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The Roles of Science and Spirituality in Recovering From Addiction

Beyond putting down the bottle, beyond steeling your mind against temptation, a successful and lasting recovery hinges upon a deep personal transformation. You can achieve this transformation through the combination of science-based treatments for the body, personal care for the mind, and spiritual nourishment for the soul. Both the scientific and spiritual components of recovery are crucial to a lasting change of lifestyle and mindset. Set yourself up for a better life by choosing a path to recovery that nurtures every part of you.

Recovery Has Multiple Components

Addiction doesn’t develop in a vacuum. Breaking your habits and adopting a healthier lifestyle means taking an honest look at the factors that contribute to your destructive urges; otherwise, you can heal the symptom without affecting the cause. Even if you can stop using drugs or alcohol, the underlying motivators may simply lead you to develop new addictions in their place. While each person’s process and needs are different, a comprehensive recovery will usually entail addressing three separate components of your life. First, you’ll have to go through detox, withdrawal, and treat the bodily symptoms and consequences of your habits. These range from mild withdrawal side effects to the full-blown, life-threatening physical and mental reactions that can arise from discontinued use of substances like heroin or barbiturates. No matter how strong your faith or how useful your spiritual practices, the chemical component of your recovery will be best served by professional medical treatment.

Evidence-Based Treatment

“Evidence-based” treatment is exactly what it sounds like. Certain forms of treatment have been proven to be especially effective in managing and healing addiction and related symptoms, from medical detox to the application of cognitive-behavioral and dialectical-behavioral therapies in one-on-one therapy sessions. Our current understanding is that addiction is a disease that roots in your brain and no amount of prayer or mindfulness exercises can break the chemical and behavioral patterns that form in the subconscious. Depending on the resources you draw on throughout your healing process, you may find yourself with options that include prescribed medication, medically-assisted detox, individual or group therapy, and behavioral approaches to changing your life. You’ll work with your recovery professionals to choose a treatment path that best meets your needs.

Spirituality, Sobriety, and You

Critical though evidence-based treatment may be, it’s not the only tool you can use to bolster your recovery. Medical attention and effective therapy can provide you with the resources and structure to move past your obstacles and rebuild your life. Spiritual sources can give you the personal determination and internal understanding you need to make it through those changes while keeping your mind and emotions in balance. Spirituality means something different to each person. In the context of recovering from addiction, it tends to mean connecting with ideas, resources, tools, and people who help you foster an inner sense of peace and acceptance with yourself and your place in the world. For some, this can mean placing your faith in the God of a religion, while others might find solace in surrendering to the whims of the unknowable universe.  Whatever you choose to believe or adopt, the essence of spirituality tends to lie in giving up a certain amount of personal control over your life and, in doing so, acknowledging that you must turn to outside sources for help instead of trying to bear your burdens alone.

Bringing Spirituality Into Your Life

Spirituality plays an important role in 12-Step programs and other recovery groups. Accepting a “higher power” into your life is often central to relinquishing a person’s desperate clinging to external sources of denial and release, however destructive they may be. Once you’ve let go of your old ways, spirituality can guide you towards rebuilding your life more healthily. The goal is not only to undo unhealthy elements of your mindset but to replace them with better ones. Depending on your history and perspective, you can incorporate spirituality into your life by attending intentional gatherings that emphasize a higher power; attending inspiring events, speakers, or ceremonies; spending time in nature; meditating, adopting mindfulness techniques, and practicing ego reduction; and numerous other methods that have existed for as long as civilization.  To be clear, seeking spirituality does not mean that you must change your faith or synthesize belief into a religion to succeed. As long as you can find yourself uplifted and energized positively by something outside yourself, you’ll be able to head in a beneficial direction. Addiction may be one of the most difficult challenges you ever face. Far from being a sign of weakness, getting professional help is a wise investment into your future happiness. Try as you might, it can be frustratingly difficult to fight the learned cycles of chemical dependence on your own. A complete recovery is likely to mean obtaining clarity and healing on multiple fronts, from your subconscious mind to the physical processes of your brain. If you or a loved one are ready to rise above substance abuse for good, reach out to Cornerstone Healing Center. Our down-to-earth facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, combines an evidence-based treatment approach with compassionate, individualized care by experts who know the importance of treating you as a person, not just a collection of symptoms. Get the help you need to rebuild your life and achieve your potential. Call us at (800) 643-2108 to learn more.
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