Spirituality In Addiction Recovery

January 16, 2010 — 18 Comments

It has been said that addicts who enter into recovery are actually fortunate for they are forced to take a look at themselves and their spirituality. By self-examination, recovering addicts are able to realize that their lack of spirituality is partly the cause of their distress.

It seems that many people are incapable of tolerating themselves because they have a negative feelings about themselves. They start to have a distorted self image which leads them to go to great lengths to escape or deny their identity as they perceive it. All of these things make discovering spirituality impossible.

I have always called it self-inventory when I take stock of where I am in life and how I feel about where I am. Sadly, years started to pile up where I was avoiding performing self-inventory due to fear and disgust. I had neglected my spirit for so long that I was truly afraid of what I would find if I looked. So I didn’t look.

A very important component of spirituality is self improvement. But, it is impossible to embark on self improvement without knowing where your starting point is. To get a starting point, you need to do a self-inventory and find out what your assets are and in what areas that you need work.

Like I said, for years I hid from myself and refused to perform a self inventory. There for I never made any self improvements and since self improvement is such a huge component of spirituality I was void of spirituality.

It was not until I entered into addiction recovery that I was forced to take a good look at myself. I can honestly say that I’m thankful for where my recovery has taken me. I have been able to accept the fact that spirituality seems to be more about questions than it is about answers.

Different people have different ideas of what spirituality entails. I can’t even begin to explain to you in words what my idea of spirituality is, I just know it when I feel it.

18 responses to Spirituality In Addiction Recovery

  1. I had a chunk of clean and sober time before I had headed into a relapse. I had done the “do” things. I went meetings, I had a sponsor, I worked the steps, yet my world was still stripped of colour.

    When things went off track I went off to rehab, and through some very extraordinary experiences through the blessing to be able to go to Africa shortly after getting out, I discovered my own spirituality.

    Since coming back, I’ve found recovery to be an entirely new experience. I’ve harnessed what has happened through that experience and have gone on to study a non-12 step spiritual system which has brought me closer to the steps.

    Now I find the miracles continue.

    • Hi, I’d love to know what non 12 step process you used. I’m a social worker that works with addicts, one in particular does not like AA and could benefit from something other than AA or 12 step groups. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for this information. I’m an addict in recovery for4+ years now and I’m doing a presentation on “Spirituality in Recovery”.This stuff really helped me.

  3. Excellent article! Thank you for pointing out the importance of spirituality in conjunction with recovery. Looking at oneself is difficult, however, allowing the spirit within each of us to grow allows for greater success in dealing with addiction. Also,finding a drug rehab will help one find that much needed lihgt that wants to shine in each of us.

  4. Richard Van Voris December 22, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I agree that spirituality is a critical component to addiction recovery, however the “I just know it when I feel it ” is too vague. After a lot of thinking and talking and reading I have come up with the following definition for a class I teach called ” Spirituality in Recovery” “Spirituality is a connection to a positive power greater than yourself”
    However one comes to that connection, be it through organized religion or some other way, however one visualizes that positive power to be is up to the individual.
    I believe that this one of the beauties of the 12 steps “God as we understood Him”

  5. Thank you!!!! I really need to hear this over & over again….

  6. Trisha Austin May 4, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Thank you very much!!!!!

  7. I have found that self-improvement is pointless. What are you trying to improve on? You are assuming that your ideas of what is right and desirable for your life are correct; in other words, trying to use an addict mind to fix an addict mind. The whole point is that our ideas of how we want things to be are what got us into the mess we are in.

    “Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

    Even knowing your starting point isn’t going to be enough. Much self-knowledge about ourselves failed to protect us from drink.

    The point of inventory is not to learn about ourselves so that we become armed with facts about how to fix ourselves. There’s only one point: to get some Power in your life. To face and be rid of that which has us blocked from that Power, which is greater than us. Inventory isn’t to add things to your self-knowledge, it’s there to clear away that which has us blocked from Power.

    • While I agree in principle, I think — and have seen in myself and others — that Steps 4, 5, and 6 have effects far beyond simply gaining power. They are the first steps on the path to healthy self esteem, among myriad other benefits.

  8. This is good information, spirituality is one of those domaines who can help us find the way!


  9. Penny Mary Hauser August 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    “Broken by addiction, Blessed by God-a woman’s path to sustained recovery” is my book published a year ago that addresses issues and transformation for women in recovery- a transformation through openess to spirituality and a conversation with God. Please take a look at the description of amazon.com or the publisher’s web at Liguori Publications.

  10. So true! It’s all about the peeling of the onion!

  11. Thank you soo much, Penny for your book! A friend gave me a copy and I am just getting started, but have already gained insight into the struggles I have; hope is back in my life again! I am not addicted to anything that I know of, but I live like I am (does that make any sense?). Just reconnected with an former roommate after 20+ years and we feel this is a God thing now to be able to cheer each other on; we have both been through some painful stuff and look forward to more of the healing that we have already experienced. We plan to read it together and support each other via email. Thank you (x2) for sharing yourself in such a grace-filled message.

  12. Penny Mary Hauser September 17, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Thanks so much for your comments about my book, Deanna. You have captured the goal of the book-to assist women and men to consider their recovery (and their lives) as gifts from God. We each have issues to think through regarding how this all happened and how to move forward. How we do this is unique for women. How we frame this within our spirituality is critical to long term recovery.
    I also have a blog at brokenbyaddictionblessedbyGod.blogspot.com. I invite all winners to join me there for an ongoing (twice weekly) discussion of recovery and spirituality.
    Blessings -Penny

  13. If I am moving toward God, I am growing spiritually.
    If I am moving toward my fellow human being, I am growing spiritually.
    The oppposite is true if I am moving away from.


  14. faith and hope keeps us going, drugs and alcohol can wreck our lives, our bodies, our minds, but it an never crush our spirit, not permanently neway, we were born strong, the spiritual among us can find that strength when we need it. Good blog 🙂

  15. To me, spirituality is about the qualities of the human spirit: love, compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, responsibility, harmony, things that bring real happiness to ourselves and others, contentment and joy.

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