For many people, spirituality can be complicated to understand. Spirituality in rehabs will provide you with support, purpose and inspiration. Talking about spirituality in rehabs in relation to addiction treatment can be complex. To begin with, spirituality means different things to different people. For those who don’t consider themselves religious, it is inevitable that understanding spirituality may not be a priority.
Dr Brooks – a Chief People Officer at Vertava Health argues that spirituality is “more than just an ideology or a religious paradox”. He further describes it as “an understanding and a connection to something that is bigger than us”. Spirituality can be complex and fluid. If you are devoted to a certain faith or not, spirituality in rehabs can play a huge role in the addiction recovery process.
IS SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION THE SAME THING?
Spirituality and religion are closely linked, and many people think that it means the same thing. However, spirituality in rehabs does not necessarily have to be defined in terms of religion.
On one hand, religion is a set of specific beliefs, rituals or practices regarding a belief in God or multiple gods. On the other hand, spirituality in rehabs is a personal search for meaning in life and a connection with something greater than ourselves. Although many people express their spirituality through religion, this form of expression doesn’t work for everyone. Many others practice their spirituality through meditation, yoga, tai chi, spending time in nature or other holistic methods. During rehabilitation, you will learn to express spirituality by grounding it in love and compassion while guiding you closer to your purpose in life.
Religion and spirituality are strong components of some rehab programs and not in others. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a spiritual program and is based on a Christian organisation called the Oxford Group. The book that Alcoholics Anonymous uses, called The Big Book, mentions God 134 times. This rehab program uses mostly Christian prayers, proverbs, and bible verses in its material. Rehab programs such as SMART Recovery don’t include any explicitly religious or spiritual elements in their methods.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUALITY IN ADDICTION RECOVERY
In seeking treatment for your addiction, you’ll find that addiction takes everything away from you, including your spirituality. Dr Brooks emphasises that “addiction doesn’t care what your purpose is or what connections you have beyond yourself. It only cares about tearing you down”. Dr. Brooks takes the time to explain the heart-breaking reality of addiction. However, he is quick to add that you can gain all of this back once you complete your rehabilitation journey.
Rediscovering your spirituality in rehabs can be the spark to finding your sense of self again after addiction. “During active addiction, your purpose in life was to feed your disease, but spirituality can restore your self-worth and give you a new sense of purpose.” In your journey to recovery, you will learn how to reconnect with yourself on a spiritual level.
Rehab clinics can also provide the mental and emotional support that is so essential to a successful journey to addiction recovery. “Knowing that we have a place in the world is inspiring, but also humbling”, says Dr. Brooks. “It helps us to know that just because something is a problem today, there is always hope for the future.” It is this hope for the future that you will begin to discover in your journey to recovery.
FINDING SPIRITUALITY IN ADDICTION RECOVERY
In the beginning stages of your recovery journey, Dr. Brooks sees that clients often struggle with their spirituality. “It can be hard to understand what spirituality really is sometimes, especially when we’ve lost it or have never had it before.” Even if you have never been spiritual before, never give up on this element. It is crucial to a successful journey to rehabilitation.
During your journey in rehab, finding and growing your spirituality often takes time, patience and practice. Throughout our rehab programme, you may learn many things about your own self and spirituality. Setting time aside for personal reflection every day can help begin that spiritual journey to recovery.
Dr Brooks says that “Anytime we can slow our thoughts to be more present in the moment and be intentionally connected with what’s going on around us, it opens up our eyes to a whole new view”. Take time for yourself each day, and try reading works from different spiritual thought leaders. It is important to know that spirituality is not one size fits all.
SPIRITUALITY THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
During your addiction treatment at rehab, you have to find what resonates with you at a core level. Dr. Brooks says that it is important to be open to new and different ways of connecting to your spirituality. What may have worked for you before your addiction may not work for you while in recovery. Don’t be afraid to explore other methods whilst in rehab.
“The reality is, our lives are going so fast all of the time”, he starts. “It’s so important to peel away from that in order to get quiet and be present in the moment. The clarity that comes from these times is where spirituality is born.”
RELIGIOUS VS. SPIRITUAL
Let’s take a look at how spirituality in rehabs is crucial to your recovery journey.
GIVING YOU A SENSE OF PURPOSE
All humans search for meaning in life. Your reason for it may be different, but the common theme is a need for purpose. Studies from rehab clinics show that when you have a greater focus on your purpose in life, it has a positive influence on your addiction treatment.
Some people see believing in a higher power as giving them something to belong to that is stronger than themselves. For others, purpose is found in a greater good or calling that drives daily actions. Either way, seeing a bigger picture can be an incredible contribution to successful recovery in rehab clinics.
MAKING A CONTRIBUTION
Research has shown us that giving to others actually makes us feel better. Helping others who have also gone through addiction rehab can help many people to beat their own addiction. Helping others helps you to feel good about yourself, whether it’s by giving money, shelter, or simply support.
When you complete your treatment in rehab and journey to recovery, think about giving back to your community. Perhaps through sponsorship in AA, mentorship in your professional life, or volunteering in a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Whatever you do, make sure that giving back is part of the equation and you’ll experience a more rewarding existence.
BRINGING MINDFULNESS TO YOUR RECOVERY
Mindfulness and meditation have long been shown to improve addiction treatment outcomes. Meditation releases muscle tension, decreases activity in your nervous system, and reduces heart rate and blood pressure. Living in the present moment and focusing on the now helps to centre and focus thoughts while reducing stress and anxiety.
Prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are coping skills that can help replace negative behaviours. They also help you to accept things as they are, in the moment. Take the time to be still and quiet in a busy world. You will find that the path to recovery becomes easier.
CONNECTING TO SOMETHING GREATER THAN YOURSELF
“You are not alone” is a spiritual realisation that helps many people in dealing with their addiction. Many people isolate when they engage in their addictive behaviour, and that isolation can drive them further into their addiction. For those that do not believe in a God, per se, finding something greater is still attainable. As long as you are open-minded, meditate or pray, help people, and keep searching for something bigger than yourself to believe in, you can achieve spirituality and a greater purpose in life.
It isn’t difficult to connect to the fact that there is much that is bigger than any one individual. Some people may find that nearly anything you see can be considered as being “bigger than me”. Our children, or humanity’s plight in many areas around the world, or our relative insignificance in the universe. All are examples of a greater presence than us. Acknowledging it can offer a powerful release for some.
Many addiction recovery and 12-step programs believe that recovery begins when you admit that you need help from something greater than yourself, such as a religious figure. Alcoholics Anonymous is famous for the phrase, “Let go and let God”. However, many people out there do not identify with a religion or “God”. This is one of the biggest problems with the 12-step recovery process.
ESTABLISHING YOURSELF AS PART OF A COMMUNITY
Addiction is isolating and lonely. It has probably resulted in your isolation due to bad behaviour, dishonesty and shame. During your rehabilitation, work your way back to being part of a community of people. Interacting with the people around you is an important step in getting your life back on track.
Starting to connect with a community and building relationships is the beginning of your journey to addiction recovery. If you can give back by helping others, you can be even more involved in the community. If your spirituality brings you to a place where you commune together, it can be even more powerful.
Be grateful for the things that you have. Focusing on them brings positivity into your life and is an important part in your rehab journey. Beyond feeling positive emotions, practicing gratitude is associated with physical muscle relaxation as well. The act of being grateful can have a positive impact on your well-being.
Grateful people find themselves less depressed and stressed and have a greater sense of belonging in the world. Gratitude is an important part of the discussion in a number of self-support groups including SMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous. Start by practicing gratitude for a short part of each day. Think about the gifts and positive things in your life. This will help you refocus attention away from negative emotions and addictive behaviours.
Being accountable is an important part of your rehab journey. You can be accountable either to your higher authority or to your own sense of morality. This helps you to stay the course and be a more purposeful and productive member of society. Remaining honest with your loved ones and yourself also helps to keep yourself accountable. Being mindful and reflective on an ongoing basis can significantly help to develop that self-awareness and honesty.
SPIRITUALITY CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT
Spiritual growth involves a connection to people, the world, and a higher purpose than oneself. Spirituality embodies values like trust, faith, respect, self-expression, and self-acceptance. These are exactly what is needed in the lives of many addicted individuals who are struggling with self-loathing and isolation. But addiction is a complicated problem. Spirituality is only a small element in our treatment programme. During your addiction treatment and journey to recovery, we treat you holistically! Learn more about our programme today.
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