5 Critical Roles Spirituality Plays in Recovery

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Many people in recovery cite spirituality as a key element to their success. In a study conducted by researchers from Maryland, participants in recovery were asked to explain the role of spirituality in their recovery. Many participants explained that when they were actively addicted, their spirituality seemed to suffer, and it seemed to go “hand in hand” when they entered recovery. Spirituality is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as “the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life”.

There were several roles that spirituality lent itself to during participants’ recovery:

    1. A mechanism for hope – many people who come into recovery want to regain hope for their lives. Spirituality gives them the opportunity to build their faith and hope for themselves and their world, which is why many have found success in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).


  • An opportunity for increased strength and peace – one participant from the study stated that spirituality for them was “something to reach for, to believe in”. For people who cannot find strength within themselves at times, spirituality gives them this.
  • A practice that one can incorporate in daily life – whether through attending church or other religious-based gathering, prayer, reading the Bible and more, spirituality gives many people ways to be actively involved all throughout the day.
  • A person to rely on in times of distress – several people expressed reaching out to God in times of need or when they felt cravings/urges to use. Others expressed that they can release their fears about the present and future because God will take care of them.
  • A method for staying grounded – it was mentioned that spirituality provided a “bigger perspective” on life’s problems, giving many participants in the study a realization that they weren’t in this “alone”.


Not everyone needs to incorporate spirituality into their recovery, but if you decide to, know there are several roles that it may play into your recovery and life overall. Psychology Today notes that for many people, spirituality helps to transform their life for the better.

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