Welcome to the 8th segment of a nine-part series on the big areas of life that addiction/alcoholism and recovery can and need to have (for the recovery part) on our life in general. Please go into whatever archives exist on the site you are reading this to find the article from May of 2014 so you can get caught up on the main four areas. For the sake of bringing some people up to speed and for a quick reminder for those who are following from October(we took a few months breaks to focus on holidays and the new year in recovery) articles, the main or fabulous four areas of life are Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. Again, see the archives for a detailed breakdown of these areas.
This month, we are going to take a closer look at some of the ways that recovery affects the spiritual part of our life. Of course, there is so much information on this that it would literally take us at least a few years of daily articles to cover it all. Since you have no desire to spend that much time reading and ditto for me typing, we will cover some basics. As with all articles, I encourage you to do as much further research as you can/want on the subject.
How does recovery affect the spiritual part of our lives? Since we hit on the way we are going to define spirituality here, last time, we will quickly move on to focusing on our final solution. When a person has been in self-defeat or self-caused pain, such as addiction, they are totally cut off from the solution and disconnected from themselves. Once somebody gets and stays clean for any period of time, they are able to reconnect and find peace and harmony within themselves. This feeling and connection are what recovery is all about. Most programs use or align themselves with the 12 step philosophy and approach. This approach directly links recovery and happiness to one’s spiritual connection.
The 12 step program and any treatment center that uses that approach, is quick to point out that a spiritual experience is defined by the individual and is not limited to particularly religious folks. The approach of one finding and choosing their own individual definition of a higher power is the cornerstone of 12 steps recovery While never striving to define anyone’s spirituality, 12 step recovery is based on everyone’s type of belief or spirituality. We often describe spirituality as the mind, body, spirit connection, or a relationship with yourself, with others, and with whatever source of strength outside of yourself that you choose to believe in.
When an individual decides to accept or comes to believe in a higher power, the doors of many possibilities open at once for them. Many people (not everybody and this is certainly not necessary) turn either back to a religious upbringing or find a new one to be a part of. Others add things like yoga, hiking, or walks to their daily spiritual practice. All forms of recovery and many other walks of life promote meditation as a great way to center one’s mind and spirit. There are many books, CDs, and teachers who are happy to help people meditate.
At the River Source, for instance, meditation groups occur almost every day. It has become a widespread belief that mediation is one of the best and healthiest ways to practice any newfound spirituality. One of the things that recovery stresses, is that there is no one way to meditate. For some it means sitting in peace and quiet, focusing on breathing and visualization. For others, it can be a bike ride or watching a baseball game, with no interruptions. The action doesn’t matter as much as the fact that one is in peace with the logical part of their brain at rest, while the open part of their brain is connecting with whatever power they believe in. Treatment is key in this area because often people who enter treatment have no recent history with spiritual matters. It is part of the job of the treatment team to help guide people on their journey of reconnecting and getting back on track!