During treatment — and certainly throughout recovery — individuals will likely be introduced to the importance of spiritual wellness. Despite common misconceptions, achieving and sustaining lifelong recovery requires more than abstinence from substance use. Effective and lasting recovery involves searching for a deeper connection with a higher power, with others and with oneself. Spiritual wellness is an incredibly powerful motivator for individuals to seek deeper meaning and the purpose of existence.
Spirituality vs. Religion in Addiction Recovery
Before you can learn how to find spiritual wellness in recovery, it is important to clarify the differences between spirituality and religion. Many people who have had judgmental or otherwise negative experiences with religion may feel turned off at the thought of exploring spirituality and how it relates to recovery. However, spirituality and religion are not one and the same.
When a person identifies as religious, they likely follow a specific set of organized beliefs and practices centered around a divine being or beings. Religion involves public participation in acknowledging predetermined concepts of one or more “god” figures. Every religion also has different methods of worshiping and interacting with these figures.
Spirituality, on the other hand, tends to be a more personal and private practice that encourages a person to live a life guided by their spirit or faith. This can be done through practices such as meditation, prayer or general mindfulness that allow people to be present in their daily life. Engaging in spiritual practices may or may not be linked to a spiritual figure but may acknowledge a higher power such as the universe, nature, love, art or humanity.
By recognizing that spirituality is the practice of how you relate to the world around you, the search to find spiritual wellness may seem more exciting and less intimidating.
Spiritual Wellness in Addiction Recovery
There is no question that chronic substance use can lead to severe physical and mental turmoil. A lack of social connection or search for deeper meaning can be an initial risk factor that causes individuals to turn to substance use in the first place.
Substance use and addiction often bring about feelings of guilt, shame, disconnection and isolation. To achieve successful treatment and recovery, individuals must build their recovery upon a foundation that values surrender and acceptance. Similarly, they must have faith in their ability to recover. Spiritual wellness encourages people to find peace in the present moment while striving for better things in the future.
Three Ways to Find Spiritual Wellness in a Recovery Program
Achieving spiritual wellness is easier said than done. Like recovery, spiritual wellness is a lifelong journey filled with many ups and downs. Still, one must constantly seek spiritual wellness to experience its benefits.
During recovery, there are many ways that individuals can forge a deeper connection with their unique purpose. Here are three ways you can find spiritual wellness during your recovery journey:
#1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is the awareness of the present moment. It involves using mental and emotional processes such as non-judgment, acceptance, curiosity and gratitude. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time.
One manifestation of this practice is mindfulness meditation, the intentional mental practice of setting aside time to focus on being intensely aware of both internal sensations and external stimuli. To start, go to a quiet and undisturbed environment and set a timer for about five minutes. You can lie down or sit comfortably with your eyes closed. For the next several minutes, focus on your breath. When you notice your mind beginning to wander, bring your attention back to your breath. Similarly, as you notice thoughts arise, acknowledge them with mindfulness elements such as nonjudgement and gratitude.
Mindfulness meditation is not a one-time practice. Many people utilize mindfulness meditation as a daily practice to increase awareness and spiritual wellness.
#2. Actively Search for Deeper Meaning
If you are reading this, you have already begun your search for deeper meaning and purpose. Spiritual wellness can be sought out through books, articles, documentaries, religious practices and other sources that discuss different theories about existence. The more you learn about different perspectives of spirituality and religion, the more information you will have to create and define your version of spiritual wellness.
Another way that you can search for deeper meaning is by reflecting on your life thus far. This may be the most beneficial with assistance from a therapist. To set yourself up for success during recovery, look back and reflect on the experiences and circumstances that brought you to seek out spirituality. A common purpose that many people find through their struggles is to have greater gratitude and appreciation for the people and experiences that have brought them to sobriety and recovery. There is no single or correct answer here; connect with the answers that mean the most to you and your healing journey.
#3. Spend Time in Nature
Nature is healing. Engaging with nature can shed light on the beauty that exists within our world, even when you are struggling mentally. Spending time in nature reminds you that you can make peace with your past and find joy in the present. The vastness and intricacy of nature can also encourage you to connect with a divine or higher power, knowing that this can look different for every person. By spending a few minutes outside in nature every day, you can grow your appreciation and gratitude for the world around you and, at the same time, increase your gratitude for yourself.
Casa Palmera is a mental health and addiction treatment facility that recognizes the value that spiritual wellness can have on both treatment and recovery. We are passionate about meeting our patients where they are on their spiritual journey and promoting wellness in all areas. During treatment, we create individualized treatment plans and can incorporate different spiritual practices that will complement one’s overall treatment journey. To learn more, call (855) 508-0473.