8 Ways to Incorporate Spirituality in Your Recovery

a woman standing on top of the mountain praying to God
This entry was posted in 12 Steps, Healthy Living, Inspiration on by .

Taking the steps to get clean or sober is a massive investment in your life and it is one that will require much of your time, attention, and dedication. For many of us, making that commitment means making it a full commitment, integrating every part of your mind, body, and soul. Unfortunately, many modern treatment programs address only physical and mental health and leave out spirituality.

Today’s recovery programs like 12-step all involve Christian principles and some steps to integrate spirituality. That’s also true for many other recovery programs. However, truly building spirituality into your recovery means doing so on your own, finding your own path, and integrating your own spirituality. The following 8 ways to incorporate spirituality into your recovery will get you started. 

What is Spirituality?

Many people will give a different definition of spirituality. However, in its simplest form, spirituality is about recognizing that there is more to the world than material or physical things. That can mean finding belief that there is something greater than yourself, whether cosmic, divine, or simply that you are part of a greater whole.

Many people also meet spirituality with resistance. However, there’s a difference between realizing that you are just part of a greater whole and picking a specific belief or religion to follow. Spirituality can mean getting to feel part of a greater whole in a yoga class, it can mean meditating and giving yourself time to recover spiritually, it can mean many things. Every person has to find what works for them. And, when you do, it’s proven to improve stress, improve focus, help you with self-control, and can help you to find meaning and purpose in life.

a free man, spirituality concept

8 Ways to Incorporate Spirituality

These 8 ways to incorporate spirituality into your recovery will get you started. However, it’s important to bring your own idea of spirituality into whatever you try.

1. Go to Self Help Groups

Self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, LifeRing Recovery, SMART Recovery, and many others all have a strong focus on spirituality. In fact, one of the 12 steps is to recognize a greater power than yourself, and many 12 step groups now allow you to determine what that power is. That strong focus on spirituality can help you to directly integrate it into your recovery, as many of them deliberately use spirituality as a tool for motivation, finding peace with yourself, and moving on. If you can recover your ego and sense of self, which spirituality helps you to do, you can make much larger steps into recovery, which is often why so many self-help groups use spirituality.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of living in the moment and consciously directing outward attention to what you are doing. That process means dropping a lot of the living in your head, the worry, the trains of thought that lead to anxiety and stress because you’re not focusing on those, you’re focusing on what you’re doing. In some cases, that means learning to be nonjudgmental of your thoughts. It also means not following them. It means paying attention to the thing you are doing right now – and that can require practice and training. Mindfulness is more and more often part of rehab and recovery, but you can always take classes to help you learn it. In addition, you can practice yoga, tai chi, or meditation. There are plenty of resources that can help you to be more mindful.

3.  Attend Spiritual Gatherings

Whether you’re going to church, meetups, or anything else, being social is an important part of being spiritual. Find and attend gatherings with likeminded people, talk to them, and take part in spirituality together. Spirituality doesn’t have to be religion. Therefore, if you want to find spirituality in mindfulness or something like tai chi, you could go to those gatherings and learn with others. The important thing is that you get to connect to others, as a regular part of your practice.

4. Take Time

Any spiritual practice means taking time for that practice. Whether you’re meditating, praying, or connecting with nature doesn’t matter. Make time for it, regularly, and commit to spending time on it. Recovery often means having routines, and integrating spirituality into those routines is a must. For example, you might want to start meditating or praying before bed. You might want to do the same when you wake up. Making your spiritual practices part of your everyday ritual will help you to create and sustain that ritual, while helping you to feel peace and contentment with yourself.

a young woman writing her thoughts in her journal

5. Journal Your Thoughts 

Writing down your thoughts and breaking them down or taking them to therapy can be a very easy way to connect spirituality to your daily recovery. For example, you can document your thoughts, feelings, emotions, cravings, pain, and experiences, look at them in the light of your spirituality, and write a response. Journaling can be powerful, even from the perspective of just writing things down. However, you can make it part of your spiritual practice. For example, “What would Jesus do” is a tactic where you can look at your day, decide what you could have improved based on that question, what steps you should take tomorrow, etc., and find peace with yourself, while relieving stress.

6. Accept and Acknowledge Responsibility

One of the hardest parts of recovery is acknowledging that you are responsible for yourself without then being overwhelmed with guilt. That’s one of the largest roles of spirituality in many recovery programs. For you alone, guilt is a wound and it does nothing but hurt. When you look at yourself as being a tiny part of the whole, guilt can be a roadmap to improve for the future. “I made mistakes here, in the past, and here’s how I will avoid those mistakes in the future”. Your spirituality provides the framework for making the better decisions, so you have a place in the world and you fit into it in a way that you want.

7. An Active Role in Your Life

If you are actively working to make spirituality have a role in your life, you can allow it to guide your decisions, shape your worldview, and shape your recovery. You are part of a greater whole, and that means taking responsibility for your path. How that guides you depends on your spirituality, your goals, and what your recovery looks like, but it is important that it be part of your life.

8.  Practice Gratitude

It doesn’t matter what you practice or believe, gratitude should always be an important part of spirituality. And, actively practicing gratitude can help you to be more aware of the good things that do happen in your life. It can help you to better understand what you enjoy. To focus on what you should do to feel better every day. And, it can give you the tools to understand what it is you need more of. Practicing gratitude can be a simple matter of stopping and taking time to be grateful when something good happens or in the moment. It can also mean taking time out to write out gratitude at the end of every day.

Spirituality is part of life. For most of us, it’s important to mental and physical health. So, it makes sense to integrate it into every aspect of your life, including your daily practice of recovery. While spirituality itself changes a great deal depending on you, the act and practice of it should always be part of your recovery.

About Jim Sugel

SEO and Digital Marketing Expert Jim Sugel is an SEO and Digital Marketing Expert in addition to having achieved the coveted Google Partner status for PPC expertise. Prior to focusing on Digital Marketing, Jim worked in Information Technology roles at a variety of national firms as a software engineer and consultant, resulting in many years of professional coding and consulting experience. Jim holds a Bachelor of Science, cum laude in Computer Science and Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. After relocating to Southern California from his native Chicago, he became involved in the recovery industry here, discovering a natural niche in helping treatment centers with Digital Marketing and other technology projects. Jim is the Founder and CEO of Airtight Digital, a firm that specializes in digital marketing for the behavioral health industry. His other interests include hiking, canyoneering, urban exploration, and screenwriting. Jim now lives in beautiful and sunny Orange County, California.