A Wide Road: Spirituality In Recovery

Many addiction recovery programs are based around different types of spirituality. This is because many people who suffer with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) feel spiritually bankrupt. Unfortunately, these same spiritual aspects can turn people away from recovery. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a god, or they feel anger toward religion. That’s understandable. Fortunately, there’s many ways to feed the spiritual side. If you want recovery, and want to enhance your life through spiritualty, here’s some suggestions to help you.

Learning To Hear Yourself

Using substances alters the way we think. This is due to the way chemicals change our bodies. In SUD, chemicals hijack our brain. They do this by taking over our minds. Instead of listening to our own thoughts or experiencing our own emotions, we hear the addiction. In order to help combat this, we need to learn to hear ourselves.

By learning to hear our thoughts and experience our feelings, we get in touch with our core self. This is the self that exists beneath the programming of society. It is the person we were before the damage of abuse battered our young minds. It is the person who we want to be in our most private thoughts. When we’re in touch with this person, we’re whole. We’re able to experience our feelings fully and can respond to our needs.

The simplest way to go about hearing our inner selves is through meditation. Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated. We don’t need to sit like a monk in a garden – though that’s not a bad way to go. What we can do is merely take a walk and be alone with ourselves. We can write in a journal to see our thoughts and feelings put down on paper. Whatever we can do to get in touch with the person who was silently screaming in our minds through our addiction is spirituality.

Love and Compassion

Many different types of spirituality center around love and compassion. In SUD, we often don’t feel much of either of these. This lack of love is part of what causes spiritual bankruptcy. It is also what makes us feel isolated. That sense of aloneness then leads us to use more, just to feel better. Thus, the cycle of addiction continues. This causes us to feel spiritually bankrupt. 

Since love and compassion are emotions, it can be argued they aren’t spiritual in nature. However, many spiritual practices center around love and compassion. Some religions define God as being love, or being all loving. Others claim that meditating on love and compassion are part of the path to enlightenment. This makes these feelings inherently tied to spirituality.

Whether you view love and compassion as being strictly biological emotions or spiritual practices, the benefits are documented. Research into brainwaves has shown that when a person spends time contemplating love and compassion, their brain reaches a healthier state. The various types of brainwaves begin to harmonize. This creates a sense of calm and peace for the person. Whether you call it “spiritual” or not, anyone battling addiction is helped by more calm peacefulness.

Social Spirituality

Many people in recovery will talk about the spirit of the group. What they mean by this is the spirit that moves between people who are communicating honestly and kindly with one another. When two people are trying to help one another, their communication becomes spiritual. The energy between them can be considered a collective or social spirit. This energy helps resist becoming spiritually bankrupt. 

It is helpful to note that this is not merely a mystical idea. Research has shown that brainwaves change when we communicate with one another. Studies show that our brains synchronize during a conversation. This alters our thoughts. Through altering the movement of energy in our brain by socializing, we can change how we think. Since our brain is synchronizing with the people around us, being around people who are trying to help us in our recovery – and who are recovering from addiction themselves – puts our brain on the same wavelength as theirs. This creates a sense of belonging. It also puts us in the literal frame of mind of people who are happier in their recovery.

Spirituality of the Mind

Human beings are outfitted with intelligence. Whether you believe this intelligence is granted by a creator, or the result of natural order – or both – the fact of intelligence remains. This intelligence allows us to question the universe. It also allows us to learn. Through intelligence, we are able to engage with the mysteries of the cosmos.  When we see how complex the universe is, it creates a sense of awe. This awe bears its own kind of spirituality.

Research has shown that awe is good for our health. This awe can come from anywhere. Marveling at the precise movements of planets is one example. Seeing the intricate organization of cells is another. Merely finding out our own capacity as human beings can create wonder. Thus, by engaging our intellect, we’re courting awe. Because, the more we seek to learn, the more we’re able to see, and the more capacity we have to be struck by the miracles that science reveals.

There’s also the spirituality that comes from perspective. Many spiritual pursuits describe insights as being “spiritual experiences” or “spiritual awakenings.” These are nothing more than changes in perspective. When we gain insight, our minds learn more. This learning deepens our understanding. Through this greater understanding, we open ourselves to ever more insights. This awakens us to still more. This is spirituality of the mind.

Even art and music can be spiritual. They allow us to express ourselves in new ways. They also stimulate different regions of the brain. We can learn a skill and accomplish more attunement to our creative side. Doing this creates harmony, sometimes literally.

Getting Back to Nature

Beyond scientific inquiry, the natural world holds great beauty for us. Mounting evidence shows that interacting with nature is beneficial for our health. Sometimes this is purely on a intellectual level. But, more often, there’s a spiritual sense that arises from simply being in nature. We’re natural beings intended to be part of the web of life. When we interact with the natural world, we feel that connection. The air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume all change how we are. When we see this connection, we recognize that we are not truly alone. We’re a small piece of a greater whole. This feeling of connection is known in spiritual circles as “non-duality.” This happens when we stop seeing ourselves as a lone creature, but rather someone attached to everything around us. This is another of the different types of spirituality available to us.

Improve Your Spirituality

If you’re feeling spiritually bankrupt or looking to explore different types of spirituality, we can help. We have health and wellness programs that assist with every part of a person’s life. We do a full analysis of each person to find their needs. Then we assist them in building a recovery plan. Our plans include art and music therapy. We can help you learn meditation that works for you. Our goal is to use evidence to find the best way for anyone to recover. Call today and let us guide you to the spiritual life you deserve.

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