In many treatment programs, support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous, and similar programs are bedrocks of sobriety. For some people in recovery, receiving guidance from a 12-Step program that asks them to acknowledge their powerlessness over a substance and believe that “a Power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity” can be two major catalysts for sober living.
Religion and Addiction
AA and similar 12-Step programs were initially designed to use Christianity as a path to sobriety. Over the years, these programs were criticized for implying a morality flaw as the reason for addiction, rather than accepting scientific points that substance use disorder is a chronic brain disease.
But a slow progression of understanding allowed a shift in program philosophy. Now, most programs do not require belief in any form of religious dogma—unless it’s individual preference. This doesn’t exclude spiritual involvement; rather, it provides 12-Step followers with the opportunity to define spirituality or higher power however they choose. Taking ownership of one’s spiritual growth helps people assign more value to it in their lives and in their recovery.
Other support groups have also embraced spirituality in recovery, and emphasize spiritual influence on the recovery journey. Some of these organizations include:
- Buddhist Recovery Network
- Catholic Calix Society
- Christian-based Celebrate Recovery
- Jewish Addiction Awareness Network
- Millati Islami World Services
Almost all faiths offer the opportunity to seek help and resources for substance use disorder—perhaps from a spiritual advisor, a community organization, or other outreach programs. Understanding how spirituality supports your sobriety is a long-lasting journey of discovery.
Spirituality in Recovery: Why It Might Work for You
Choosing a lifetime of sobriety means navigating your recovery through twists and turns. There are numerous positive methods for coping with stress, managing anxiety, and fostering more gratitude. Adding a spiritual element might provide additional benefits such as grounding, resiliency, fellowship, and more purposeful intent. Everything together allows you to prevent relapse even through the most challenging circumstances—you trust not only in yourself and what you’ve learned during treatment, but also in the power of mysticism that provides peace and understanding.
Here are some quotes that demonstrate how spirituality often leads people to light and helps them release the light within.
“We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty—it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” ~ Mother Teresa
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“‘Help’ is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray—with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages, cars, mountains, showers, and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, ‘Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.'” ~ Anne Lamott
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” ~ Brené Brown
These quotes are but drops in a vast ocean of understanding how spirituality in recovery can influence, comfort, and guide your life’s path—if that’s your choice.
Willingway’s Whole-Person Approach
After 45 years of establishing a respected inpatient rehabilitation facility, high-quality extended treatment services, valued outpatient services, and continuing care community groups throughout the Southeast, we understand that recovery for life doesn’t involve just one component. Our care reaffirms the value of each individual emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
If you’re ready to commit to sobriety, talk to our admissions staff.