Drugs and alcohol are powerful substances that can strip people of their identity, taking one to places that they swore they would never go. Paradoxically, a person in the grips of addiction often feels that they are in control of their life, when in fact the reality is quite different. The illusion of control that addicts and alcoholics maintain is often a top reason for not seeking help sooner, a misconception that can prove fatal.
Coming to terms with the fact that you have become a slave to drink or drugs, and that there is a power greater than oneself, is a pivotal component in finding recovery. Reconnecting, or establishing for the first time a relationship, with a higher power can be a hard pill to swallow for many people new to recovery. Wrapping your head around having a “god” in your life can be difficult, after struggling with addiction for years it is easy to convince yourself that god has turned his/her back on you. Failure to create a relationship with a higher power will hinder a successful recovery.
Let Go, and Let…
Spirituality is the glue that holds one’s recovery together. Without a connection to a power greater than oneself, everything will fall apart. There is a reason why twelve-step programs put so much emphasis on creating and maintaining a relationship with a higher power of some kind. In order to work the steps, one has to let go of their illusions of control and put their faith and trust in something outside themselves. Surrendering to a higher power can prove difficult, people struggle to let go and accept that no one is in control of life’s outcome, especially after many years of living on self will alone. However, when someone comes to terms with the fact that their mindset of being in control was a major component of their addiction – letting go becomes a little bit easier, and one finds that their mind and spirit has been freed.
Being relieved of the burden of control allows one to channel their energies in other directions, a necessity when working a program of recovery. Living a spiritual life will help you develop a relationship with recovery, the recovery community, and your higher power. Having the feeling that you are connected to something greater than yourself, helps you live one day at time free from drugs and alcohol.
Finding A Connection
Many who have begun a journey of recovery using the twelve step modality, have some kind of history with religion (for good or bad); this can be a shortcut to reestablishing belief, as there is a foundation in place to build on. On the other hand, there are number of people who have no history with spirituality or belief in a god. If you fall into that realm, do not be discouraged, for you are not alone.
Hopefully you have begun working with or seeking a sponsor, a person who will prove pivotal to your recovery. A sponsor can help guide you in your search for a power greater than yourself, and they will inform you that a higher power does not have be a religious deity. A higher power can, in effect, be anything from the universe right down to the recovery group that you attend. One’s higher power is purely subjective, and there is an infinite multitude of things one can put their faith into and receive guidance from. Establishing a connection will not necessarily happen overnight, everyone’s experience is different; what’s important is that one stays active in fostering a relationship with something greater than themselves
There are a few things that you can do that may help you with your search:
Meditation/Prayer: Taking sometime throughout the day to sit quietly, free from the distractions of day to day life, allows you to open your mind to the spiritual world: An act that can put you in a position to practice having a dialogue with something greater. Even if you feel like no one is listening, do not be discouraged, it is important to practice communicating and seeking guidance from outside of yourself. More times, than not, you will feel better after having taking the time to do such a simple task.
Being of Service: If you are attending meetings, volunteering your help is great way to get outside of yourself. Selfless acts have a reciprocal effect. Helping others, helps you live in the sunshine of the spirit. When you help others it makes you feel good, you forget about the multitude of things that have been weighing you down. Being connected to others is a great way to practice connecting to a higher power.
Don’t Give Up: You often hear the saying “progress, not perfection.” Recovery is a process that can take time to fully grasp. It is important that you listen to your peers with an open mind; they can prove instrumental in your having made a connection with an outside power. Establishing a spiritual relationship will happen in its own time, trust in the program and your desire to live differently than you have in the past.
At PACE Recovery Center our motto is a Positive Attitude Changes Everything and our program offers our clients the ability to reintegrate back into a life that emphasizes the true transformation out of one’s addicted identity and into a life of recovery through integrative education, insight and relapse prevention.