March 2, 2016
Recovery Through Spirituality
When I think of recovery I automatically think of a beach. A beautiful serene setting that inspires you to write a poem or to paint. A long walk by the shores finally answering life’s toughest questions.
To me spirituality and recovery go hand and hand. You must submit your will to some sort of higher power to be liberated from addiction. Whether the higher power is God, that is something personal that only you can decide.
I believe spirituality and recovery relate because in the moments when I needed God the most, he was surely there as a source of comfort. Now maybe your God is Buddha and through rituals you feel more spirituality. Whatever support you may need throughout recovery hold on to it. It is important to rely on something bigger than you, through recovery.
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. It is the notion that something bigger than us is present in our life. That all good things in this world such as hope, love, wisdom and kindness comes from that higher power.
There are many practices that can strengthen your spirituality. Depending on your religious beliefs and culture, spirituality may already be a part of your customs.
In the U.S there are many different faiths and religious practices due to the large immigration of people from other countries. Throughout the years, the U.S has been considered “a melting pot” because of all the different cultures mixed together.
This country is mainly structured on Christian values and beliefs. Most people who do engage in religious activities go to church on Sundays. They also believe in baptism and “being saved,” an act where you submit your will to Jesus, who in exchange grants you eternal life. In American Christian homes most families sit at the table and pray over the food before they eat, in church they sing and clap joyfully, as they worship.
Spirituality Around The World
Customs and rituals are what makes us individuals, collectively. They give our culture a personality of its own. Making it something that belongs to us and that we are characterized by.
In Solapur, India they have a baby dropping tradition every year for the past 500 years. A priest stands at the top of the shrine and drops baby on to sheet, 50 feet below. Family and friends hold the blanket hoping this ritual would bring everyone involved good luck and even better health.
In Chios, Greece there is a very unique tradition between two rival churches in the small town of Vrontados. They celebrate Easter Sunday by exchanging colorful fireworks and rockets. They prepare for the event by sealing windows and covering up the cathedral with protective wire mesh.
Another example of a spiritual ritual can be seen in Sinhalese Buddhist ceremonies of Sri Lanka. It is a ritual to cure people of illness. In this ritual it is apparent they believe physical ailments and “spiritual sickness” relate. They perform an elaborate exorcism ritual that involves all night dancing, singing, and role playing, it usually last from midnight until 6am. At Midnight, costumed actors appear as demons and as the night goes on, they begin to be portrayed as ridicule.
Enhancing The Recovery Process
Many of these religious practices take place in their country of origin but some of these rituals and traditions have found it’s way into holistic spiritual practices that our country has embraced.
Yoga has taken a life of its own in this country. Many have an idea that it is just a fitness activity. It would be surprising to know that Yoga is a 5000 year old Indian body of knowledge. It is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline which along with breathing control, simple meditation and specific body postures, can enhance relaxation. It is a series of holistic exercises that integrates elements of ancient knowledge, effective yoga postures and breathing techniques.
This should be an integral part of your recovery. Prayer is important because not only are you regarding a higher power, when seeking guidance but there is also a sense of hope and humility in praying. Hope because prayer allows you to feel like there is support. That you are not alone and that the higher power is a source of comfort. Humility because you are relying on an outside source for encouragement and strength.
This is a form of spiritual practice that encourages one to disconnect from the ego’s self-centered chatter and reunite with awareness of self. The most familiar forms of meditation to the Western culture are from the Buddhist sects of meditation such as Zen and Tibetan. The goal is to reach inner peace that is sometimes referred to as “spaciousness” or “the mind of God”. Many wellness and fitness centers around the U.S offer meditation as a means of relaxation. Now a days, in our culture it has become normal to suggest meditation when someone is under stress or has too much on their plate.
Defined as an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. Just like Yoga, it is characterized by a form of movements that bring together the spirit and body. There are five elements involving Tai Chi, taolu (hand and weapon routine), neigon & qigong (breathing and awareness exercises) , tuishou (pushing hands) and sanshou (forms). Practicing meditation even on your own can help decrease stress and help you refocus your mind during the day.
Having influences of both Hinduism and Buddhism, Tantra is an ancient Indian tradition of beliefs and ritual practices that seek to channel the divine energy of the macrocosm or godhead into the microcosm, to attain siddhis and moksha. Sometimes these rituals can be used for sexual practices such as the term “tantric sex”, since the art of Tantra seeks access to the divine through the physical body.
Spirituality In Recovery
When you enter rehab and experience a life in recovery you will learn of different ways to grow your spirituality. Now there is quiet a difference between being religious and being spiritual. Religious people often practice traditions and customs and are sure there is a God. Now for the skeptics out there, to be spiritual you don’t have to accept or embrace a divine power, you just have to have that desire within, to connect to self, the universe and nature.
One things for sure that I have learned in recovery is how essential prayers is to building strength against temptation. How important it is to stand firm and with a sense of gratitude bow my head just to say thank you to my higher power.
Sometimes prayer is talking out loud about your day, your worries and affliction. Or an intimate moment before you start your day. Either way feeling like you are not alone is a rewarding feeling when we are in recovery, spirituality strengths this aspect of your journey.
According to studies Alcoholism and drug abuse are amongst the most common, devastating and costly problems in the U.S, in fact there are approximately 53% of adults in the U.S who have reported that one or more close relatives has a drinking problem.
So spirituality encourages self-reflection that in turn will lead you to happiness. These spiritual practices can enhance your recovery experience. It will give you the extra support you need in order to gain and keep a sound mind, while you learn to retrain your mind.
If you or anyone has made the decision to enter rehab, we are here for you. This is the most important decision that you will make because your life depends on it. You can be clean and live a sober life but you must change from within. Learning about these practices that encourage spirituality can be helpful in the long run. The recovery process can be a lot more fulfilling when you exercise your spirituality.