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What is the Role of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery?

Though widely seen as a clinical solution to addiction, recovery often has a strong spiritual element. But what is the role of spirituality in recovery?

Spirituality is often downplayed in the medical community because its definition is vague and its impact is difficult to precisely measure or scientifically prove. Some studies, however, have linked spirituality to the healing process, both positively and negatively.

Addiction recovery is a different story. Many would argue that spiritual recovery is just as important as physical recovery. Spirituality in addiction recovery helps you gain a better understanding of where you were, how and why you got to where you are now, and what changes are necessary to get to where you want to be.

Beyond the Physical Impact of Addiction

Addiction is a very complex disease that is so much more than physical. Being able to process trauma and stress, uncovering and expressing emotions, and changing behaviors are all part of the recovery process. All have spiritual components that involve connecting with something bigger than yourself and finding deeper meaning in life.

In addition to going through withdrawal symptoms and overcoming physical urges and triggers to use drugs or alcohol, the spirituality of recovery can bring you closer to who you are, which can support your physical recovery. You might ask yourself:

  • Am I a good person? Will I be okay?
  • Why am I suffering? How have I caused the pain of others?
  • How can I change? Why should I change? How will these changes affect me and those around me?

Spirituality in 12-Step Programs

The importance of spirituality in addiction recovery is reflected in 12-step programs. In fact, the original 12-step program from Alcoholics Anonymous is rooted in Christianity. The steps speak of believing a power greater than ourselves could restore us, turning our will and our lives over to the care of God, asking God to remove our shortcomings, and several other divine references.

Of course, spirituality and religion are not interchangeable terms. Spending time in nature can be a spiritual experience. Meditation and yoga have a spiritual component. Showing compassion for others can be very spiritual. None of these activities require an individual to be a religious person or even believe in God or another supreme being.

Many modern 12-step programs have removed religion from the language of their steps, but spirituality in recovery remains front and center. Concepts in 12-step programs that could be considered spiritual in nature include:

  • Recognition of a problem
  • The need to seek outside help from a higher power
  • Self-observation
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-restraint
  • Self-acceptance
  • Admitting and making amends for wrongdoing
  • Compassion and helping others in need
  • Seeking enlightenment and connection with a higher power

While there are many variations to 12-step programs, getting in touch with your spirituality and learning how to express yourself spiritually can aid in your recovery and help you find your true purpose in life. 

When you become more closely connected to something bigger than yourself, you gain perspective and awareness that can help you stay sober over the long haul. You’re more likely to emerge from isolation to become not just part of a community, but a more productive contributor and reuniting with your family after addiction. You learn to embrace gratitude and become more accountable for your actions and behaviors. 

The spiritual component is a major reason why 12-step programs have been so effective for so long.

Sea Change Offers Addiction Treatment in Santa Monica

Sea Change Recovery combines traditional, modern, holistic, and experiential therapies that allow people dealing with addiction to experience physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual healing. 

At Sea Change, rehab and treatment programs are solutions-based and customized for you. We spend less time being dragged down by the negativity of addiction and more time on how you can lead a happier, more fulfilling life. 

The journey to recovery is a spiritual one. Let us help you find a safe, mindful path to lasting recovery and sobriety. If you or someone you know is in need of addiction treatment in Santa Monica, contact Sea Change Recovery today.

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