Do You Need to Be Spiritual to Thrive at Pathways?

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When people seek treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), many have their mental and physical health at the forefront of their minds. However, there are many other aspects of health. These include social health, environmental health, and spiritual health.

Is Spiritual Health Important in Recovery?

Individuals considering participation in a treatment program at Pathways Recovery Center may wonder whether they need to address their spiritual health to achieve effective and lasting recovery from addiction. The answer depends on their values.

For some clients, spirituality does not play a major role in their lives. These clients will be fully supported at Pathways. After all, you do not need to be spiritual to thrive in recovery. Pathways strives to meet clients exactly where they are in their recovery journey. We understand that people do not have to be spiritual to thrive in recovery.

At the same time, we acknowledge the research behind the benefits of spirituality for recovery. For those who consider themselves spiritual or religious, Pathways can provide opportunities for spiritual growth. We encourage clients to strengthen their spiritual health in ways that are meaningful to them.

Benefits of Spiritual Health for Recovery

Some clients greatly value their spiritual health. Therefore, consideration of their spirituality in recovery should not be neglected. What form of spiritual values should be included in recovery depends on each client's faith tradition, philosophy, and ways of connecting with themselves and their communities.

There is research that supports spiritual practices as beneficial for addiction recovery. For example, elements of faith can contribute to the prevention of substance abuse and recovery from SUD.

Personalized Client Care at Pathways

Working to recover from SUD can be tiring. For addiction treatment to be effective, programs must support clients in becoming their authentic selves. When clients feel known and accepted, they are more likely to reach out for the support they need to maintain sobriety. They also experience reduced ambivalence and hesitations about entering a treatment program.

At Pathways Recovery, treatment programs are tailored to meet the unique needs and recovery goals of a client. As addiction does not discriminate, neither should treatment. Likewise, there is no one-size-fits-all for recovery. Meeting clients where they are requires treatment professionals to honor an individual's identity and belief systems. This includes respecting and honoring the client's spiritual beliefs or lack thereof.

Individualizing 12-Step Programs

Among the most tied and trusted types of addiction treatment interventions are 12-Step programs. At Pathways, we host 12-Step groups as a part of our residential treatment program. Individuals working through the Twelve Steps will find themselves working through their own beliefs regarding spirituality. They will reckon with their understanding of a higher power. Additionally, they will honor their connection to something greater than themselves.

The Twelve Steps were founded on the principles of Christianity. However, treatment centers have broadened the use of these steps to fit any spiritual beliefs. References of God can be replaced with a higher power of choice, such as the Universe, energy, or an individual's higher self.

Individualizing Spiritual Health

It is important for individuals considering treatment at Pathways to know that spiritual health may or may not include belief in God. Even for individuals whose belief in God is at the core of their spirituality, spiritual health involves much more.

According to the Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, spiritual health “includes a purposeful life, transcendence, and actualization of different dimensions and capacities of human beings. Spiritual health creates a balance between physical, psychological, and social aspects of human life.”

At Pathways, clients can expect to explore these various aspects of health through a variety of therapeutic outlets. Clients will work to deepen the relationship they have with themselves, others, and the vast world around them. Strengthening spiritual health involves reflecting on personal values. It involves seeking deeper meaning and purpose for an individual's sobriety and life.

How Does Spirituality Differ from Religion?

Many individuals were raised in homes with religious affiliations. Unfortunately, many of these homes may have also been judgmental, unkind, or otherwise traumatic. As a result, it is not uncommon for individuals to avoid religion after they enter adulthood. Other people may no longer affiliate with their childhood religion for entirely different reasons.

It is essential to understand the difference between religion and spirituality. While religion usually requires followers to maintain strict belief systems, spirituality may not. Spirituality is an individualized practice in and of itself. It offers individuals a way to explore their own sense of peace and purpose. Additionally, it encourages individuals to develop belief systems that align with their values.

Often, individuals who consider themselves religious follow the organized beliefs set by their religion. They may do this regardless of whether or not those beliefs align with their personal values. Therefore, exploring spirituality can improve a person's authentic sense of values. This is true regardless of whether or not they affiliate with a particular religion.

Exploring Spiritual Health in Addiction Recovery

Exploring spiritual health can pose many benefits for those in addiction recovery. According to Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly:

Spirituality, religiousness and life meaning enhance coping, confer hope for the future, provide a heightened sense of control, security and stability; they confer support and strength to resist the opportunity to use substances, all of which are very much needed to initiate and maintain recovery.

There are many ways to explore spiritual health in recovery. For example, mindfulness practices like meditation can be beneficial. Mindfulness increases an individual's awareness of their emotional state and of the world around them. Since mindfulness fosters objectivity, it reduces emotional reactivity and distress in daily life.

Individuals can also listen to podcasts, watch movies, or read books. They can learn about faith practices, spiritual phenomena, and other people's lives to gain a broader understanding of the world around them. Engaging in conversations with loved ones about their spiritual beliefs can motivate individuals to explore and discover their own spiritual values.

If you are considering participating in treatment at Pathways Recovery Center, you may wonder if your spiritual beliefs will be addressed. It is important to understand that you do not need to be spiritual to thrive at Pathways. However, exploring your spiritual beliefs throughout addiction recovery can offer you a deeper sense of purpose and meaning for your sobriety. We at Pathways Recovery Center strive to meet clients exactly where they are in their healing journey. If you desire, we can incorporate spiritual opportunities into your treatment and recovery plan. We encourage our clients to become vulnerable and authentic with themselves throughout recovery. To learn more, call us today at (888) 771-0966.

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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