A daily recovery plan for addicts and alcoholics must include a proper exercise and nutrition program, healthy human relationships and management of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome and Denial. In parts 1-3 of Making Time for Recovery, we discussed how each of these must be integrated as part of a successful long term daily recovery plan. Part 4 is dedicated to what may ultimately be the most important part of a recovery program: making time for the spiritual. However, it should be noted that spiritual doesn’t refer to religion or traditional spiritual customs – instead it refers to a personal, individual connection with the intangible and the greater meaning in all things. By finding this greater meaning, many recovering addicts are empowered with the strength to repel any attack on their sobriety – especially internal attacks.
Most recovery programs and drug rehab centers – including residential inpatient treatment centers and outpatient treatment programs – encourage patients to practice spirituality. Unfortunately, this can be disconcerting because many people associate religion with spirituality. However, the two are very different from each other.
Religion generally refers to an established set of traditional customs and practices that require members to worship and participate in an organized manner. Spirituality, on the other hand, is very personal and is usually not organized in any way. In fact, the term spirituality often insinuates a private reflection on the philosophical nature of the world. However, spirituality in a recovery program often refers to the purpose and importance of a “higher power,” and many people associate this with a “God” of traditional organized religions.
But when it comes to recovery from addiction, a higher power means anything that is larger than the addict themselves. This could be a higher power in the form of a helping hand from a loved one, a simple understanding of the ways of the universe, a supportive group of friends or like-minded recovering addicts, or even something as simple as a powerful book.
In a study reported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, spirituality was recognized as playing a key role in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction:
“Addiction is rooted in a physical, mental and spiritual imbalance. There is a necessity for a substance abuse treatment model that gives credence to the mind-body-spirit connection. Although some believe that religion is spirituality, many others believe there is a clear delineation between the two. Words such as connection, meaning and purpose commonly have been used to describe spirituality across the board.” (1)
However, even addicts who are well-educated in this regard might find it difficult to understand exactly how to make spirituality a part of their daily recovery plan. The answer is that each person must find ways to celebrate life that make them feel more connected to themselves and everything around them. Common spiritual practices include meditation, yoga, martial arts, painting, music, connecting with nature, philosophy and other healing activities.
Speaking on the matter retrospectively, many addicts report that when they lost their spirituality, they lost their recovery as well and ultimately relapsed. This only solidifies the idea that spirituality is the binding force that brings together all of the critical components of a daily recovery plan:
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, you can set the wheels of change in motion right now simply by picking up your phone. We have addiction experts standing by to provide confidential guidance; free of charge. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling. It’s time to put your Recovery First.
(1) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Spirituality Has a Role in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs, Maryland Researchers Say 12/2007