Cultivating Your Own Recovery and Spirituality
It’s no mystery that addiction creates feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. So naturally, in order to recover from the addiction – be it food, substance, or a behavior – a person must find that which will give them hope and a sense of empowerment.
Believing in a Higher Power, whatever that means to you, is a way to get out of the driver seat, and listen to something that is actually bigger than the addictive voice itself.
Power Up and Plug In
Considering powerlessness is a hard one for most. It’s a major blow to the ego. The reality is that you are not powerless as a person. I don’t believe anyone is a powerless person, but I do believe addiction can blanket someone’s inherent power. It severs the connection to the inherent part of ourselves that can rise above and transcend. In order to right size addiction, we need to power up and plug into the ultimate power within: our soul.
The challenge for many is that by the time they are looking for solutions, they are so disconnected that they cannot hear their guidance. I understand this; I have been there. One time that stands out to me was when I was lying on the hospital floor in the fetal position, completely defeated and lost. I cried out to God/The Universe, “I give up! Help me! I can’t do this! I can’t do this!” I was in treatment for anorexia and I had nothing left.
My eating disorder took every inch of my sanity and left me a hollow shell. Yet, looking back, I can recall multiple times that the soft whispers of my soul, got me to do something to keep me alive. The night I ate enough to make sure my heart would keep beating. The day that, even though I felt like I was dying, I got up and ate. Those moments were moments when something bigger than me took over and got me to put food in my mouth. And with enough of them strung together, I remained alive. This is the work of the great love of the Divine. I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
In my opinion, recovery is a deeply spiritual process. Whether you believe in God (or whatever you want to call this great Love) or not, anything that takes you through the dark night of the soul and spits you back out stronger and more connected, is spiritual. The unraveling and the reworking of every square inch of your mind, body, and spirit is what it is all about. Spirituality isn’t just some man on a cloud in the sky. It’s the destruction of what is false and the birth of what is real. If recovering from an addiction is not this experience, what is?
Being forced to trust, have faith, and practice surrendering is a spiritual journey. Our ego doesn’t choose these things. This is the working of the soul, asking us to break free from our limited interpretations of reality and allow something else to protect and nourish us. The only way I have been able to learn how to be kind to myself is through my spiritual life. My inner-voice was so critical, so haunting, that I couldn’t even work with it. I had to connect to a different part of me, the real me, in order to be able to transcend. I still have to rely on my soul to help me to make changes. Some days I am free and some days I am not. But if I let go of judgement, then I am just walking my path like everyone else. This is spiritual. Spirituality is not no pain, no struggle, and repeating hymnals. It’s about being real and navigating the beauty and the challenges of life.
Creating a Relationship With Spirituality
In the beginning of recovery, many find it hard to create this relationship with spirituality. They hold lofty ideals and fears about what spirituality will mean for them – they have blocks. And because there are so many blocks around spirituality in the world of recovery, I want to take a moment to explore what I have seen hinder people from establishing a meaningful connection.
- Block #1: Using an outdated model of religion or spirituality that made sense to them when they were younger, but no longer fits.
- Block #2: Letting negative past experiences influence the possibility of a loving, accepting, spiritual connection from coming into their lives now.
- Block #3: Following the herd and trying to apply what the majority of others believe, when it’s not really something that opens your heart.
If this is you, take a look at my Spiritual Hacks to get started on creating a deeper relationship with the spiritual you.
- Spiritual Hack #1: Let yourself explore different philosophies that seem interesting to you. Spirituality can be fun and interesting if you don’t have to play by someone else’s rules.
- Spiritual Hack #2: Notice if your own prejudices (based on past experience) are coming up and be willing to talk through how you felt when you were put in situations. Get mad. Use your voice. Take pen to paper and write how you wanted to have been treated in that circumstance. You deserve to be happy in free in your spiritual life.
- Spiritual Hack #3: Write. Write to whatever that greater power is, and start to ask for It to guide you to finding the right path. Keep your eyes, ears, and heart open for little clues. We are always being guided.
Once you find what makes sense to you, spend time to cultivate it. This can be five minutes a day, if that is all you can muster. Something is always better than nothing. Remember, this is your personal relationship to God/The Universe. You get to determine how much time you need to feed this part of you.
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