Many substance abuse recovery programs encourage clients to consider the benefits of belief in and interaction with a higher power. Having a higher power in recovery is valuable as it helps you feel supported and cared for; it encourages the practice of self-acceptance, and it aligns and strengthens one’s moral compass, or sense of right and wrong.
Finding a higher power
For some people, believing in a higher power is easy. They may have grown up in a religious household, or have been led to practices of spirituality through close friendships or innocent curiosity.
On the other hand, some individuals might have never been introduced to the concept of a higher power. They might never have been given the tools needed to tap into spirituality; perhaps they never understood it enough to want to invest in religion.
No matter where you fall on this scale, it’s helpful in one’s addiction recovery to do more than just define religion or define spirituality. It’s important to learn why these two are crucial components to treatment programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and why finding a higher power can directly (and positively) impact your recovery experience.
What is spirituality?
Spirituality, while not a relative concept, is one that has many perspectives. Spirituality typically is the morals and values by which one strives to live their life. Spirituality does include a connectedness to something greater than oneself that often guides your choices and gives meaning to your decisions.
Spirituality helps you tackle some of the more difficult questions of life, like ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What is the reason for this suffering?’ ‘Can good come from this experience?’ It helps ground you when things seem hopeless, gives you strength and motivation when you’re confused or lost and may help you find consolation and peace during times of turmoil.
Spirituality is beneficial to addiction recovery programs in that it gives you a sense of how you should live your life and why. Hopefully, through spirituality, you can determine the values that mean the most to you and align your motivations and actions accordingly.
What is religion?
Religion takes the concept of aligning oneself according to a system of values and beliefs, but adheres this way of living to an institution. In other words, religion is the practice of spirituality in community with others also living in accordance with the same set of beliefs.
There are a number of religions including Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc., that people find strength and support in. Each of these religions have their own set of beliefs and traditions that fall in line with the values they hold most dear. They practice their spiritual beliefs through methods like prayer and meditation, worship of God or gods and attendance of religious services.
For many of these religions, connection to this higher power gives meaning and direction to their lives. Similar to spirituality, it allows you to align yourself with truths and values that can help answer questions like dealing with suffering, the meaning of life and the importance of living kindly and virtuously.
Faith in recovery
Faith, be it spirituality or a specific religion, is absolutely vital to the success of one’s addiction recovery.
One study goes so far as to say that because “84% of scientific studies show that faith is a positive factor in addiction prevention or recovery and a risk in less than 2% of the studies reviewed, we conclude that the value of faith-oriented approaches to substance abuse prevention and recovery is indisputable. And, by extension, we also conclude that the decline in religious affiliation in the USA is not only a concern for religious organizations but constitutes a national health concern.“
Typically attributed to Alexander Hamilton, the quote, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” holds much truth in this discussion. This is why recovery treatment programs focus on incorporating spirituality. Morals, values and beliefs give people a reason for living, something to believe in and fight for; if there’s nothing you’re aligning yourself to, it’s much easier to say yes to things you never thought you would.
If you’re making choices in accordance with values you hold dear, saying no can come more naturally than you ever imagined.
Begin again today
If you desire to implement faith through spirituality or religion as a means of enhancing your recovery journey, reach out to Rehab After Work today. Through the participation in 12-step programs, and the like, you can rediscover, or discover anew, the clarity and peace found only through faith in a higher power.
To begin your journey today, call us at 610-644-6464.