Contributor: Staff at 7 Bridges Recovery
Spirituality can be perceived as uplifting, exciting, essential or as new age madness, depending on the beliefs of the person using the word. The influence of spirituality in recovery can mean different things to different people.
It can mean interacting with higher beings and angels, using prayer or ritual to connect with the Creator, working with spirit guides, or manipulating cosmic energy.
Regardless of how the word is interpreted, spirituality simply involves seeking support from a Universal force outside of oneself.
During the recovery journey, relying on a higher power is essential. Addiction is larger than any individual human and influences all aspects of life – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Healing and achieving wellness occur when all of these elements are in alignment and balance.
Traditionally, medical institutions and addiction recovery centers have defined treating mind, body and spirit to mean educating and communicating with the patient (mind), treating the disease and/or symptoms (body) and accommodating and respecting the patient’s religious beliefs (spirit).
But in reality, treating the spirit is more extensive than prayer or religious ritual. Because spirit is energy, energetic healing is essential.
The Existence of the Soul
In the context of this article, spirituality is defined as acknowledging the existence of and nurturing the essence of the soul. Spirit is actually the cosmic energy that fuels life. The entity that gives a body life is the soul.
This vital force energy of the soul originates from some creative source in the Universe. How one defines the source is not important. Simply acknowledging that spirit energy is the fuel that supports life and health is a vital step toward recovery and wellness.
The Misalignment of the Mind, Body, and Spirit
Addiction occurs because of a misalignment between mind, body, and/or spirit and is a symptom of the absence of balance and peace. We can educate our minds about the causes and consequences of addiction. We can share our experiences with others and attempt to create mental breakthroughs.
We can address addiction using nutrition, exercise, supplements, and practices to strengthen the body. But, the magic in addiction recovery lies in the influence of spirituality and empowering and healing the spirit.
Inspiration is fundamental to recovery. The word literally means to infuse with spirit. Inspiration can occur in a variety of ways. Requesting help from a higher power through prayer, connecting with Universal energy and balancing it in the body through energetic therapy, practicing active exercise such as yoga or tai chi, and quieting the mind through practices such as meditation all inspire and facilitate soul-level healing.
Transformation then occurs when mind, body, emotion and spirit are balanced and well.
The Role of Prescription Drugs
Addiction proliferates in a society in which taking a pill is the recommended solution for virtually every problem.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 1 in 5 Americans currently uses anti-anxiety medications and acknowledges that in 2013, prescription drug abuse surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the number one killer of Americans.
It is not surprising that the use of mind-altering drugs leads to drug abuse. What is surprising is that most rehabilitation models introduce pharmaceutical drugs – artificial chemical agents into a body that is already overwhelmed and broken by drugs. Chemicals are unnatural and create an imbalance in the influence of spirituality and spiritual energy, therefore disconnecting the body from its vital force.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Great strides in addiction recovery have been realized by utilizing Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Alternative therapies such as yoga, crystal bio-mat treatments, and acupuncture help detoxify, strengthen and balance the body.
These therapies work in synchronicity with the energetic body to influence healing. Supporting these therapies by introducing oral supplements that provide essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids targeted at detoxifying and nourishing the brain are also beneficial.
These approaches are consistent with the principles of ayurvedic medicine and have proven especially effective in treating substance addiction. Clearing and strengthening vital force energy and empowering the soul using alternative therapies integrate the treatment of mind body and spirit.
The Burden of Recovery
The road to recovery from any addiction is fraught with challenges and peril. Recovery is not for the timid. And, as anyone who is on this journey can attest, its burden is too cumbersome to be carried alone.
The influence of spirituality shows in a number of ways. Not only acknowledging the existence of a higher power, but actually integrating the strength and support of that power through energetic therapy provides relief and infuses revitalizing strength into the recovery journey.
About the Author:
Dr. Judith Miller, PhD is a CAC III and creator of the 7 Bridges Recovery program. Fundamental to the program is the utilization of alternative therapies in addition to individual and group counseling supplemented by the traditional 12 steps.
Dr. Miller serves on the Colorado Attorney General’s committee on Prescription Drug Abuse and is a registered psychotherapist. She is the Executive Director of Courage to Change Ranches and the Serendipity Mountain Lodge – Colorado-based residential recovery centers for chemical dependency and prescription drug addiction. For more information, please visit www.c2cranches.org.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addiction. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on February 27th, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com