Many people enter addiction treatment rehab or walk through the doors of a 12-step room and struggle with the concept of spirituality. For those beginning the journey of addiction recovery who do not identify as religious, or who did previously but have now rejected religion, or who have felt harmed by religion, the idea of spirituality or a higher power can be challenging.
For those who practice religion and identify God as their Higher Power, spirituality likely already makes sense. They can fit spirituality into the framework of their current religion. For someone who has never practiced, no longer practices or who feels harmed by religion, it can be difficult to grasp how spirituality can exist without the presence of religion. But spirituality and religion are very different.
The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion
It is helpful to separate spirituality and religion. We often unconsciously link the two. But spirituality does not need to be defined through the lens of religion. Religion can be thought of as a set of beliefs, rituals and practices regarding belief in God or gods to be worshipped. Spirituality is a personal search for meaning in life, for connection with all things and for the experience of a power beyond oneself. Some find it helpful to think of religion as rules or practices agreed to by a number of people, whereas spirituality is completely related to one’s individual experience and connections. Spirituality is recognizing a power greater than ourselves which is grounded in love and compassion. It is a power that gives us perspective, meaning, and a purpose to our lives. It is a desire to connect with more than ourselves, to connect with everything.
So, Why Is Spirituality Important In Addiction Recovery?
Spirituality is important in addiction recovery because addiction takes away our ability to be spiritual. It disconnects us from our spirituality and from powers, people and things outside ourselves. To fully recover from our addiction we must reconnect to our spirituality, our search for purpose in our life and connections beyond ourselves.
How Does Addiction Take Away Our Spirituality?
First, alcoholism or drug addiction takes away our ability to choose because EVERYTHING becomes centered on using. Our entire focus is on the drug of addiction…how to get it, when to get it, who to get it from, where to get it, when to use it, actually using it, and recovering from using it. The sole focus in life revolves around the addiction. We tend to only value people and things based on our addiction. An important element of spirituality is choosing for ourselves: deciding on our beliefs, exploring our purpose and meaning and honestly connecting with people and powers beyond ourselves. Addiction keeps us from choosing anything but the object(s) of our addiction.
Read more about spirituality and addiction recovery here: new-hope-recovery.com