How Spirituality Treatments Work in Treating Addiction

Spirituality Treatments In Treating Addiction - Freedom From Addiction

Spirituality has come to play a significant role in substance abuse treatment. While many may confuse spirituality with religion, the two are fundamentally different. Spirituality involves a search for meaning, an increased state of awareness, and a connection to something bigger than ourselves. In this state of heightened awareness, spirituality can also help an individual be honest rather than continuing to be in denial and repressing feelings, which is common in those abusing alcohol or drugs.

There are many ways to embrace your spirituality while in recovery.  Meditation, conscious connection, mindfulness, and, for some, prayer can help with one’s spirituality or search of meaning in their lives.

Twelve-Step programs also include a component of spirituality. Since spirituality suggests that a person’s search for meaning does not have to be through the lens of religion, it also allows us to recognize that there is something bigger than what we see in our day-to-day lives. Because of this, sobriety can help one regain their spirituality and become comfortable with the unknown and uncertain.

In recovery, individuals are often encouraged to change the people, places, and things that have associations with their past substance abuse and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Spirituality can fill those spaces with meaning and purpose outside of oneself rather than replace it with other unhealthy choices, habits, or substances.

Some Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery include:

  • Individuals with some connection to religion or spirituality are less likely to consume alcohol or other drugs, as well as use moderation when they do use. Having meaning and purpose has been shown to decrease risks and participation in unhealthy behaviors.
  • Spirituality can facilitate recovery from substance abuse disorder. Some research has shown that clients who score higher on measures of spirituality are more likely to remain sober following treatment than those with lower scores.
  • Spirituality is absent of religion. Being spiritually “awakened” doesn’t have anything to do with following any religious laws, which helps individuals feel free to explore their spirituality, giving a sense of direction to those struggling with alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Spirituality can be a form of connection with culture and family rituals. Those in recovery tend to express a difference in the dynamics of their family and cultural connections when using. Having spiritual connection can be a form of staying connected to family and cultural values and beliefs.
  • Spirituality can be a kind of validation and approval to live a life worth living.

Spirituality can hold the space in the lives of those who abused substances abuse where life became primarily focused on using. Individuals now have an opportunity to make their choices and discover how they want to live and what their beliefs will be. Most people have different meanings and understandings of spirituality and the meaning and purpose of their life. What is clear is that finding meaning and connecting with something more than ourselves facilitates the journey to recovery.

If you or someone you know is experiencing addiction, developing an adequate treatment plan is essential to achieve recovery. A free service like Freedom From Addiction can be of help to explore the different treatment options available. For 24/7 assistance, call 1.855.RECOVER or 1.855.732.6837.


Dr. Rachel Needle has specialized training in the area of substance use disorders. She is a professional consultant to substance abuse facilities and assists them in expanding and enhancing clinical programming. Dr. Needle also does expert training on the topic of substance abuse, mental illness, and sexual health for staff members at residential and outpatient facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance use disorders. 

| Facebook: Dr. Rachel Twitter: @DrRachelNeedle

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