We tried to escape reality by using drugs or alcohol. Now we have an addiction, a chronic and debilitating health condition from which it feels we cannot escape. It may feel like there is no way out, we may feel trapped in our circumstances. But that is where recovery comes in. We can change that constant need to run and replace it with empowerment and peace through spirituality.
There is a reason that in the 12-step program, we turn everything over to a higher power. When we feel trapped, we are powerless to change our circumstances. But by admitting our powerlessness and opening our hearts to divine power, then turning our power over to God or whatever power, it restores our ability to function and be healed.
Healing Beyond Ourselves
Noted American Psychologist Jeanne Achterberg was at the forefront of exploring mind-body medicine. She was amongst early researchers in Western medicine that connected science to the spiritual. Using the concept of transpersonal medicine, or healing beyond ourselves, she believed that spirituality consisted of three basic tenets: love, wisdom, and power. Although most of her work was with diseases like cancer or arthritis, her ideas about healing through spirituality have been documented and are widely used throughout medicine today.
The spiritual connection to healing is even more important with drug and alcohol dependency than with some other medical conditions because according to multiple studies, a lack of spirituality is commonly associated with beginning substance abuse. We try to escape reality with substances because we do not have that connection with God or another power, and many of us lack the connection with others that spirituality brings, too.
That is not news in the treatment of substance abuse, though. Over eighty years ago, Bill Wilson, author of The Big Book stated, “for we have not only been mentally and physically ill, but we have also been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.”
Wilson understood from a practical perspective what science has taken so many years to try to define: that although addiction is a medical condition, it is also a spiritual condition. We can physically abstain from substance use, but actual healing and the power to remain substance-free comes from spiritual healing.
From Checking Out to Checking In
When we actively “check out” by using substances, there is usually a reason. There are obvious outward reasons we choose to drink or use, including but not limited to stress, trauma, loneliness, fear, rejection, etc. These not only impact us emotionally, but they also damage our souls. At the core of our beings, our spirituality is wounded, and any connection to a higher power that we may have had diminishes or even disappears entirely.
Without that sense of something greater than us, without the sense of community that spirituality brings, we are truly left to our own devices and that is frightening. On our own, our propensity to use substances to escape increases, and thus our addiction worsens.
When we enter treatment at a nationally recognized facility like Cumberland Heights, spirituality is an intrinsic part of our recovery. We can look at re-establishing a connection to our higher power. Not only do we want to heal the damage that addiction has done, but we also want to heal the wounds which drove us to drink or use in the first place. We literally go from checking out of our lives to checking in with God or whatever higher power we experience.
The Power of Spirituality
This transpersonal medicine, using a power outside ourselves to heal our bodies, gives us strength beyond ourselves to Recover Life. By surrendering ourselves to something greater than us, we gain access to wisdom beyond our own. We gain access to love, of ourselves and others, that we were not previously capable of.
We also gain power. The power to accept that we don’t know everything. That we need help. That there are other people who can help us. And that there is a power greater than us at the center of it all. The power of knowing that we are not alone. That we are loved. That we can reach out for help and receive it.
Certainly, if we had all of that spiritual power before our addiction, there would have been no need to escape. So we must break the cycle. Fight our overwhelming urges to try to run from our lives and reach out for healing. We must learn that we are not trapped, that by letting go and surrendering, we can find a way to increase happiness in our lives. We can find power and healing by reaching up to God or a higher power. When we are humble enough to seek help, we will receive a power greater than our own. When we seek for spirituality, we will find great power. It is up to us to replace our escape with empowerment, and God will do the rest.
At Fort Worth Recovery, we understand that recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a personal and challenging road to travel. We seek to inspire clients to face their challenges, accept their present state, and foster hope for their future. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 817-381-9741, or visit us online.