Considering Spiritual Recovery
When considering spiritual recovery, people often think erroneously of religion. Any one particular religion doesn’t have to be a part of recovery. Many people do have God as their Higher Power (HP). For those with religious backgrounds, it’s pretty easy to put spirituality in context. For those who don’t have religious beliefs or practices, grasping how spirituality works, even what it is, can be a bit tough. After all, spirituality and religion are not the same concepts at all. For some, there may be overlap. However, there doesn’t have to be any overlap at all. Religion concerns structured rituals, practices, and dogma (beliefs) about gods or God. Religion involves worship. Spirituality involves how we connect to the universe at large. It also deals with how we place ourselves in the universe. Connections and meaning are big parts of spirituality. It’s a highly personal in that people experience spirituality differently. Connection with the natural world, the universe, a force greater than ourselves is part of spirituality. The making of meaning in our lives is as well.
In active addiction, we’re cut off from all healthy existence. We have no meaning except to get high, stay high, and do what it takes to stay there. We can’t be spiritual because we’re focused on the drug. Using becomes all that we do and think about. Our existence rotates around our disease. The disease always wins, until we can put it on hold long enough to get into recovery. Addiction eliminates our ability to adapt, to change, to become better people. Addicts sow chaos in the lives of others, but their own lives are always centered around the drug. With this focus, with this hanging onto the drug, life cannot be spiritual.
One well-known program, the 12 Steps method, approaches spirituality in the form of a Higher Power, or God as we understand God, if a person wishes to frame their Higher Power in terms of deity. Spirituality means connection with ourselves and others at first, then exploration of the deeper disconnects that formed during addiction. Often, spiritual problems have a lot to do in creating addiction. People who tend to feel separate from others, who have low self-esteem and devalue themselves suffer from a kind of spiritual malaise. Getting further into recovery can help resolve these issues. Experiencing our spirituality isn’t a one time event. We grow and change as time goes by.