The definition of spirituality differs depending on who you talk to. Regardless of beliefs, everyone turns to spirituality for the same reason; to find purpose and meaning in their lives. In addiction recovery, practicing spirituality can be compelling as it helps many maintain their sobriety.
Popular addiction treatments such as 12-step programs acknowledge the importance of enhancing spiritual growth. Finding spirituality is not just a religious practice; it is also secular. People often turn to spirituality during 12-step programs when discussing the ‘higher power' if they do not believe in a God. Whatever your beliefs, spirituality can be compatible with your addiction recovery.
Spirituality to Boost Mental Health in Addiction Recovery
Recovery is a fresh start in which we rebuild our lives without substances. It is a time where we reevaluate what is important to us and reflect on our purpose and meaning. But this can be a lot to take on board. Spirituality offers grounding during this emotional upheaval. It is a source of comfort for many people and can provide an essential outlet to clear the mind and find clarity in a confusing time.
Addiction takes both a physical and emotional toll on a person. Support and treatment for sufferers of substance use disorder (SUD) are available in many different forms, including medical and therapeutic. Taking time to practice spirituality can be therapeutic as it can offer a higher sense of hope and peace and ease mental health issues such as anxiety alongside medication.
Substance and mental health disorders are often comorbid. Studies have shown that people who experienced trauma in their formative childhood years are at greater risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.
As it is vital to have good mental health throughout the recovery process, spirituality can play a positive role in combating mental health disorders and, in turn, relapse.
The Power of Meditation
Meditation can be a good way to tap into your spirituality instead of and in addition to religious prayer. It is a practice that has been used for thousands of years. More recently, an increasing body of research shows various health benefits associated with it.
For example, many people use a breathing-focused meditation called the relaxation response. This technique helps reduce physical symptoms of stress, including reducing blood pressure, resting heart rate, and oxygen consumption.
Another popular meditation practice is mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about being present and focusing on your feelings, thoughts, senses, actions, and surroundings in real-time.
A recently popular therapeutic relapse prevention treatment program is mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (MBCT). Studies have shown that “MBCT reduces the risk of relapse to depression when added to usual care, and demonstrates comparable efficacy to maintenance antidepressant medication.”
You can also practice mindful meditation alone and apply mindfulness in your everyday life. Examples include:
- Breathing exercises
- Walking in nature
- Taking your time when doing things
- Accepting your present thoughts without judgment or analysis
Other mindful activities include positive affirmations and journaling. It is a good idea to make practicing mindfulness a part of your daily recovery routine.
There Is No Right Way To Be Spiritual
Don’t get too bogged down wondering if you are practicing spirituality right or not. There are thousands of books, blogs, and courses on spirituality, all with different opinions and advice. What is important is staying instinctive and in tune with your mind and body. However you practice spirituality, make sure you are gaining something from it.
Addiction recovery is a journey that requires an open mind. If there’s a chance that spirituality can help you stay on the path to recovery, it’s worth finding.