Why Is Spirituality in Addiction Recovery Important?

Why Is Spirituality in Addiction Recovery Important?

Can spirituality in addiction recovery be difficult for some people to grasp early on?

So often, religion has let people down.

It was either because an influential person in the church abused their position or because they prayed to God to remove cancer, but it continued.

On the other hand, spirituality in recovery is an important part of twelve-step programs.

Many people in recovery owe their sobriety to a higher power.

Why is spirituality an integral aspect of someone's recovery journey?

Let's look at some of the most compelling reasons why people believe their recovery would not have been possible without a belief in something greater than themselves and why twelve-step programs are so effective.

First, assume you're on the fence about spirituality and are still in the early stages of your recovery.

In that case, you might want to see if believing in something bigger than yourself can help you stay on track.

Addiction Therapists in Colorado

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Rodney Collins, LMFT

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Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC

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Bethany Cantrell, LPC

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Susan Taylor, LPCC

Susan Taylor, LPCC

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Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Kelsey Maestas, LPCC

Pueblo, Colorado
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What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a broad term with different implications for different people. 

Spirituality is defined as the belief in something greater than oneself. 

It can include faith in a higher power or God and holistic beliefs that everything is connected to the entire universe.

Religion and spiritualism are often confused as being the same concept. 

Religion is a group of people who come together to worship a God. 

Spirituality is a soul-level connection to the universe.

Whatever definition you give to spirituality, the concept is based on the same basic premise.

We have no control over our lives, and a greater force is at play behind the scenes.

Now that we have a basic idea of spirituality, let's discuss how spirituality and addiction recovery work hand in hand. 

What About Spirituality and Addiction Recovery as a Path to a Successful Life?

Many people currently in long-term recovery will tell you that they could not have stayed sober without their spirituality.

Some examples of spirituality that people in recovery practice may include:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Spending time in nature
  • Fellowship with others in the same religious belief system
  • Devotional reading
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Engaging in art or music
  • Recreational activities

Spiritualism is anything that connects your soul with the universe and brings you closer to a higher power.

It tremendously helps your recovery.

Spirituality can also give someone meaning in their life, which they may have lost sight of during their active addiction. 

People with a sense of purpose are more likely to have better recovery results.

People who believe in something bigger than themselves and focus on their life's purpose for the greater good are much more likely to recover successfully than those who don't have a sense of purpose in their lives.

What Do the Twelve-Step Programs Say?

Twelve-step programs are centered around spirituality and addiction recovery.

Someone new to a twelve-step program will be asked to first surrender to a higher power. 

This is not, once again, a religious belief in a specific deity.

Instead, these support groups believe that something greater than themselves exists in the universe.

There are times of prayer and release of control throughout the rest of the steps in the program that are geared toward a successful recovery that work to assist people who genuinely want to stay clean and sober.

The "Big Books" of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous agree that giving back to society is an integral part of their programs. 

It's essentially what their twelfth step is all about.

In twelve-step programs, sponsorship focuses on assisting fellow addicts in working through their steps. 

Volunteering or becoming a recovery coach can also be ways to give back to society and help others who are suffering.

Giving back in whatever way people can once they are sober is essential to keeping them straight.

Is Being Spiritual About More Than Just Praying?

Prayer is significant because it demonstrates faith.

Assume someone decides to surrender their addiction and all their guilt to a higher power or God.

They then have faith in God's ability to heal them. 

However, in the early stages of recovery, feelings that have been suppressed for months or years may surface.

It could all end up being a chaotic windstorm.

Praying about the feelings and emotions that are coming up is one way to calm the storm.

Perhaps by praying to God to take away these negative emotions, one can concentrate on the most important thing right now: recovery.

That is not to say that those feelings will not resurface at some point and that someone will have to deal with them in a healthy manner.

Yoga or meditation are both spiritual ways to combat negative emotions and help you overcome them. 

They are also great tools to fight off cravings during recovery.

Spending time in the woods or near a river can be a spiritual practice that helps people recover.

In addition, some treatment centers are in the wilderness, where people thrive because they feel more connected to God or their higher power.

If prayer and meditation aren't working for you, try spending a couple of days a week outside listening to the birds and frogs sing to help you resist the urge to use or drink.

The goal is to find the perfect spiritual practice that works for everyone.

No two people's recovery journeys will be the same.

Importance of Fellowship With Others

In recovery, some people may want to isolate themselves. All of their old friends are still addicted to drugs or alcohol. It can be challenging to make new friends who are recovering or who do not drink or use drugs.

Regularly meeting with others in a twelve-step program or another religious setting will aid recovery. 

In addition, developing a routine and a social network can help people stay accountable and reduce their chances of relapsing.


When people hear about spiritualism, they often dismiss it early in their recovery. 

Perhaps they had a bad childhood experience with a religious belief system their parents forced them to attend.

When someone opens their mind to the idea of a higher power being anything other than the God they knew as a child, they'll be more willing to participate in and try out spiritual principles in recovery.

Recovery is not dependent on spirituality in any way, but it can thrive in someone who is spiritual.

The goal is to determine which spirituality and addiction recovery methods are most effective for you.



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April 23rd, 2024

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