Healing With Spirituality in Addiction Recovery

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Healing With Spirituality In Addiction Recovery

Many people balk at the concept of spirituality in addiction recovery. Unfortunately, this initial pushback prohibits many people from receiving the benefits that spirituality in recovery can have to offer. A famous quote in the recovery world is often attributed to the iconic English philosopher and psychologist Herbert Spencer. It goes, “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Yes, the keys to healing with spirituality in addiction recovery are to keep an open mind and a willingness to grow.

An Overview of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery

Spirituality has long been a component of contemporary recovery. Perhaps the best example is the founding of the first 12-Step recovery program, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Roughly 89 years ago, two people founded a program on two principles. 

One is that it is critical to help others also in recovery. Two, giving oneself over to a higher power greater than oneself is vital. These men were Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith, and their 12-Step program has gone on to help millions of people and their families recover from the disease of addiction.

Is Spirituality in Addiction Recovery a Requirement?

So, is spirituality in addiction recovery a requirement? The answer is no. Many people have gone on to have successful recoveries without the aid of spiritual practices. However, many more have found that the aid of a spiritual program has helped them immensely.

Studies have shown a positive relationship between spirituality and overall health. According to the peer-reviewed journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, “Scientific literature strongly supports the notion that spirituality and religiousness can enhance health and QOL [quality of life].” 

Yet, these potential benefits of spirituality often go overlooked, especially for people in recovery. The reason for this is that people often conflate spirituality and religion. 

Spirituality Versus Religion in Addiction Recovery

Yes, of course, religion and spirituality are very intertwined. However, spirituality does not have to conform to a specific dogma or organized religion. 

Yes, some people who are already religious find that staying connected or reconnecting to their religion is a great way to find a sense of spirituality in recovery. Others who were once religious but had a “falling out” with the organization or principles find that they need to find spirituality down other avenues. 

Then some were never religious but adopted a specific religious denomination or organization to aid in their recovery. Yet, others were never religious or spiritual and chose to remain that way. All of these are acceptable ways to approach one’s recovery and are just emblematic examples of how vast, varied, and personalized people’s recoveries actually can be. 

Understanding the “Higher Power of One’s Own Understanding” Concept

In 12-Step recovery and many other spirituality-minded recovery programs, it is understood that one should stop trying to rely on oneself for all of the answers. Also, one should be careful to put all their faith into another person because people can be flawed by their very nature. This is where the “higher power of one’s own understanding” comes in.

The idea is that there is something greater out there that can be relied upon both at times of great rejoicing and at low times of being triggered. This higher power can go anywhere, be anything, and be relied upon at any time. This is why many people find that a higher power can be beneficial when it comes to potential relapses. 

Seeking a Spiritual Experience With the Twelve Steps

As discussed, the Twelve Steps can be practiced on a strictly non-religious basis. However, that should not remove the inherent spirituality imbued in them. After all, the Second Step of the Twelve Steps states, “We came to be aware that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” 

A big part of going through and continuing to practice the Twelve Steps is seeking a “spiritual awakening.” Yes, this spiritual awakening is a “white light” experience for some people. However, for others, this spiritual experience happens more gradually over time. The American philosopher William James called this a spiritual experience of the “educational variety.”

Healing Spiritually With Yoga

Yoga has been practiced for over 3,000 years. Originally, it was used as a strictly religious or spiritual practice. However, in recent years, it has expanded into many different areas of life. This includes the world of strict fitness, the realm of recovery, and a combination of both.

The iconic philosopher and yogi B.K.S. Iyengar famously said, “It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” Many people in recovery who are seeking spirituality find truth in this. However, yoga has many benefits for those not focused solely on spiritual benefits.

The therapeutic benefits of yoga can manifest in many different ways. According to the International Journal of Yoga (IJOY), “Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”

Whole Mind-Body-Spirit Healing With Avalon Malibu

Here at Avalon Malibu, we understand that everyone’s recovery journey is different. This includes the spiritual choices that they make.

Whether spiritual or not, it is important to remember that recovery is about the journey, never the destination. Our mission is to ensure that the journey leads people to the happy destiny they both desire and deserve.

Spirituality in recovery from addiction has been proven to be beneficial for many individuals. Also, some people who initially balked at spirituality tried spiritual practice only to soon find it foundational to their recovery. The reality is that each person has to choose their own spiritual path in their recovery journey, but there is evidence that shows that those who do have greater long-term recovery success rates. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you on the right road to recovery right away. For more information about adopting a spiritual practice in recovery, please reach out to Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.

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