Getting Religious or Finding a Higher Power?

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope

group of happy friends meeting and talkingAddiction is a powerful force that is rooted in many complex factors – including biological components, environmental/social issues, and behavioral factors. Because of the complicated nature of addiction, treatment approaches must also be varied, in that they are able to address each different facet involved with addiction and recovery.

This often involves an integration of medical care and treatment with therapeutic approaches, all which work together to help a person effectively overcome their struggle with addiction.

What about an approach that involves a spiritual perspective or religious incorporation within addiction treatment? Is practicing religion or finding a higher power a necessary part of addiction treatment, and what does this look like in recovery?

Approaches Vary By the Individual

Treatment is as unique as the individuals who are recovering from addiction, and it is important to be aware that not every approach will be appropriate for everybody. Many people recovering from addiction often attempt several different treatment options before finding what is right and work well for him or her.

For some recovering individuals, finding purpose and fulfillment through religion or a higher power offers them the motivation they need to overcome their addiction. By having faith in something greater than them, individuals who turn to religion often find a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and hope in their recovery journey.

Hope, which can be defined as a belief that difficult conditions and challenges can be overcome, is a key component of recovery. For some individuals, putting trust and belief in a higher power can help build a sense of hope or encourage an individuals’ ability to cope with adversities or obstacles.

Combining Recovery Approaches to Meet Your Needs

Woman relaxingSome people have found that a combination of spiritual and traditional approaches to addiction treatment is effective in leading to recovery. The component of spirituality in addiction treatment is a concept that began in the 1930s with the development of Alcoholics Anonymous, a support group for those overcoming an addiction to alcohol.

Today, many treatment centers are faith-based, or integrate a spiritual component to their treatment approaches. Many support groups that exist today are also twelve step based, which are founded on a set of spiritual principles for overcoming addiction.

The initial 12 steps involve recognizing a higher power that can restore sanity, making a decision to turn one’s will and life over to the care of God, and ultimately having a spiritual awakening as a result of following the twelve steps for overcoming addiction.

Finding a 12-Step Group

If you are interested in learning more about how spirituality or practicing faith can help support your recovery from addiction, consider becoming involved with a 12-step group. A variety of groups exist across the United States, most, which are free of charge.

Groups are offered for a multitude of addictions, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous and more! Starting out with one of these groups can help give you a better understanding as to how spirituality can be incorporated into addiction treatment and ultimately help you in your own journey.

Recovery from addiction is something that usually involves the multiple facets of a human being’s existence, include our physicality, mentality, emotionality, and spirituality. While practicing an active faith in a higher power may not be right for everyone in recovery from addiction, it can be an effective component of treatment for many individuals.

Finding a Church Support Group

Handsome man outdoors portrait with a retro vintage instagram fiIf you are seeking to build your faith and spirituality in your own life, consider becoming involved in a local church as well. Many churches offer support groups for individuals recovering from addiction, and you can likely become involved and participate in various activities that lead to spiritual growth as well as recovery from addiction.

Finding faith and believing in something greater than yourself may be a key to establishing hope and overcoming the powerful nature of addiction in your own life. Your life is worthy of recovery, and finding hope can help you understand how valuable you really are.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience with religion in addiction recovery? What advice would you share with others who are searching for faith in their own journey?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 1st, 2015
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