80 years ago, the treatment options for addiction were pretty limited. People with alcohol use disorders might have been committed to psychiatric institutions or else were left to die from their condition. AA was a big improvement, using introspection, fellowship, and spiritual awakening to help people quit drinking. In the years since, faith has played an important role in helping people manage their addictions. However, in recent years, we’ve also seen many improvements in evidence-based methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, treatments for co-occurring conditions, and medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and disulfiram. With the rise of these methods, is there still a place for spirituality in addiction treatment?
In short, spirituality does have a place in modern addiction treatment, but it is also wide open to interpretation. Some 12-step members tend to define spirituality as religious devotion and this approach seems to work for them. Others find it too dogmatic and are turned off the 12-step approach entirely. However, if religious devotions speaks to you and, more importantly, connects you to a sober community, it may be a valuable source of strength for recovery.
Most people will tend to think of spirituality more broadly. Conceptions of spirituality typically include elements such as acting in accord with your deepest values, contributing to a cause greater than yourself, promoting harmony in your community, finding purpose in your life, or looking for your place in the universe. All of these are positive ways to live and will likely contribute to your recovery.
Very often, addiction is driven by pain and a feeling that some deep needs are going unmet. Often, we aren’t even sure what these needs are. These needs typically include love, acceptance, social connection, and a sense of purpose. One might just as easily classify these as psychological or emotional needs. The distinction hardly matters, but some people connect more with the idea of spiritual healing than the more clinical idea of satisfying psychological needs. As long as you are taking a broad view and addressing the root causes of your addiction, you will have a stronger recovery.
Nor should you make the mistake of thinking spiritual healing is enough. The causes of addiction are psychological, physical, social, and spiritual. People who don’t succeed with 12-step programs often find there is too much emphasis on the spiritual, and not enough on the other aspects. Someone with an opioid use disorder, for example, will almost always have a more successful recovery with the help of medication. That doesn’t mean, though, that addressing the spiritual aspects of recovery isn’t also important.
Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
For information on our programs,
call us today: 561-841-1296.