How Does Spirituality in Recovery Affect Me?

January 21, 2023

Written By: Lynn C. Santella MSN, RN, CNOR

Overcoming cravings, urges, and mental health needs that may populate each stage of the addiction recovery process is difficult to process. Navigating feelings of anxiety and depression, rebuilding relationships, and challenging internalized self-destructive beliefs while addressing the continued effects of substance use is incredibly complicated. However, embracing spirituality in recovery can be instrumental in providing a sense of belonging and direction to this otherwise tumultuous time. 

Recovery is never a straight line, and there will be times of triumph as much as there are newfound challenges and doubt along the way. Embracing spiritual practices can not only help those in recovery address their personal hurdles but also create a sense of structure and develop new beliefs that best align with evolving sober goals. 

What Does Spirituality Mean?

The term “spirituality” can mean many different things to different people, with any one definition of the term left intentionally enigmatic. There is no one, single way to embrace spirituality in daily life. Much of what makes spiritual practices in recovery so effective is the personal exploration that each individual will need to conduct to define it for themselves.

However, in general terms, spirituality is any mental or emotional feeling of connection to a particular belief. For many, this connection is both internal and external, feeling connected to certain beliefs, symbols, or behaviors that can further their understanding of their own existence or harbored beliefs. Relinquishing stresses tied to material objects or transforming objects to have profound spiritual value is incredibly important and can inform a new, personal mantra or sense of understanding that can further guide an individual on their healing, sober journey.

Separating Spirituality From Religion

Religious practices are inherently spiritual experiences. However, that does not mean that all spiritual practices necessarily correlate to a religious denomination. It is wholly possible to engage in spiritual practices devoid of structured, religious connotations. While many may carry a personal belief in things such as a higher power, it is not a prerequisite to spiritual belief or fulfillment. 

Religious beliefs of any kind, from Christianity to Judaism, Wicca, and more, can be incredible sources of motivation and direction through addiction recovery. However, each individual will have the opportunity to define their own spiritual beliefs and explore their own best practices throughout recovery. 

Embracing Spiritual Practices

Spiritual practices will always be unique to each individual and can be anything that helps a person feel connected to their spiritual beliefs or the natural energies of the world around them. For many, this can manifest as prayer. However, many non-denominational spiritual practices can be just as spiritually fulfilling. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness walks, nature hikes, journals, and more can all have profound benefits on an individual’s healing journey.

Those in recovery can also benefit from meeting with groups of others who share these spiritual beliefs to build a supportive community in recovery. To make the most of each of these practices, it is important to understand the intended benefits of spirituality and how they can be best used to further each individual’s sober goals. 

Locate a Supportive Community

Addiction and recovery can be incredibly isolating experiences, with many people engaging in isolationist practices or feeling misunderstood by those around them. The deterioration of relationships resulting from the use of drugs or alcohol or compromised social groups can all add to this feeling of isolation. Spirituality in recovery empowers those individuals to explore their lives in a new context and can be the catalyst to connect to others in a supportive community. Challenging feelings of isolation through spiritual beliefs and practices can birth new relationships and bring feelings of understanding and acceptance that can continue to provide support throughout the recovery journey. 

Explore Agency

It is common for those in recovery to feel pulled around by any number of unique challenges. From the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders to the constant battles with urges and cravings, embracing a degree of agency is necessary to feel in control of each person’s recovery journey. Spiritual practices can empower those in recovery to take more control of their daily lives. From providing a structure to build daily routines to developing effective practices for managing stress, urges, and cravings, spiritual practices can help an individual express the necessary feeling of control and agency to further their own sober goals. 

Strengthen Understanding and Perspective

There is nothing simple about overcoming addiction. Exploring new perspectives and personal beliefs, and practices is paramount in the face of change. Spiritual practices can instill beliefs and mantras that can contextualize a person’s experiences, behaviors, and consequences, all while helping an individual better process their past while preparing for the future. 

This degree of understanding is also instrumental in empowering those in recovery to identify the elements of their lives that they can control and to take charge of these aspects in a healthy way. By embracing new spiritual practices, each person can continually evaluate and create new recovery plans and relapse prevention strategies. Undoubtedly, spirituality can help an individual develop a healthier mentality and find deeper meaning and purpose for maintaining sobriety.

Spirituality can play a massive role in your sober journey. We at Buena Vista Recovery are committed to helping you explore your spiritual needs as much as your physical and emotional needs. We believe that recovery is a truly transformative experience, and by helping you explore your best spiritual practices, we can help you establish a healthy, sober life at any stage of recovery. From detox and residential treatment to intensive outpatient care, we can help you through the entire continuum of care, all while exploring your evolving spiritual needs. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (480) 741-9414.