Since the very beginning of recovery services for alcoholism and drug addictions, the term “spirituality” has been associated with 12 Step AA, NA, CA, etc. and has immersed itself in the many non- traditional protocols of current recovery philosophies.
The concept and understanding of spirituality remained relatively confined to the AA Big Book, Church and formal religion, prayer and faith. As the recovery field progressed, many programs began to see the value and importance of spiritual activities in their treatment programming and have adopted activities such as Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi and others that prove important additions to AA and clinical programs alike. The question remains, Do a few isolated activities provide the spirituality that is obviously required to give the client the strength needed to reinforce recovery? More importantly, what exactly is the program’s intention in including these non-traditional exercises?
After 50 years of progress and knowledge about addictions and how to treat them, the common phrase continues to emerge. Mind-Body-Spirit. These three parts make up a human being and our recovery programming should reflect and pay attention to all three parts. In reality, what we see in general regarding the extent of spiritual activity is group therapy, individual therapy, exercise (sometimes very limited), AA meetings, and Church.
Potential clients in increasing numbers feel neglected when it comes to the spiritual education provided by programs to give strength to their recovery. There are many that have no spirituality or spiritual understanding at all, others with no belief in a Higher Power, and still others who do not practice a religion yet still seek spirituality in their lives as an integral part of their recovery process. It is the program’s responsibility as recovery planners to meet the needs of each client and in terms of spirituality, meet the client where they are.
“The missing link” in recovery treatment is the comprehensive protocol for spirituality and the development of a client spiritual practice that is targeted specifically for recovery.
The goal of a spiritual practice is to expand awareness to attain a life that is filled with hope, health, peace, and happiness. There are a great many options that constitute a spiritual practice. These may include self-inquiry, eating practices, Yoga, prayer, meditation, chanting, healing work, service to others, devotional practice, etc. As we attach to the learned perceptions that formulate our belief systems, we look at the world around us to find a spiritual practice instead of looking within. Any of the available options for a spiritual practice, when used in a productive way, can be individualized needs. Keep in mind that they are only techniques from which to choose and should not be confused with the spiritual practice itself. The spiritual practice is the devotion that one has to expand awareness and attain a hopeful happy life. The technique chosen is just a technique to support the devotion.
A spiritual practice is one of self-healing. This concept is one of utilizing the powers within to heal as opposed to relying on an outside source for all the healing potential. An outside source with a higher consciousness might, along with their expertise, help to empower one’s own practice of self-healing rather than creating a dependency on a source other than oneself. The goal of self-healing would be to bring into alignment those aspects that make up the client as a person, namely Mind-Body-Spirit-Environment. In bringing all those together, you open yourself up to wonderful healing and connection on your road to recovery.