How to Use Spirituality for Addiction Recovery
Religion has taken a hit in modern times. Fewer people associate with a particular religion or attend services, but that doesn’t mean that we have turned away from a higher power. Many of us have simply shifted from being religious to being spiritual. The beauty of spirituality is that it means whatever you want it to mean. And, it can help if you are in recovery from addiction. If you have never considered yourself religious or spiritual and aren’t sure how to incorporate this into your recovery, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Meditate. Mindfulness and meditation are growing trends in Western spiritual practices and they come from Eastern religions and philosophies. The great thing about meditation is that anyone can learn to do it. It isn’t hard, but it requires practice. Even better, there is evidence from research that mindfulness meditation can actually prevent you from relapsing. To get started, read up on meditation or work with someone who can instruct you personally in how to meditate or become more mindful.
- Start a book club. Learning can be a spiritual practice and can open up your mind to new possibilities. A great way to learn about spirituality as a recovering addict is to start a book club with a few trusted friends. Choose books that interest you on topics such as being spiritual, a religion that interests you, addiction recovery or philosophy. Read and discuss with your friends. Include discussions of how you can apply what you learned to your life in recovery and avoiding relapse. In addition to learning, you will be strengthening social connections that are important to recovery.
- Join a 12-step group. Twelve-step groups have been around for decades and have always included a spiritual element. As with a book club, a 12-step support group is useful for recovery. Gathering with other people who have similar life experiences is a powerful tool for sobriety. Add to that the spirituality present in these meetings, and you have a strategy for staying clean that has worked for millions of people. If you have previously been turned off by the idea of the 12 steps because you thought you had to be religious, you may change your mind as you become more spiritual. You need to admit to a higher power, but that can be anything you want it to be.
- Rediscover nature. For many people, spirituality can be found in nature. There is something powerful and refreshing about being outdoors, and most of us don’t get enough of it. If you remember running and playing for hours outside as a child, you probably are also remembering a happier time. Rediscover that joy and contentment by going for more walks. Go to a local park and explore, or venture further out and go on a hiking or camping vacation.
- Go back to church. Of course, being spiritual can also mean being religious. If you used to go to church or any other institution of organized religion, try going back for services. You may find that you get much more out of services than you did in the past, and you might just find strength in traditional religion. It isn’t right for everyone, but it is worth a try.
We are all capable of being spiritual, but many of us have lost the ability to appreciate and recognize spirituality. Rediscover your spiritual life, and it may help you strengthen your sobriety and avoid having a relapse.
Choose a better life. Choose recovery.