Addiction is a beast with many faces and has many ways it can attack you in recovery. No matter if you are newly sober or have substantial clean time under your belt, you are well aware that addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful.
Since drug and alcohol addiction is a complex issue, it requires a multi-faceted and versatile treatment approach. While treatment and support groups are important in the recovery process, the development of a strong spiritual base is an equally important component in the well-oiled recovery machine.
Spirituality is indeed a vital element to recovery…it is also a component that many in recovery struggle with on a regular basis.
What Exactly is Spirituality?
If you remember back when you started your recovery journey, you no doubt were introduced to a Twelve-Step support group such as AA and NA. You knew these groups had worked for a lot of people, but you may have had difficulty accepting the heavy spiritual overtones that define these groups.
The themes of powerlessness and giving yourself over to a “Higher Power” may conjure up images of God and having to give yourself to God..and maybe you just aren’t or weren’t having it. If you have felt this way and maybe thought the Twelve-Step path wasn’t your jam, you aren’t alone.
Truth is, many addicts who desire to be clean and sober struggle with the concept of spirituality. In order to get over the hump, it is important to really understand the true meaning of spirituality. The Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota offers us the following simple definition:
“Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life…Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships”
So you see, the main point to drive home is that you need to get out of your own ego and look at the bigger picture with a perspective that is outside of yourself. If that concept means God or nature or art or philosophy, go for it. As you grow in your sobriety, your spiritual practice and beliefs will also grow and incorporate new and wonderful things…and that is its’ beauty.
What Are Ways You Can Increase Your Spiritual Awareness?
1. Learn to Laugh and Stay Positive
Laughter is the best medicine
Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day
We have seen and heard saying like these so much it can make us puke, but they are the absolute truth and a great way to increase your spirituality. Being able to laugh is an important part of a healthy mind and body. When you laugh, you secrete a chemical that automatically boosts your mood and improves your physical health.
After a good laugh, you will often find that your problems no longer seem as big as you made them out to be. As a result, you feel better about yourself and become more in tune with what is inside you. Laughter also has an another great benefit…it is contagious.
When you laugh, people around you will laugh and feel better and pretty soon everyone will be happier and more spiritually connected.
Another way to find your own Higher Power and fine tune your spiritual awareness is through the act of meditation. It sounds challenging, but in reality many meditation techniques are super simple to learn, can be done anywhere and can take just 15 minutes a day.
Find a quiet room or place with no distractions, sit comfortably, and focus on the in and out of your breath. If transient thought pop in your head, accept them for what they are and return to your breathing.
Not to sound heavy, but practicing meditation is a way to directly communicate with your soul. Far out, huh? If you really think about it, our bodies are made up of atoms that are mostly empty space. What gives us our feelings, our energy and our meaning? That is what is real….
3. You Gotta Serve Somebody
The truth is that you can’t expect to grow as a person and as a spiritual being in isolation.
When you reach out and help others, your fears and insecurities disappear because your focus is not on you, but on something that is outside of yourself.
Are you seeing a theme here?
Serving others is a direct line to understanding a higher power. When you feel the result of a good deed, it is its own reward and you will likely feel a part of something much greater.
4. Got Sleep?
Well, in order to tune in to those special frequencies that are inside of you, your mind and thoughts need to be fine tuned. The best way to achieve this is through getting enough sleep every night. You need to create a daily schedule which allows you to get between 6 to 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
Getting good rest makes it easier for you to focus your thoughts…and staying in control of your thoughts is important for increasing spiritual awareness.
5. Get Outside!
Do you want to unravel the secrets of life? Get your butt outside and let Mother Nature take over!
If you want to increase your spiritual awareness so that you can understand what life is, spend some time in nature and observe how the various elements work with each other to create harmony. Once we see this harmony we can begin to understand the ways we need to be a part of this harmony.
The Most Important Tip Of All Is….
If you want to build and deepen your spiritual awareness…you need to keep on keepin’ on and be open to learn and grow from your daily experiences. Our recovery, like life, is a work in progress and we discover the good, bad and ugly about ourselves on a daily basis. Be open to yourself and the world around you. The most answers that you find, the more questions that you have.