Recovery from addiction is not an easy process. When we’re working on building a new life sober, it can be helpful to have some sort of spiritual practice. We have to learn new ways to behave, how to interact with the world, and how to have fun without drinking. Before we dive into this, I want to just state that I consider myself an agnostic, leaning toward atheism. I mention this not to say that I am right and anyone else is wrong, but to encourage you to seek spiritual practices even if you don’t believe in a higher power!
There are a few reasons we can benefit from finding spirituality in recovery. There are several recovery programs that use spirituality as the core of their programs, but spirituality can be useful even if you’re not involved in twelve-step, celebrate, Refuge Recovery, etc.
One of the biggest benefits spirituality offers us in recovery is a guide for growth. With a spiritual practice, we don’t need to flounder and wonder what to do. We may be offered a point in the right direction as far as where we can grow or work on ourselves. Whether it’s yoga practice, meditation, prayer, or exercise, spirituality offers us a perpetual road map for self-growth.
Another benefit we may find from spirituality is alternative perspective. We may listen to a therapist, stay up to date on the latest scientific findings, or work with a recovery community. A regular spiritual practice can offer us an extra tool for our toolboxes. When we have a problem arise, we can have a different lens through which we can view the problem and potential solutions.
A spiritual practice in recovery can also offer us a different support network. Although a community of recovering addicts is incredibly useful, it can be useful to expand our support network and find new people to work with. When we expand our support network, we have the opportunity to support and be supported by people with different perspectives and experiences.
Finally, a spiritual practice can offer us some stability. Although our recovery and recovery community may be relatively stable, we can add to this with a strong spiritual practice and community. By building a daily routine of spiritual practice, we make growth a regular part of our daily lives and it becomes habit.
There are so many different kinds of spirituality. We may have a judgement or image about what it means to be “spiritual,” but the word really is vague. It actually comes from the Latin root spiritus which means “breath.” Some examples of spiritual practices include yoga, meditation, exercise, making music or art, indigenous traditions, and new age traditions.
See what sparks some interest for you. There’s no single right answer for everyone. Even with one tradition, there are often many variants. For example, there are many different types of Buddhist meditation that fall under the umbrella of the single Buddhist tradition. Get out there and investigate different options to see what works for you. Be open-minded and willing to try new things.
We could argue all day about the differences between spirituality and religion, but that’s not super useful for this conversation. Let’s start by pointing out that you can be a religious person who is also spiritual. They are not mutually exclusive. I know quite a few people who are religious and also find spiritual practices in and out of their religious tradition.
The main difference I see is that spirituality doesn’t require a governing body, strong organization, or a set of rules. You can find your own spirituality or even make it up! This doesn’t make spirituality better than religion. In fact, you can find a beneficial spiritual practice that comes from religion!
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