If you have ever struggled with an addiction to alcohol or drugs then you know firsthand just how hard it can be to get sober again and to lead a life of recovery. For those who know, addiction is now considered to be a disease that affects the functioning of the brain, and can potentially lead to permanent changes. This is part of the reason why it is so difficult for those who are suffering to simply just stop using drugs or alcohol without the help of an addiction specialist or having reached a rock bottom experience. Of course, there are those, very few of them in fact, who are able to pull themselves out of the wrath of addiction all by themselves, but it can not be done at all without at least the attribution towards something greater.
What Does “Something Greater” In the 12 Step Program Mean Anyway?
According to the Oxford dictionary, spirituality can be defined as the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things, but how you define spirituality is entirely up to you. For most, however, spirituality is the belief in a higher power, something in this world that is bigger than you; a supreme being or deity. This could mean mother nature, Buddha, Christ, or whatever it is that you believe in. The common conception in the world is that there is something out there that helps explain why we are here. This is the fundamental basis for most drug and alcohol recovery and sobriety programs.
“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:15-16).
In our world today, the most widely practiced religion is Christianity. Christianity encompasses a variety of different branches, such as; Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicansim, and many others. The main thing in common between all the different branches of Christianity is the belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ as our savior, and God, our Lord and Father. Some may know him as Yahweh, Abba, or Cristos. Through the teachings of the Bible, many who have suffered from the grips of addiction have been saved.
You do not have to be religious in order to be spiritual. The most important thing is to feel the connection between yourself and something bigger. When someone is in an active addiction, the only thing that matters is feeding the disease, causing all sense of self worth to vanish. According to the majority of health professionals and addiction specialists, spirituality can restore your self worth and give you a new sense of purpose.
Spirituality can be a hard thing to grasp, especially at first. Even more so for people who have lost their sense of spirituality or have never had any to begin with. Developing a sense of spiritual individuality can take time, and there is no one size fits all. This is why those in recovery are urged to speak with others about their connection with their higher power. If you are new to recovery and are struggling to find your sense of spirituality, do not give up. Take the time to find what works best for you, there is no right or wrong way to develop a connection with something deeper and bigger than ourselves.
Unfortunately, people begin using drugs or alcohol for many different reasons. Boredom, peer pressure, etc. A common experience among those who suffer from addiction is the inability to cope with the bad or negative emotions they might feel, so in order to avoid having these feelings they use drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. One major reason why spirituality is important is that it provides a much healthier and positive mechanism for coping with traumatic experiences or otherwise negative emotions.
Higher Sense of Purpose
Having a developed sense of spirituality, whatever that may mean for you, also gives a higher sense of purpose. Humans naturally search for a meaning in life, and the answer to that may be different for everyone, but what spirituality and religion help to provide is that sense of purpose. Several studies have shown that when a person has spiritual or religious qualities they are much more likely to succeed on their journey to sobriety, that is because they have a better sense of purpose. Just by being able to see the bigger picture, people are able to stay driven and motivated, making an incredible contribution to a successful sobriety.
Either way, a big part of many recovery programs is based upon the belief in a higher power. The majority of 12-step groups are centered around the belief that there is something greater than ourselves. The most widespread and successful 12-step drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). For both of these programs the first 3 steps, if not all 12, are centered around this idea. The first step is “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.” The second step is “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The third, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
So, if it weren’t for being religious, or having some degree of spirituality, most people who are now enjoying the benefits of sobriety would not have made it to where they are today. Regardless of what you believe in, there is hope for recovery. No person is ever too far gone to save. We all have a purpose in life, and if you are struggling with an addiction to any drugs or alcohol, we will help you find yours on the road to recovery! It does not matter what you believe, we are all worth saving.