Many people who have completed a 12-step addiction recovery program go on to sing its praises once they’ve recovered. One of the key differentiators between 12-step programs and other recovery programs (and arguably one of the reasons it’s so effective for so many people) is its incorporation of spirituality.
Spirituality and religion are not necessarily the same thing. 12-step programs encourage each participant to interpret any mention of “God” in whichever way feels the truest for them – perhaps this is Christianity’s version of God, Islam’s version of God, one of the Hindu gods, or even the universe.
While willpower is an important component in recovering from addiction, it often fades over time. 12-step programs teach that submitting and connecting to a higher power is what will help beat addiction.
The Effects of Spirituality on the Mind and Body
Research shows that the brain and body can benefit immensely from regular spiritual practice, whether that be attending a worship service or simply praying or meditating at home.
Believing in a higher power and working on a spiritual practice can increase your feelings of gratitude, inner peace, and hope, as well as lower stress and assist in combatting depression. This can be incredibly helpful for dealing with a lot of the mental and emotional effects that arise during recovery from addiction.
You Connect to Something Bigger Than Yourself
People suffering from addiction often feel isolated and alone.
By choosing to rely on a higher power to help you on your road to recovery, you create a connection with something outside yourself, proving to you that you are never really alone. At the same time, your connection to God or the universe allows you to learn how to heal any emotional pain that may be either at the root of or caused by your addiction.
You Connect to Yourself
The higher power of the universe or God is also within each one of us.
By learning to place your trust in a higher power, you become less likely to be controlled by people, behaviors, or substances. You become open to learning more about yourself and learning how to love yourself.
Believing in, connecting with, and trusting a higher power fosters positive feelings in various areas of life. When recovering from addiction, the knowledge that God or the universe is there to help can encourage you through rough days when willpower alone wouldn’t be enough. It helps change your perspective on the world, yourself, and other people.