Some of people use the term spirituality to describe a sense of inner or moral strength. Others use it to describe their belief in God. While others again use it to describe the relationship between oneself and the things beyond them.
For those who are new to recovery and for many who’ve been around a while for that matter, it’s easy to get hung up on spirituality as just another word for religion. Those of us who haven’t been particularly religious throughout our lives, or who had negative experiences associated with a particular religion, may not feel that we have a place in a spiritual conversation. If we aren’t at least a little open-minded at this point, we’re likely to shy away from an exercise that can bring a great deal of peace to our lives.
If we can suspend our internal debate for a little while and look around, we’ll quickly see that the spirituality we find in others isn’t just about religion or a concept of a supreme being. Rather, we’re likely to find a broad range of types of people in whom we see spirituality at work, some will be members of a particular faith, but not all of them. Many of the people who have that “thing” we’re looking for will be people who have no attachment to a particular organization at all.
Often, the core of our substance use is our attempt to fill a void we feel in our lives. Whether it’s a feeling we’ve always had, or one that comes from a loss or event, we pour substances into our bodies as we try to mask the emptiness that drives us to do more and more.
Spiritual matters have long been studied as a meaningful factor in making positive change. It has been suggested that individuals with higher levels of spirituality are at decreased risk of using alcohol and drugs, and are less likely to use excessively or chronically. It also seems that individuals with a deeper sense of spirituality have a greater chance of maintaining abstinence than those who reported a less developed sense of spirituality.
Spirituality ultimately affords us a better understanding of ourselves through our connection to something larger than us. Seeing life through a spiritual lens enhances our understanding of our purpose for being here, and a purposeful life goes hand in hand with recovery. Whatever you call it, many people describe their sense of spiritual connection as giving them a heightened state of being, perception and awareness, which heals, transforms, and liberates them.