Spirituality and addiction
Addiction is often described as a “spiritual, physical, and emotional” disease.
What is spirituality
Historically the terms spirituality and religion have been confused to mean the same thing. Generally speaking, when the term “spirituality” is used, it refers to a feeling or belief in the oneness between an individual and the universe, being in touch with one’s soul or inner self, and even simply a sense of personal well-being. None of these meanings has a specific reference to a deity or to religion.
Spiritual consequences in active addiction
Addiction and spirituality go hand-in-hand as we notice the contrast of how spirituality plays a role in both addiction and recovery. In active addiction, there is typically an absence of connection to spirit – this will differ from individual to individual.
Addiction is a disease of isolation which feeds on shame and guilt. Addiction robs us of our spirituality because it makes us believe we are not connected, we are alone and we, in turn, are too numb to hear or understand any sense of intuition, spirit or higher power. It makes us believe we have little or nothing for which to be grateful and it blinds us from being mindful or present to reality.
Spirituality in recovery
In recovery, a spiritual practice is absolutely essential and often becomes the backbone of staying clean and sober for many. Most would argue that to be truly successful in breaking the chains of addiction, we all need a spiritual path in recovery and a community of support to go along with it. The reason for this is that the addict in us wants us to remain alone in the dark, but a spiritual path and community, shine the light for us. Once a light illuminates, the darkness cannot survive. Understanding the role spirituality can play in recovery is usually the cornerstone for many in treatment.
Feeling connected to ourselves, others, and a source greater than us, can cause feelings of well-being, purpose and contentment. These feelings begin to replace our ego, fear and anxiety as the sense of connectedness creates a pathway for healing.
The 12 steps and spirituality
12 Step programs guide individuals to really contemplate their sense of spirituality and, over time, to build on it. The 12-Steps themselves help people understand just how much control we have over our lives as human beings – and, with that, how we can rely on God as you understand Him, or any another Higher Power, to help navigate the journey towards recovery which is typically filled with ups and downs.
12-Step programs don’t need to merely talk about spirituality in order for a person to generate a stronger sense of what that means to them. The Steps themselves require that those in recovery acknowledge the pain they’ve caused others, and to ask for forgiveness. This act of taking ownership builds a sense of spirituality in bringing a person’s focus back down to the level of “humanness”, which we so often forget.
By participating actively in 12-Step meetings, a person is making a contribution – an effort towards bettering their community and connecting with others. This spiritual sense of belonging is crucial for a person to soar in recovery, and 12-Step programs clearly facilitate this.
Stories of Recovery
- The encouragement, love and support from the team at Crossroads allowed me to eventually see that I was worth something - that my life could be turned around and that I could accomplish the things that had long been a forgotten dream.Oliver VGRead more
- On the last day of my stint at Crossroads I could only express gratitude towards all who works there. A wise councillor once commented on my question when one is ready for rehab by explaining that when one is ready for rehab, rehab is ready for you.Johan BRead more
- I was lost and my soul was broken until I ended up at Crossroads and was introduced to the Twelve Steps. With the help of their excellent staff and amazing support I have recently been clean for 18 months, I could not have done it without them!Carla SRead more
- "Just for today I am more than three years in recovery. I have Cross Roads to thank for this wonderful gift. Cross Roads helped me to set a firm foundation in my recovery on which I can continue to build."Angelique JRead more