Spirituality in Addiction Treatment

When someone struggling with an addiction is ready to seek help and make the changes needed to pursue a sober living, it takes strength beyond ourselves to do so. The stronghold addiction has on the brain and body would be impossible to escape if it weren’t for believing in something bigger than yourself. Especially in the throes of active addiction, connecting to something beyond yourself gives hope for recovery and the life you can create for yourself. While the word “spirituality” may throw some off, looking at it from a different lens—separate from religion—provides insight into its role in recovery. 

Spirituality does not need to be defined through the eyes of religion

Spirituality is recognizing a power greater than ourselves. This power—which is grounded in love and compassion—is a power that gives us perspective, meaning, and a purpose to our lives. It includes a desire to connect with more than ourselves, an urge to recognize your commonality with everything around you. Spirituality has been defined as “that which gives meaning and purpose in life as well as a sense of personal identity and transcendence that motivate individuals beyond the practicalities of daily living.” Spirituality is about recognizing that people have the power to change what in their lives brings them pain.

Integrating Spirituality in Addiction Treatment

In this aspect, spirituality is deeply integrated into addiction treatment and recovery. Each person gets to decide what that means to them specifically. The key is taking the time—mentally, emotionally, and physically—to recognize and validate experiences outside of yourself. Experiencing these moments with increased empathy and sympathy will improve the ability to forgive, not just others but ourselves. Using a spiritual practice integrated with a recovery program has been shown in study after study to increase positive results in every stage of recovery, despite no direct data on how or why.

Individuals in recovery treatment programs frequently cite spirituality as a beneficial influence. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and related mutual-help programs visualize recovery through the “12 Steps” that are unambiguously spiritually focused. By emphasizing reliance on a Higher Power and the practice of prayer and meditation to promote spiritual awakening, spirituality has long been regarded as having central importance in the treatment of and recovery from addiction.

However, much is to be learned about whether or how addiction treatment programs could incorporate spirituality into formal treatment in a manner that is sensitive to individual differences. Some addiction therapists accept that spirituality is not religion, and the two should be regarded as separate entities and can be treated and used differently. With addiction programs now offering more personalized interactions, curating a treatment plan that fits your personal beliefs is possible.

Even retrospective studies have shown that those in long-term recovery frequently cited spirituality as an essential component of their recovery efforts and helpful in maintaining changes made during treatment. While the exact reasons vary from person to person and experience to experience, spirituality is consistently noted as a critical force in overcoming the darkest hours of addiction. Almost as if spirituality in addiction treatment is the curve needed to curb that final hold addiction can have. Because of this, elements of spirituality have increasingly been finding their way into addiction treatment programs.

Using Spirituality to Motivate Your Recovery

In this aspect, using your personal beliefs and connections with spirituality in each phase of recovery will ease the healing. By taking some of the weight off your own shoulders and learning to accept things you cannot control, the inverse proves true—your recovery progress becomes something you can control. Similarly, your response to real-life triggers is something you can control. Given these results, it is instrumental to capitalize on these spiritually-based means of behavioral change to encourage abstinence and prevent relapse.

While not all programs use spirituality like AA’s 12-Steps, similar elements can be found in nearly all programs. This is because of how the mind works. Varying personal emotional experiences play into the depth of spirituality integrated into your addiction treatment plan. Spirituality and the recognition of things greater than self offers an alternative coping tool in addiction recovery. Findings suggest there is an actual biological mechanism by which spirituality may alleviate stress and decrease addiction risk. Knowing this, spirituality only assists successful addiction treatment and can provide increased quality of life overall.

Spiritual Healing in The Haven’s Addiction Treatment Programs

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the professional team at The Haven can get you the help you need. This clinically sophisticated refuge is ready for those seeking to break the cycle of addiction. Contact us today and find out which of our programs are right for you.

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