Is Spirituality Important In Addiction Treatment?

treating addictions and spirituality

Addiction comes in many forms, and has been viewed in terms of psychology, culture and biology. However, only a few rehab institutions consider the spirituality of the recovery process. To incorporate spirituality into addiction treatment, it is first important to understand the meaning of the term.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is not an easy term to understand. While many people erroneously consider it to be synonymous to with religion, the concept is distinct. In regards to addiction treatment, spirituality is best defined as a process or system which is designed to uplift the spirit in a manner that transcends the physical. Most rehab treatment centers focus on physical procedures, such as detoxification, physical therapy, and changes in nutrition. While these things are important, spirituality delves deeper. It involves the patient’s spirit and benefiting it in a way which is manifested in both the mind and body.

Many people use drugs because they are looking for an escape from reality, and some even claim that it allows an individual to obtain a spiritual connection. Even if this is true, it is done through an artificial substance, and as a result it has numerous negative side effects (the most serious of which is addiction). Individuals who are deeply spiritual (such as Tibetan monks) are able to reach spiritual connections through meditation and other means that don’t involve consuming drugs or alcohol. Many individuals who are highly spiritual have said that drugs and alcohol are a “fast and cheap way” of achieving spiritual awareness, but as with most things that are fast and cheap, these substances do not produce lasting, positive results.

How Spirituality Can Be Used To Treat Addiction

Research has made it clear that individuals who are able to find a connection to a greater cause or power have a greater likelihood of completely recovering from addiction, as well as those who develop a deeper self-awareness. Due to its very nature, spiritual development should be considered the highest form of treatment a rehab facility can offer.

The 12 Step program is a tried and true method of addiction treatment, because it involves spirituality and the assistance of a greater source to give recovering alcoholics the strength they need to recover.  Rehab can also improve the spirit of the patient by helping them find a purpose and meaning for their lives. When a person is addicted to drugs and alcohol, these substances are the center of the universe for them. Once they have a new purpose and meaning this makes it easier for them to recover.

Another spiritual concept which is becoming popular among rehab centers is holistic treatment. Holistic treatment focuses on merging the, body, spirit and mind in a manner that brings about wellness. With this method spirituality is separated from psychiatry, and various options are available for patients so that they can experiment to find out which one works best for them. While spirituality alone will not help recovering addicts, combining it with traditional treatment methods has proven to be effective.

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