Written by Mercedes Miller
The second step in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity, and this theme of spirituality and a greater power is seen throughout the other steps.
This thread of spirituality was not placed throughout these steps by accident, it was a wise and intentional choice. Addiction can take a lot away from your life, including your spirituality.
Deepak Chopra has even said that a loss of spirituality, a lost connection to our soul, is at the root of addiction – and the only cure for addiction is spiritual. Having a feeling of spirituality can ignite a sense of purpose within us and improve our self-worth, which can all make the journey of recovery a little bit easier.
A commitment to spirituality can seem daunting: commitment to a certain text and belief system, ceremonies and rituals and a whole new community of believers. But is that what spirituality really is? What I just explained is more a definition of religion, and while religion and spirituality go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. Religion is a set of beliefs and practices and belief in a certain God(s), while spirituality is more about a personal search for meaning and connection to something larger than ourselves.
Spirituality is ever evolving and expressing it through religion may work well for some, but for others an exploration of other methods of expression can feel more genuine. This exploration may include practices such as yoga and meditation, or it can be found in practices as simple as making art, music or walking in nature.
What is important to remember is that everyone’s spiritual journey will be different, and what may work well for one person, may not work well at all for another. It is about feeling a connection and finding activities in your life that help improve that connection, and it is grounded in feelings of love and compassion.
Spirituality in recovery can give you back a sense of belonging in the world and a connection to yourself and something greater that addiction took away, therefore spiritual self-care is incredibly important.
Spiritual self-care is taking time to do practices or rituals that make you feel connected and have meaning to you. You are allowed to be somewhat of a spiritual tourist: exploring different spiritual activities to find some that fit and feel authentic to you. This journey of rekindling and growing your spirituality doesn’t have to be one that you take alone; although quiet time alone, spent in self-reflection is meaningful and important, sharing your experiences with others can be powerful and reignite a further sense of connection with others in the world.
Here are some practices you are able to try out if you are curious to explore different methods and practices of spirituality:
Go for a walk in nature
Try different types of meditation to find one that works for you (Metta meditation, walking meditation, mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation etc.)
Read a spiritual, religious or inspiring book
Making art or music
This is just a taste of some of the topics we will cover at the last Note to Self: Self-care workshop on spiritual self-care. If you would like to discuss what spirituality means to you, explore your own spiritual journey and have the opportunity to connect and share with others, then we would love to have you join us!
This will be an open, non-judgemental discussion and emphasis will be heavily placed on making everyone feel safe, heard and comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. This workshop will not be focused on promoting one religion or set of beliefs but will rather be focused on an open exploration of everyone’s unique definitions and expressions of spirituality.
If you are interested, this free workshop will be held online via Zoom on May 30th from 2 to 4PM. To receive the Zoom link, please register here. We hope to see you there and look forward to taking on this spirituality exploration with you!
Mercedes Miller is a Masters' student in Counselling Psychology at Adler University and is completing her Social Justice Practicum with Avalon Recovery Society for the 2019/2020 academic year.
Mercedes has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and volunteered at ANOVA, a shelter for women experiencing domestic violence in her hometown of London, Ontario. She says her experiences have led her to be very passionate about feminism and supporting all women.