Through long experience, most people have discovered that there’s a connection between spirituality and sobriety. However, this connection is less about religion and more about connecting with a higher power – something greater than yourself. That’s not to say that spiritual people aren’t religious, as many do grow closer to their religion by practicing spirituality. But even those who are not religious can find comfort and peace in being spiritual.
If you’re starting outpatient alcohol recovery in Denver, you probably have questions about spirituality and how it fits into your sobriety journey. Below we’ll answer your questions about spirituality, why it matters to your recovery and tips for connecting with something greater than yourself.
What is Spirituality Exactly?
Spirituality is a broad concept that allows for many perspectives. In general, spirituality is believing in something bigger than ourselves and searching for meaning in everyday life. Some people describe spirituality as being interconnected or “one with nature.”
Others say that spirituality makes them feel alive and purposeful, while others describe it as being closely connected to their church, temple, mosque or synagogue. There is no right or wrong. Being spiritual is a personal experience that can change throughout your life.
Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you learn more about your life and identity.
- Am I a good person?
- What is the meaning of my suffering?
- What is my greater purpose in life?
- How can I live my best life?
- Do things happen for a reason?
Why is Spirituality So Important to Sobriety?
Spirituality is linked to many important aspects of human existence. People who are spiritual are often happier, more optimistic and have meaning and purpose in their life. As important as spirituality is to these people, it’s essential for those in recovery. That’s why 12 step programs are deeply rooted in spirituality.
If you combine the 12 steps, you’ll notice that the main theme is to surrender to a higher power and stop being selfish. As humans, we’re wired to be somewhat selfish because this is what keeps us alive. But it can also make people self-absorbed, and this is exacerbated in people with addictions.
Drugs and alcohol change the brain, and therefore, change personalities and ways of thinking. Addicts become selfish and look to blame others for their problems. Unless they surrender themselves and start thinking of others, it’s very difficult to have a healthy recovery.
Here are some of the key aspects of spirituality that we discuss in outpatient rehab in Denver:
- Surrender your problems to a higher power
- Let go, accept and forgive problems from the past
- Learn to be a better person, day by day
- Develop a sense of hope
- Believe that you can achieve healing and stay sober
- Promote complete healing – mind, body and spirit
- Have a clear mind for mindfulness meditation
- Forgive others and move past shame
Tips for Becoming More Spiritual (Even as you go through recovery)
Addiction treatment will start you on the path towards spirituality. Many programs are inherently spiritual because they teach you how to embrace your emotions, be kind to yourself, make sense of your suffering and avoid letting your addiction become a part of your identity.
Here are some of the things you can do to become more spiritual during your recovery journey:
Embrace your feelings
It’s common for addicts to bury their feelings. Many start off using drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma, and after years of abuse, are no longer in touch with their true emotions.
As you go through counseling, it’s important to understand that human feelings are healthy and necessary. You must avoid numbing your feelings and allow yourself to express whatever you are going through. There is no judgement – we all have feelings.
If you are angry, it’s helpful to have outlets for releasing negative energy. This could be something simple like going for a run or punching a pillow. You will learn some of these coping strategies during your time in outpatient treatment in Denver.
Live in the present moment
Too often, we’re consumed by the past or the future. This is made even more difficult with social media, as many people spend an exorbitant amount of time comparing themselves to others, living in the past or worrying about the future. However, this is a dangerous cycle that can lead to depression.
Everyone has their own path. For today, focus on the present moments and the joy they bring. Keeping a gratitude journal is an effective tool in staying positive, living presently and remembering your greater purpose.
Develop healthy habits
Spirituality doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself time to adopt healthy habits that move you closer to spirituality. Just 5-10 minutes of silence every day allows you to take a deep breath, separate yourself from your problems and connect with nature.
Also, find ways to make spirituality fun and personal to your life. If it feels boring or irrelevant, you’re not going to stick with it. For example, you can meditate, shift your energy using crystals, take a walk through a forest preserve or enroll in a class on world religions. Holistic rehab facilities in Denver like Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado will teach you various alternative therapies you can explore.
Choose love and respect
Love yourself. Love others. Being less reactive is important for your recovery, too. Every time you get mad or frustrated, you can’t turn to drugs and alcohol. The same is true when dealing with yourself or others. Try to look at things from a new perspective – this will help you have better relationships with yourself and others.
When you find yourself thinking in a more loving, positive manner, you’ll become a happier person. This will open you up to being more spiritual and having a good relationship with your higher power. Even when problems arise, you’ll be able to shift your thinking and remind yourself that there’s a purpose for everything.
Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado provides holistic outpatient addiction treatment in Denver. We believe in the 12 step philosophy and encourage our clients to connect with a higher power during their time in treatment. When combined with holistic healing practices like yoga, acupuncture and art and music therapy, you can create a foundation for long-term sobriety and wellness. Contact us today to learn more.