There are many paths to recovery.
For some people, their recovery does not include a spiritual or religious component. For others, it is an absolutely critical part of their successful journey. They find that they learn valuable lessons from their faith that keep them on track as they continue to live each day substance free.
Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, supports both spiritual and non-spiritual recovery. We’re committed to helping you find a path to lasting sobriety that best fits your unique needs.
What Is Spirituality?
When some people hear the word spirituality, they immediately think of attending church and praying. These can certainly be components of spiritual life, but they are not the only activities a person can engage in which might be labeled spiritual. Other activities encouraged by Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, which can be spiritual include:
- Quiet reflection
- Long walks
- Some types of social gatherings
- Communing with nature
How Does Spirituality Aid Recovery?
For many people, spirituality can bring a sense of hope and order to an otherwise chaotic or seemingly purposeless existence. According to an article by the American Psychological Association (APA), spirituality can offer:
- Spiritual support from God or a higher power
- Rituals to facilitate life transitions
- Spiritual forgiveness
- Support from a religious institution or clergy
- Reframing a stressful situation into a larger, more benevolent system of meaning
Psychology Today shared a post on their website, by a person in recovery, who described the importance of faith in recovery, “If you want to recover, you need something much greater than mere abstinence. Yes, you need time for your brain to heal, but you also need a total change of character and heart. Through spiritual practices, including working the Steps, praying, and meditating, you can actually be transformed into the person you were meant to be.”
The APA article adds that empirical studies have shown spirituality to be especially helpful when dealing with major life stressors such as natural disaster, illness, loss of loved ones, divorce, and serious mental illness—especially for people with the fewest resources, facing the most uncontrollable of problems.
A Higher Power
There are several recovery programs, that reference spirituality to a greater or lesser extent. Three of these are:
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Celebrate Recovery
All three of these are 12-Step programs, which share the belief that faith in and surrender to a higher power is essential to recovery. While AA and NA both use only the language “higher power” to reference an entity greater than ourselves, allowing those in recovery to define their God in their own terms, Celebrate Recovery specifically identifies as a Christ-centered 12-Step program.
AA and NA are more likely to provide a comfortable environment for a person who identifies with a faith outside Christianity. People who feel that their faith aligns closely with Christian theology may find Celebrate Recovery to be a suitable environment in which to practice and grow their recovery.
Another distinction between these groups tends to be the frequency with which they meet. AA and NA groups often meet weekly and there may be multiple meetings available in a single geographic area, to the point that a person could attend one or more meetings per day in some communities. Celebrate Recovery may only meet monthly and has not yet spread as widely as AA and NA (there are only two locations in Virginia currently), so a person may not be able to attend multiple meetings. In addition, while AA and NA may meet in a place of worship, they may also meet other places. Celebrate Recovery is almost always held in a church.
There are some people who do not identify with spirituality or religion, and who feel uncomfortable with that portion of other recovery programs. SMART Recovery is one alternative available for such people. While SMART Recovery welcomes people who identify as religious or spiritual, it is not viewed as being a requirement to successfully attain recovery. The program is based on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a therapeutic method related to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Instead of adhering to the 12-Steps, SMART Recovery focuses on four key areas for awareness and change:
1. Enhancing motivation
2. Refusing to act on urges to use
3. Managing life’s problems in a sensible and effective way without substances
4. Developing a positive, balanced, and healthy lifestyle
Like Celebrate Recovery, SMART Recovery does not yet offer the number of face-to-face meetings a person might be able to attend through AA or NA. There are three weekly face-to-face meetings currently in Virginia, according to their website. SMART Recovery does offer online meetings, however.
Whether religion and spirituality are important to you or not, Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, is ready to assist you in creating a plan that will address your unique recovery needs.