A lot of people who find themselves suffering from alcohol abuse and addiction have substantial religious backgrounds. They may have grown up going to church or attended a religious school. Many of them have relatives who are pious or in the clergy.
That doesn’t mean that all of them look favorably on their faith, but for those who take comfort and power from spirituality, a spiritual rehab center may offer them the best chance of a positive outcome.
And, spiritual rehab may also be helpful for people without a chosen faith. Time spent meditating on aspects of faith may make them feel more connected to a larger group and included in the group goal of recovery.
Spirituality for these people may be practiced through prayer, meditation, enlightenment, mindfulness, or even the search for God.
The following should answer some questions about spiritual rehab and the role it plays in treating an alcohol use disorder.
How Should I Be Defining Spirituality?
At its core, the concept is simple; spirituality is about practices and beliefs by which people live.
But, these practices and beliefs are extremely varied and that is what makes spirituality so complex. Some spiritual schools of thought may include a single divine being; others may simply have faith in a higher power. Still others may have a pantheon of Gods.
Spirituality is used to guide people to inner peace and help them to develop purpose and self-awareness. This can be done in many ways, including:
Is Having a Religion the Same as Being Spiritual?
A person can be tied to a church or religious group without being spiritual. Truly spiritual people feel connected to a belief in the divine or a higher meaning. This helps them to understand the meaning of life. This can be achieved both as part of a religion and from outside of it.
A study of spirituality during active addiction showed that it suffers in many ways:
- Addiction diminishes spirituality or even replaces it entirely.
- Addiction creates an ongoing relationship with God, but one that is bankrupt.
- Addicts struggle to redefine themselves as people with morals in the face of the shame and guilt caused by using.
- These people have religion, but they need to rediscover their spirituality.
How Will Spirituality Help a Person Who Is an Alcoholic?
Spiritual rehab operates from the viewpoint that alcohol use is motivated by a need to fill a spiritual void. People with alcohol use disorders often voice feeling lost or without purpose. They drink to cope with this emptiness. People without spirituality voice being similarly lost and out of control.
When spirituality is incorporated into rehab, it takes away that factor of the addiction. The addict becomes centered and has renewed purpose. This changes their reasons for drinking. Ideally, they develop a self-awareness that serves them in assessing their sobriety and responding in a way to sustain recovery.
A study examining patient attitudes about including spirituality in addiction treatment demonstrated participants were interested in receiving spirituality-focused treatment. They felt it would decrease cravings and increase hopefulness. They knew that it would help to alleviate the loss of hope.
What Does Spiritual Rehab Offer Me as an Individual?
In the study just mentioned, the focus group identified two primary themes:
- Spirituality as a source of power / defense of self.
- Spirituality as a source of self-sacrifice / defense of others.
These concepts come into play during spiritual rehab. As an addict recovers, they develop an increased sense of self-esteem and power. In many ways, this is derived from the purpose provided by spirituality. Further, it tends to improve their state of mind by providing peace and strength.
In spiritual rehab, you can connect with other people who found their way into successful recovery through spiritual practice., They both serve as inspirations and sources of information. Further, as your recovery progresses, you also take on this role. Serving as a motivator and helping guide people through your spiritual awakening imparts a sense of purpose, which is so often lacking during addiction.
Spirituality doesn’t have to be formally religious, but it can be. People in recovery need to choose a mind-set that will allow them to feel connected to something greater than themselves and to feel they have a purpose.