What is Spirituality?
Everyone has a spirit, which is the energy in them that makes them unique. While spirituality has many different definitions and concepts, true spirituality boils down to one common denominator: having an awakening of one’s self, which is their spirit. Other definitions include “having a strong sense of self” or “having high self-esteem.” Spirituality has to do with answering several fundamental questions about a person’s individuality. Some of those questions are:
- Who am I?
- What is my purpose in life?
- What is the meaning of my suffering and struggles?
- Am I a good person?
- What can I do to be a good person?
- How am I interconnected with the universe?
- What does my internal moral compass tell me?
Spiritual people often have a strong love for themselves, are kind to and accepting of all walks of life, and can reflect back on life and see the silver lining in their struggles.
Some individuals may be uncomfortable with the idea of spirituality because of their own experiences with religion. While spirituality and religion share some similarities, they are two completely different concepts. Religion often requires belief in a supernatural being or entity, following rules and regulations, practicing rituals, and finding absolute truths. As opposed to religion, spirituality is all about one’s own journey in this life. The reason both terms may be used interchangeably is religion is often a part of a lot of people’s journey to answering those fundamental spiritual questions. For example, one might come to believe that their reasons for suffering were because their god wanted them to be of service to people as a pastor.
Spirituality does not require belief in a god or supernatural being or entity or the following of rules and rituals. In spirituality, you are free to choose what beliefs, practices, and thought processes genuinely work for you. While those who find a religion that works for them may attend religious services and practice rituals such as getting baptized, spiritual practices can be as simple as practicing gratitude, spending time in nature, admiring a piece of art, meditating, etc.
How Can Spiritual Therapy Help in Addiction Recovery?
Most addiction experts agree that addiction is a multifaceted disease that is physical, psychological, and spiritual. The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) incorporated the spiritual component into the program right from the beginning because they found that finding themselves through collaborating with those who can relate to their struggles and believing in a Higher Power helped keep them sober. Since they and the majority of the country were members of a Christian denomination, they used the term “God” for their Higher Power and used male pronouns to describe their Higher Power. Almost a century later, the program has evolved to serve all types of people who have all different belief systems. In the modern program, the term “God” is a metaphor and stands for “Good Orderly Direction.” The program says to “Take what you like and leave the rest” and that everything in the program is merely suggested.
Spiritual therapy is helpful in addiction recovery because it will teach you to develop a stronger sense of self and to love yourself for who you are. Once you know who you are and are comfortable with who you are, you will come to love yourself. Addiction is all about turning to the externals for peace when you can only find peace and comfort within yourself. When you lack a sense of self, you have a void. If you do not fill that void by looking within, you will look outside of yourself to fill that void, and usually, the outside comforts that you end up turning to fill that void are not positive.
For many people, having a supernatural Higher Power is an integral part of their recovery. Psychology says that those who believe in a supernatural Higher Power do better socioemotionally because they have a place where they can turn over their problems and it helps them stress less about struggles and injustices. But, you do not have to have a supernatural Higher Power. Spiritual therapy can help you find a Higher Power that works for you.
A good spirituality therapist will be objective and nonjudgmental. The Universe is another common Higher Power. Many people report that the Universe works for them because it is scientific and all they have to do is look up at the stars to know that something is greater than them. Nature can be a Higher Power because nature reveals many universal truths that are applicable to all life. For example, you can see in the opposite of day and night that there have to be opposites to create balance and harmony in life. The recovery programs themselves can even be a Higher Power because it is helping you get out of your own way and into the way of something better.
Your Own Path
Being spiritual is all about your personal journey in this world. While addiction may have been part of your journey, it has now led you to a path of rediscovery. Through spiritual therapy, you can fill that void that was once filled by your addiction. You can develop better coping mechanisms by turning to a Higher Power of your understanding. While addressing the physical and psychological part of your addiction is important, nurturing your soul will increase your chances of living a fulfilling life in recovery. If you would like to learn more about spirituality in addiction treatment, or about our other treatment services, contact us today.
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