Recovery Pathways: Spirituality
In the recovery community, spirituality is believed to be foundational to the recovery journey. Now, spirituality is not synonymous with religion or even a belief in a higher power. Instead, spirituality should be defined by the individual. Loosely, spirituality is an aspect of the human experience that refers to how individuals seek and embrace purpose, meaning, and connection to self and others. Spirituality may also include connection to a higher power or the highest self. However, this is not a requirement to experience a fulfilling spiritual practice. There are many ways that spirituality can benefit a recovery journey and many ways to build spiritual practice.
Empathy and Compassion
A solid spiritual practice can foster empathy and compassion towards the self and towards others. Many spiritual paths include beliefs in unconditional love and forgiveness. When applied to one’s life, these principles can support the recovery journey and help the individual break free from shame.
Spiritual practices can aid in the acceptance and processing of complex or negative experiences and emotions. Shadow work and meditation can both support the process of acceptance. Acceptance is pivotal in recovery, as it allows the individual to discern when they can easily handle a given situation and when only their own reactions can be managed.
Spiritual practice can support the recovering individual in finding a greater purpose in life. Purpose can bring more profound meaning, joy, passion, and direction to one’s life. Many people find purpose in service to others. The intersection where passion meets service to others can often provide a meaningful purpose. Often, purpose is confused with a career, title, or education. It is undoubtedly true that many people are able to monetize their purpose, making that purpose a viable career option. Still, purpose can be found in activities like volunteering time, energy, and skills to those in need of the individual’s gifts.
Spiritual practice can enhance one’s sense of interconnectedness with humanity and foster tangible connections with a specific community. Faith communities such as churches, temples, mosques, and circles are all types of faith communities where the individual can find support and fellowship. Many faith communities sponsor recovery groups as well. For those who do not feel drawn to communities of faith, secular mindfulness communities, yoga communities, and meditation groups can be a source of connection.
Creating Spiritual Practice
Spiritual practice is exactly that, a practice. It must be nurtured daily to be effective. Some ways to foster spiritual practice include yoga, meditation, gratitude, art, music, and time spent in nature. When these activities are approached with intent and mindfulness, they can help the individual deepen their spiritual connections. Some people will find it beneficial to create a sort of altar or sacred space in their home that can be dedicated to their spiritual practice. These sacred spaces can be filled with motivating, inspirational, or sentimental décor and items that hold spiritual meaning.