Finding Spirituality during Addiction Recovery

Finding Spirituality during Addiction RecoveryOvercoming addiction day-by-day takes personal strength and for many people, an understanding of spirituality transforms the process.

Recovery and Spirituality

While many people in recovery benefit from exploring spirituality, it’s not a required aspect of recovery. People who have no religious beliefs overcome addiction as well. Groups such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) note that spiritual beliefs can be an important tool for fighting addiction.

Individuals who seek guidance from God or other forms of spirituality report many experiences. In a 2007 article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, author Marc Galanter explores the role of spirituality in addiction treatment. He writes that spirituality is the lifelong pursuit of purpose and meaning. When people use spirituality to fight addiction, it is separate from the physical and behavioral aspects of the disease and often different from the mainstream practices of religious groups.

Since spirituality is associated with a positive outlook and feelings of hope, it can improve outcomes for a variety of conditions. The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health released a 2003 report stating that science recognizes hope is a crucial part of a person’s recovery. Addiction and mental illness commonly co-occur with current estimates showing 43 percent of individuals with substance abuse issues struggle with a mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Alcoholics Anonymous and a Higher Power

Spiritual truths, even philosophies that fall outside traditional religious beliefs, can be an important part of achieving long-term recovery. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) advocates one of the most well-known combinations of spirituality and addiction treatment through its respected 12-step program. Other affiliated groups include Narcotics Anonymous, which is a fellowship of individuals working to overcome drug addiction.

AA members work to be humble and rely on a greater power. Some members consider the higher power to be God while others come to a different personal conclusion about the greater power, according to an AA booklet, This Is A.A. AA members turn to a higher power as a way to overcome the urge to drink alcohol. Members recognize that alcohol can take over a person’s life and become more powerful than the person. By seeking help from a higher power, they are more successful making a daily commitment to avoid alcohol or abuse other substances.

Finding a Personal Belief System

In his Journal article Galanter defines three ways that spiritually-led organizations help people succeed. Groups such as AA allow people to associate with others who have similar struggles. Being around a group of passionate individuals all working toward the same goal is an effective way to achieve it. Plus, these groups give people support in areas often ignored by physicians who focus on physical issues instead of emotional ones.

Groups that promise life-changing addiction support have the following things in common:

  • Claims of providing relief from the disease of addiction
  • Operation outside the methods of established medical practices
  • Belief in the need to get help from higher metaphysical powers

These groups work by supporting each other and offering ways to find internal motivation to avoid substances.

Ways Spirituality Helps in Recovery

There are many ways spirituality can help a person achieve long-term sobriety. Galanter outlines several reasons a belief system empowers people in his article, including the following broad concepts:

  • Long-term availability – unlike psychotherapy or medication, spirituality is always available. While insurance companies only pay for limited amounts of treatment and some medications are only effective for a few months or years, a spiritual focus gives individuals a tool useful forever.
  • Sense of joy – a happy and purposeful life gives people a sense of satisfaction that overcomes the need for drugs or alcohol. People who have a positive outlook are more likely to comply with medical advice and maintain a better mood.
  • Association with like-minded friends – scientific evidence shows that people who have supportive friends fare better during times of stress. A network of spiritually minded people encourages spiritual activities such as meditation and provides encouragement during times of self-doubt.
  • Meaning in life – people who undergo a crisis are more likely to look for reasons to explain the problem and often find peace in spiritual concepts. Individuals struggling with addiction often suffer with low self-esteem and lost confidence. When they find a philosophy that offers solutions, they often adopt the new ideas and change self-defeating behaviors that led to addiction.

Personal beliefs that give people an external, spiritual reason to change can dramatically alter a person’s behavior. A new lifestyle free from the attitudes and behaviors that led to addiction is crucial to recovery.

Finding Help for Addiction

A drug or alcohol addiction can dramatically alter a person’s life, creating stress among family members and causing problems at work. If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction, it’s time to reach out for help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer effective treatment options.

Spirituality offers a long-term strategy for maintaining sobriety, but many people need guided help at the beginning. Don’t wait any longer to find help. Reach out today and get started on a treatment plan to bring long-term change. Call our toll-free helpline now.

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If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.