The Role of Spirituality in Recovery
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The Role of Spirituality in Recovery
Whether you’re active in a twelve-step group, secular organization for recovery, or are just sober on your own, finding a spiritual path can be incredibly helpful. Whether you find your spiritual practice in mindfulness meditation, volunteering, or playing music, it can make a huge difference in recovery from addictions and mental health disorders.
What is Spiritual?
To be blunt, I really don’t like the word “spiritual.” In today’s world, it brings to mind something cheesy or phony. However, the word spiritual really is a beautiful word at its core, and anyone can find a spiritual path whether they’re religious, agnostic, or atheistic. The word spiritual comes from Latin roots and literally means “of the breath.” This points toward the accessibility of spiritual life. Like the breath, it’s always with us.
A spiritual practice is whatever you want it to be. To me, spirituality is about growing toward something through a path laid out and with a community. It can be something rooted in religion, science, or tradition. We often think that spirituality needs to be something like meditation or prayer, but we can find spirituality in a number of ways.
There are many different paths that may be considered spiritual. In recovery, we really have to find what works for us. It doesn’t have to be something involving a god or higher power, and it may be something individual to you. Yoga is a great way to go. From the sphinx pose to a nice flow, yoga can really help you find a path, practice, and way to center yourself. There are many practices like mindfulness meditation and different forms of yoga that may help you find yourself.
Exercise in general can be quite spiritual. Many people recovering from addiction find happiness in running, swimming, working out, or even walking. You can do it by yourself or find a group. As we exercise, we get dopamine rolling into the brain and can really uplift our moods. It also can serve as a form of meditation. When we exercise, it can be a great time to think clearly and be with ourselves.
Maybe it’s something completely different like taking photographs, drawing, or other forms of art. I’ve found in my own life that taking photographs can be a deeply spiritual practice. It helps me slow down, look at things with more awareness, and really be present. It wasn’t something I thought of as a spiritual practice for my recovery, but it’s grown into a really beautiful practice.
You could also try connecting with nature. Many people find a connection with something greater when in nature, or are able to relax the mind and be present. Finding spirituality in recovery takes some exploration and willingness to try new things. Even if you’ve never considered yourself a nature-lover, maybe you will find spirituality in the forest, at the beach, or in the garden.
The Benefits of Spiritual Life
Finding spirituality in recovery can benefit us in a number of ways. First, spirituality can help us connect with others. Whether you go to church, attend a yoga class, or get outside into nature, you can do so with other people. You can deepen your connection with them, get to know them well, and enjoy the company of others.
Spiritual practice can also help us face difficulties. Whether it is the everyday difficulties of anxiety and sadness or the bigger issues we face like breakups or death, having a spiritual practice gives us somewhere to which we can turn. Mindfulness meditation, for example, can help reduce feelings of anxiety from addiction. When we’re suffering, a spiritual practice and community can give us a safe place.
Spirituality can also give us a sense of direction in our recovery. As we continue in our sobriety, it’s incredibly helpful to have different ways in which we are growing. When I was newly sober, I was active in twelve-step, had a therapist, and had a mindfulness meditation practice. Although this may seem like a lot, it really helped me to look at things with different lenses. I always had a way to move forward, and many different options to investigate my experience and behavior.
How to Find Spirituality in Recovery
Being in recovery is a continual process of opening our minds to new possibilities. Finding spirituality in recovery means opening our minds and trying new things. Maybe you have an existing religious or spiritual practice. If so, you may try diving deeper into your existing practice. You can also keep your mind open to new things. Get out there and try something that you haven’t done before. Ask friends and mentors what they recommend.
It’s common to find spirituality in substance abuse treatment programs these days, as treatment centers want to offer different things to help people get sober. Finding spirituality is a great thing for our recovery, and it’s great to investigate things when we can. Many people also find spirituality in mental health recovery to be beneficial. Although doctors, counselors, and true professional care is absolutely helpful and often necessary, we can find a spiritual path to help supplement our recovery.