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Finding Guidance and Support in Spiritual Formation During Addiction Recovery


Much like choosing the right foods to support recovery, finding support in spirituality is often a key aspect of an addiction recovery program. Most people who recover from alcohol and drug addictions or substance use disorders find comfort in a higher power. It was shown in a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment that the connection to a higher power provides a process for finding meaning in often incomprehensible situations. This is one of the many reasons why having that higher power to find support is so important for addiction treatment and mental health recovery.

So, how should you find a connection to a higher power and seek guidance and support in spiritual formation as a critical aspect of your recovery program? And how can addiction treatment and mental health professionals assist you in guiding your spiritual direction? To delve into these profound questions, we must first understand what spiritual formation and spiritual direction are in the context of recovery groups.

These concepts encompass personal growth and indicate a pathway to understanding and overcoming addiction, with a particular emphasis on mental health.

What Is Spiritual Formation?

While often associated with just Christianity, spiritual formation can be defined as the process and ways a person progresses towards their spiritual or religious life. For those who practice Christianity, this may look like “the deepening of one’s relationship with God,” explains the Portland Seminary. But it’s highly complex and seeks to help an individual explore their sense of self in relation to a greater awareness, consciousness, or belief system. The process of spiritual formation involves diving into:

  • Prayer and meditation.
  • Individual and group literature studies.
  • Personal reflection of oneself.
  • Receiving spiritual direction.

For those who do not identify as Christian, there are still many similarities between spiritual formation and different religions and spiritualities. All that matters is that, regardless of which path you choose, the end goal is to find meaning and purpose in your life beyond yourself.

What Is Spiritual Direction?

Once you’ve committed to fortifying your belief in a higher power and addressing substance use disorders as part of your journey, the process of spiritual formation becomes central. In this context, finding a higher power isn’t just a personal quest but a critical component of the twelve steps outlined in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. These twelve steps provide a structured path toward recovery, guiding individuals through acknowledging their addiction, seeking aid from a higher power, and striving toward personal transformation.

Once you have chosen to believe in a higher power and you have gone through that spiritual formation, then comes spiritual direction.

Spiritual direction is defined by Spiritual Life as “taking place when one person (the director) supports and encourages another person (the directee) to attend and respond to” their higher power.

Spiritual directors, also known as spiritual companions, can be found in Christianity, non-denominational churches, and other spiritualities, and they serve as “guides whose purpose is to listen deeply to clients and help them explore their spirituality,” asserts The New York Times.

Following spiritual formation, spiritual direction becomes even more pivotal as those living in recovery may be particularly willing to embrace new ideals and possibilities.

No matter what religion or spirituality you practice, one thing is clear. There are always resources out there, such as spiritual directors, who support you in your spiritual journey and addiction recovery.

How Do You Find Support In Spirituality?

Finding support in spirituality is often a key aspect of addiction recovery. However, one problem that people may have in deepening their spirituality in recovery is knowing where to turn when seeking support.

You can turn to many resources if you need help in your recovery. Some of these resources include:

Spiritual Meeting Groups

Many spiritual groups offer meetings that connect people and help them to deepen their connection with a higher power and maintain sobriety. A good example is an online Buddhist support group, Recovery Dharma, which comprises localized groups of people who form friendships and organize gatherings such as weekly meetings to support each other in their path to recovery.

Addiction Treatment Centers

Addiction treatment centers offer a wide variety of treatment options to help people recover from addiction. Most offer both outpatient and residential options. Addiction treatment centers often encourage patients going through addiction recovery to find strength in a higher power and may be equipped to help patients further that journey into their spirituality in recovery.

Spiritual Counselors

Many individuals find solace in seeking help from a spiritual counselor, appreciating the benefits of spirituality as a supplement to their addiction recovery journey. They differ from addiction treatment counselors; however, if individuals have completed an addiction treatment program and are now striving to find assistance through their term “higher power,” spiritual counselors may be the essential guide on their path to spiritual formation.

Recognizing the importance of spirituality, numerous spiritual counselors offer services specifically tailored towards those overcoming substance abuse. These services range from individual sessions to group meetings, ensuring that each person can engage in the most comfortable and effective manner.

Spirituality involves fostering a connection with a power greater than oneself, as emphasized in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, where the “word God” may be interpreted as one’s own understanding of a “higher power.”

There are many ways to navigate spiritual formation; each person’s journey will present a unique experience. The crucial part is ensuring that whatever path you select aligns with your needs and supports your well-being. Remember, in your quest for a healthier and more fulfilling life, a team always supports you, embracing the strength and resilience that a higher power can inspire.

How New Choices Can Help You In Addiction Recovery

At New Choices Treatment Centers, we believe in taking a holistic, mind-body-spirit connection to healing and recovery. Addiction is a complex disorder that affects the body and the mind. Addressing substance abuse disorders’ physical, psychological, and mental health aspects creates a more comprehensive rehab program. Finding the right combination for you will help you achieve a sustainable plan for long-term recovery.

If you want an outpatient rehab program that will keep you engaged and has the science to back it up, look for one that is based on evidence-based therapies. Conducting research and asking the right questions will assist you in locating the program that is right for you, and that’s why a comprehensive mental, physical, and spiritual assessment is part of our whole recovery and treatment process.

Connect with an expert in addiction recovery at New Choices Treatment Centers to kickstart your pathway toward sobriety.

To learn more about how we can aid you in your journey to recovery today, contact us online or call us at (726) 888-7003.