Spirituality in recovery can give you the purpose, mindfulness, connection, and gratitude you’ll need.
This Halloween, you’ll hear plenty of talk about ghosts and spirits. Those words are mostly jokes this time of year, but there’s plenty more beneath the word spirits. Spirituality, for instance.
No matter the time of year, we can’t count out spirituality in addiction recovery. Joke about ghosts and spirits all you like, but remember that for many people, spirituality is crucial to their addiction recovery.
What is Spirituality in Recovery?
You can’t pin down spirituality with one definition, and so most people understand it as a broad term which each person can interpret for themselves. Here’s a loose definition: spirituality is the human search to understand who we are, how we relate to each other and what we can do in the universe around us.
One quick note: you might confuse spirituality with religion. The two concepts share a few things, but they’re not the same. We can define religion more easily: it’s a set of beliefs which a group follows to worship a higher deity or set of deities.
Spirituality is a little more individual and a lot less defined than that. So let’s move forward and see what spirituality might do for your addiction recovery.
What Can Spirituality Give to Your Recovery?
There are a few things we can name here, but it’s not an exhaustive list. If you want to know more by the end, we’ll have more in-depth sources ready.
If spirituality involves a search for higher meaning, then it has a built-in purpose. It’s one you can take up for yourself and for your addiction recovery. Think about it – if you choose to learn everything you can about your place and your abilities, you’re choosing a drive for your life. A drive towards something larger then yourself (towards meaning) can help you focus your recovery journey.
Here, mindfulness means living in only the moment where you are. When you take time from your day to be still and breathe in your present, it might help calm and center you. Actor Russell Brand (himself in addiction recovery) once described it as “a negotiation with your feelings.” A negotiation means that at the end, you’re moving forward from a better place than where you started. When you’ve started in addiction and are walking forward from it, mindfulness might be just what you need.
Many people practice mindfulness through meditation and yoga, though what makes you feel the most mindful will depend on your recovery needs.
This aspect doesn’t only mean connection to other people. It’s also how seeking your own spirituality connects you to whatever you’re hoping to find: truth, or meaning, or God, or the universe. This connection can help you keep one foot in front of the other as you recover from addiction’s imbalance. Whatever you connect with, it might just give you a perspective of stillness (mindfulness, remember?).
And there’s still connection to the other people on the same path. You might meet these people anywhere – a religious service, a yoga class or a meditation session. But if you’re serving the same spiritual purpose, then you can connect to their community.
Of all the things on our list, gratitude ties closest to perspective. Spirituality can add a new perspective to your recovery. Once you learn who you are and how you fit to those around you, you can try living accordingly. That is, living with greater gratitude.
Even if it’s good for your progress, feeling grateful while in addiction recovery seems paradoxical. I’m living with stressful urges, and I have to stay the same difficult course every day, you might think. But you might also think, I’m still alive. I have the chance to grow. I have others in my life. There’s that perspective: when you frame your life in light of what you have, you can feel more grateful. And that’s a healthier mindset for your recovery, since it can help you move forward with greater delight.
So What Now?
Now you might know a little more about spirituality in recovery than you already had. It’s up to you whether you look deeper and apply it to your own addiction recovery. If spirituality for recovery intrigues you, look through some articles from Nicola O’Hanlon (she has written extensively on it). And if it doesn’t, that’s fine too. We’d rather explain than convince.
Here at In The Rooms, we’ll give you the resources to make your own recovery choices. What you choose depends on you. If you need recovery meetings, we have them here. If you need more answers to your questions, we have those also. We hope that you’ll sign up today and let us serve your recovery needs.