Practicing Spirituality In Recovery

What brings you a sense of peace, what fills your spirit, what helps you find meaning in life? The answer to those questions are what I believe are the answer to what is spirituality? Answering those questions is essential to having recovery that lasts. Practicing spirituality in recovery is how we start to feel whole again.

What Is Spirituality

When I talk with clients about having a spiritual practice, most of them share their experience with religion. I believe that religious practices can be a part of spirituality, but I think it goes farther than that. One of the definitions I found on spirituality is “the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”

Spirituality Versus Religion

While many people go right to their religious beliefs when asked about spirituality they are not the same thing. Religion brings with it an organized set of beliefs and rituals. Spirituality on the other hand is unique to the individual. It is a more personal search for meaning and peace, a search for connection with the Universe.

Finding Yourself Through Spirituality

Addiction will take everything from you if you let it. It goes to the core of who we are and depletes us from having any sense of self-worth. Spirituality is the answer to coming back to self. When we are active in our addiction it consumes us. It impacts our relationships, our health, our thoughts become distorted, we lose sight of our values and doubt our abilities. Practicing spirituality can be an act of self-love that can turn things back around. It can help you find yourself and feel more connected in the world again.

What Are Spiritual Practices


What is good in your world? What can you feel some appreciation for? If you are breathing you have something to be grateful for. If you have a roof over your head, if you are reading this article, if you have a job even one you don’t like, these are things to be thankful for. If we just stop for a moment and start to look at what we do have rather than what is wrong in our world, it is possible to move into a place of hope. If you can find even a few things that are right with where you are in the world now, maybe all is not lost.

Spend Time In Nature

For me this is my go to when I am feeling down. It can be as simple as a walk in the park and sitting on the grass just being in the moment. Or a 4-hour hike in the mountains somewhere. Listening to ocean sounds or the sound of a thunderstorm are also very calming for me. If for some reason nature isn’t your thing, what is your happy place, where do you feel a sense of peace and belonging? Where do you get a sense that you aren’t alone in this life?

Use Your Journal

Use it to process whatever is coming up, just write. Or, use the SOBER acronym, Stop, Observe, Breathe, Expand, Respond. Write out what is going on, what are you feeling, what are you noticing, what things led up to this moment, what do you need? Don’t stop and filter it, write it all down. If it feels safe share it with someone. If not just allow yourself to be with whatever is there.

Meditation and Mindfulness Practices

Meditation has had a place in treatment and recovery from addiction for a while now and it has been shown to improve treatment outcomes. Meditation is helpful in lowering stress and anxiety, lessening muscle tension in the body, lowering the heart rate. Mindfulness brings you into the present moment and helps you to be grounded in the now.


Practicing yoga, tai chi, or qi gong can all be considered spiritual practices. They are forms of movement meditation that allow you to be in the present moment, let go of the worry and stresses in your life.

Why Again Is This A Thing?

If addiction was just about stopping the substance, once we detoxed, or took a break from the behavior we would be done. It would be out of our system and time to just move on. Relapse and cravings would not be a thing. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

Is the spiritual component the answer? I believe it is a big part of it. A spiritual practice can create a safe place to help us feel more at peace, able to look at the why and what of our addiction. These practices can help us let go of the past and heal from resentments or traumas that create the need to escape our life. They can also allow us to be in a place to face the guilt and shame of what we have been through and what we have done with some self compassion.

Start Your Practice

If you are new to practicing spirituality, just pick one of the above options and add it into your life for 30 days. Find a you tube video of a yoga or meditation practice that appeals to you and try to do it daily. Or start with 10 to 15 minutes of daily journaling and incorporate the gratitude list into your journaling. If you prefer the outdoors, join a hiking club or just find a place in nature that you enjoy and spend some time just taking it in.

This is by no means an all inclusive list, there are many ways to start a spiritual practice, the idea is to pick something that resonates with you that you will stick.

Peace and Joy on your recovery path!



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