What is the meaning of “spirituality”? Does it have anything to do with recovery? Is it possible to get sober without spirituality?
Early in your journey through rehab, you will be presented with concepts about God, higher powers and spirituality. During rehab, you will hear plenty of stories from others. Many stories will be about how the person could not have recovered without God.
You probably won’t have any problem with the idea of God and recovery if your earlier experiences with religion were positive. However, some people have been hurt by religion and may struggle to try to make sense of God. They may feel pressured to keep silent or turn to a religion that does not match what they believe.
The core of all recovery starts with being honest. Being honest about what you believe is very important. Avoid trying to “fake it until you make it” when it comes to religious rituals. Don’t feel pressured to say things that you don’t believe. Praying to a god that you don’t believe in can feel phony. Praying from your heart can be uplifting, so just be real.
To answer the question about spirituality and recovery, let’s first consider the difference between religion and spirituality.
Religion is like a spiritual guidebook for life. There are rituals and practices that make up the framework of religion. Religion seeks to connect man with God. Connecting with God means connecting with love and compassion. Religion teaches us to seek truth and forgiveness. Religious truths are handed down through generations and are tools for living a good life. Religion teaches us to practice forgiveness and to show kindness, love, and compassion to others. Religion provides instructions on how to live at peace with others. Religions teach that God is Love.
Spirituality is a personal search for truth and meaning in life. Spirituality recognizes that there is a power beyond self and that power connects us to all things. This power is love and compassion. Spirituality recognizes that we live in an ever-changing world. Learning, growing and giving are practiced on a continual basis. A spiritual person has an honest desire to connect with others in meaningful ways. The spiritual person has a concern for the way they affect others. They show compassion and value others. Spirituality is not a religion. However, you can most certainly be religious and practice spirituality too. Like religion, spirituality is for the purpose of seeking a life full of meaning. For many people, religion and spirituality cannot be separated. Both religion and spirituality teach us how to live and how to love.
Living, Loving, and Addiction
One of the most widely accepted concepts is that God is Love. Love gives meaning to life. To love and be loved is the basis of life. In order for you to have the complete human experience, living and loving cannot be separated. Without love, life is just a long battle for survival.
Spirituality allows for freedom of choice. A spiritual person, like the religious person, is constantly changing and learning. They are focused on living a happy and healthy life. For the person connected to God, love is the pathway to a peaceful existence. A spiritual person will value people more than all other things. Spirituality and religion share the same belief that the ultimate most powerful force is love.
Addiction does not allow choices. An addict uses people and values only addiction. Every activity becomes centered on getting to the drug of choice. Connecting to others or God is not part of the life of an addict. An addict will separate from any source that does not include their addiction. There simply is no room for growing or learning new truth. The growing stops where the addiction started.
For the addict, living and loving are replaced with moving and using. The cycle of addiction prevents the addict from allowing spiritual or religious truth to sink in. The addict is powered and controlled by the drug.
Addiction causes one to lose track of things they once loved. For the addict, feelings of loneliness and loss are replaced with the rush of the high. You may feel as if you are doing fine without love, but you will, in fact, be missing out on a very basic human need. Being separated from basic needs can leave a person feeling cold and alone.
The separation that an addict feels is not a life sentence. In fact, it is not even a reality; it only feels like it is real. God, love and the meaning of life did not pack up and leave the planet the minute you got hooked on your drug. You see, the separation is only from your viewpoint. Addiction clouds the vision and causes myopia (eyeballs turned inward).
I have struggled in the past with the idea of turning things over to God. Sometimes it felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling. I wanted to see a quick fix or a miracle. I finally gave up the struggling. I stopped trying to tear open the doors of heaven by praying louder. I made peace with myself and God. I gave myself permission just to be me. I finally came to believe life itself is a miracle. Being at peace with one’s self can be a bit like heaven on earth.
All change begins with a willingness to see things from a different viewpoint. Which path you take makes little difference. Whether it be religion, spirituality or connecting with your highest power, just be willing to accept that you need to change. Accept the truth that there is a greater power that can help you.
A change in your spirit will happen during recovery. When you are sober, life looks different. Challenges will become opportunities to grow. Connecting with your true self will lift your spirit. You have no excuse to miss out on loving and living; it is why you came here!
Ashwood Recovery is here to help you and your loved ones overcome addiction and other disordered behaviors. Our counseling programs have already helped many of our clients get their lives back. Call us now to start your journey to recovery today. Don’t let addiction and other dangerous behaviors go untreated, and cause extreme emotional, mental and physical hurt and harm to yourself and those around you.
Contact Ashwood Recovery at (208) 906-0782 or www.ashwoodrecovery.com