Living with addiction is complex. It is depleting — and sometimes feels defeating. Addiction takes us away from ourselves, our connection to people and the world around us. When we have an addiction, our attention becomes focused on scoring, using and feeding the addiction. It becomes the center of our lives. The only things and people to remain relevant in our lives are the ones that are associated with, or can provide for, the addiction. Because our behavior is influenced by the addiction (whether it be drugs, alcohol, love and sex, or anything else), and because we may act in ways to influence getting a fix for our addiction, we are unable to have an honest relationship with ourselves and others.

Spirituality provides what is needed to establish an honest relationship to ourselves and to the world around us. So mixing spirituality and recovery can be extremely helpful.

What is spirituality?

While some people may lean toward religion, mysticism, art or nature as a form of spirituality, it ultimately is a personal search for truth, growth, and oneness. It is a sense of being interconnected, and the belief that life has a purpose. Spirituality brings personal meaning to life and the ability to explore ourselves within this meaning. It allows us to identify our own moral compass–to distinguish what is right and wrong according to our beliefs within this meaning. For some people, the desire to connect, to practice spirituality, may include the use of ceremonies and rituals, rites, prayer and meditation, and more. 

Spirituality and Recovery

How does spirituality assists in addiction recovery?

People turn to outlets, their addictions, as a means of escaping their realities– traumas, emptiness, discontent. It is an illness. Healing recovery can help fill the voids and help overcome the illness. Additionally, incorporating spirituality to recovery can be most effective as it focuses on rebuilding a relationship with the self. 

Spirituality-focused recovery program

A common form of recovery that involves spirituality is a 12-step program that aims for spiritual renewal. These types of programs promote behavioral change and transcendent meaning through positive psychology. 

The 12 steps in these programs:

  • Step 1: We admit we are powerless over addiction—that our lives have become unmanageable.
  • Step 2: Believe that a power greater than ourselves can assist in recovery
  • Step 3: Make a decision to put our lives in the care of the greater power
  • Step 4: Take a honest moral inventory of ourselves
  • Step 5: Admit our wrongs to the greater power, to ourselves, and another human being
  • Step 6: Be ready to have the greater power remove all the wrongs
  • Step 7: Humbly ask the greater power to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8: Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and be willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9: Make amends with these people, whenever possible
  • Step 10: Continue to take personal inventory and admit when we are wrong
  • Step 11: Improve contact with greater power through prayer, meditation, or other practices
  • Step 12: Share the lessons learned through this program with others who struggle with a similar addictions, and practice these principles in everything we do

The program should reflect your beliefs and idea of a “higher power” (if applicable).

Other tools to benefit a spirituality-focused recovery 

A 12-step program can be very powerful. And it can be even more powerful when you incorporate other methods of healing, especially when you can do it yourself, wherever you may be. 

More approaches for recovery:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise 
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Art and music therapy
  • Healthy eating

Benefits of a spirituality-focused program

In a program, we may expect to: recognize our problem, acknowledge our gifts and talents, forgive others, seek forgiveness, contemplate the lessons we learned from experiences with an addiction, and to give back to the community. Through all this awareness and transformation, we may improve our self-worth, release trauma, resolve conflict with healthy strategies, let go of negative emotions, and find overall peace. 

If you need assistance on this and many other therapies provided by Iris Healing Retreat, call (818) 435-3936.