Why Addiction Recovery Has a Spiritual Component

When people try to stay sober, they often wonder why people talk about spirituality. The struggle with a concept about a higher power in recovery may come from thinking about why do they have to be spiritual. This means recovering the person they are meant to be. Sobriety alone is not the same as recovery. Abstaining from alcohol and drugs is not enough to repair the damage done by years of substance use. Spirituality can help a person take a deeper look inside themselves and find the root causes of addiction to begin healing. It will look different for everyone but spirituality can bring a sense of hope and purpose when it is allowed to take root.

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Finding Spiritual Healing

Addiction impacts life on three planes: physical, mental, and spiritual. Physical health may be compromised but emotions are at an all-time high. The spirit may be beaten down, but through recovery, people learn to integrate the parts that are broken and damaged. This is considered a holistic approach. This approach is one where people can find healing and begin to put all the moving parts together. 

A Higher Power

Spirituality is tricky for people in recovery because it encompasses many things. The biggest one among them all is how substance abuse makes people feel isolated and alone. Substances make people feel they haven’t got anything to live or fight for. Once detoxed and looking ahead, they may question their purpose. Spirituality is not necessarily about traditional religion. It involves an acknowledgment of a higher power. This may be the driving factor that inspires the faith they have or want to have. People were less likely to relapse if they had some spiritual or religious principles guiding them. 

Motivation to Be Sober

When people think about being sober, they often think about relationships. They help them maintain sobriety and their sanity, as well. People who were less likely to relapse often had strong spiritual or religious principles guiding their journey. Much like the experience of having a sponsor, those who attempted to maintain sobriety often maintained some type of spiritual practice on a regular basis. The motivation to maintain sobriety comes from within, but a higher power is often a locus of control outside of oneself that prompts a person to think about how to let go and let something else take over the reins. 

Falling Apart to Find Hope

Many people who undergo addiction treatment often find themselves drawn to major world religions but others may struggle with their faith. Finding higher power influences is not something that happens overnight. It is about discovering something that motivates and brings peace. It is about finding a purpose greater than yourself. There is an element of spiritual awakening that happens when a person realizes what they came through could not be gotten through alone. They needed to fall apart so they could come together again as a new person. Some search for this connection might mean prayer, meditation, or spending quiet time in nature. It might be spending time with animals, dedicating oneself to hobbies, or doing something else to cultivate peace and centeredness. Seeking something deeper can help people process the experience of addiction and support an overall journey of healing. 

Spiritual Awakening in Recovery

A spiritual awakening in recovery is not dependent on a 12-Step process, but it certainly helps. By pursuing higher power, a person can nurture feelings of curiosity and motivation that will serve them well in the future. When a person has a loved one, they often want them to experience a deeper realization about their future in recovery. When they struggle with addiction, it is often a spiritual approach that supports their journey of healing. To break free from addiction, it requires finding some source of hope outside themselves where they can learn how to navigate addiction recovery and heal.

A true awakening to spirituality comes from accepting that you do not have the answers to anything in recovery. You have to give up what you think you have in front of you in order to heal. It is okay to let go, and actually, it is very healing to admit the need for help and move forward from a place of humility. The journey of recovery can bring a deep sense of peace if a person is willing to embrace it for all it is worth. Spirituality is not meant to frighten or scare people away. It is a tool that makes people stronger, more focused, and ever more engaged in their recovery, which can sometimes mean the difference between stagnation and moving forward. Healing is a multi-faceted journey, but with spirituality underpinning it, they can do anything they set their mind to do. 

Find Healing At Renewal Lodge

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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