporating your learned values into everything you do and sharing the lessons you’ve learned in recovery with other people who struggle with substance use disorder

One thing to keep in mind is that for many people, the higher power they look to when executing the twelve steps is God, but it doesn’t have to be. For others, humanity, nature or oneness could be the higher power motivating your progress and lifestyle changes. 

Furthermore, 12-step programs are common and effective, but they aren’t the only way to incorporate spirituality into recovery. Consider spiritual, meaning-seeking practices such as journaling, meditation and yoga instead. At The Ranch Tennessee, we recognize the importance of accessing our spiritual side and include such activities in our addiction treatment programs. These programs equip individuals to learn the reasons behind their substance use, become more aware and in tune with their desires and find new meaning in a substance-free life.

Benefits of Spirituality in Addiction Treatment

Spiritual practices can be especially useful in recovery. Having a sense of meaning in your life and a spiritually led commitment to be more respectful and kind to yourself and your body can make alcohol and drugs less alluring and help you more easily resist them. When you’re able to make sense of suffering in a more meaningful and conducive way to your health, you’re more likely to be able to cope with hardships, work through them and stay successful during and after treatment and recovery.

Implementing spiritual principles and practices into your recovery journey can produce benefits such as:

  • Improved self-esteem and self-worth
  • Increased joy and peace in everyday life
  • Greater meaning and purpose in life
  • An easier time healing from past experiences


Spirituality in Addiction Treatment at The Ranch Tennessee

Spirituality and an individual’s search for life meaning are essential aspects of treatment and care at The Ranch Tennessee, where evidence-based and holistic care programs are implemented to address the mind, body and spirit. At this center, clinicians, therapists and other mental health experts have the number one goal of helping patients understand the root and catalysts of their substance use and gain renewed meaning in a substance-free life. Individual counseling and therapy, group sessions and other practices can equip patients with a stable framework that supports sobriety well after treatment is complete.

The dedicated and experienced professionals at The Ranch recognize the benefits of improved spiritual health on physical and mental health, and encourage wellness and incorporate spirituality into several medically backed and holistic care options, including:

Participation in meaningful activities combined with spiritual principles and practices during the treatment and rehabilitation process can empower patients to build a source of comfort, support, and clarity to continue practicing well into sobriety. Treating a substance use disorder or addiction could be the first step to finding new purpose and meaning in a life that isn’t weighed down and dictated by drugs and alcohol. 

If you or someone you care about and love struggle with addiction and substance use, The Ranch is here to help. By calling 888.969.7918, you can start your recovery journey and receive the judgment-free substance abuse education, guidance and support you need and deserve.

Scroll to Top