Saturday, October 22, 2011
Drug and Alcohol Addiction - Spirituality in Sobriety
Part of our task in early recovery is to rediscover the sacred in ourselves and in life. Spirituality delivers what drugs and alcohol promised. Drugs and alcohol promised to always be there for us, not to put demands on us, not to sabotage us; but experience shows this is not true. Through drug and alcohol addiction we have been held hostage to a disease process that is incurable and progressive. The spiritual life is a complete life -- it is not an addition to life. Hundreds of thousands of atheists and agnostics have successfully recovered because recovery and sobriety are not about religion, but about spirituality. Beyond the 12 Step Program itself, many people share a belief in nature or the universe as one of their higher powers. Each one of us has the responsibility for deciding what the phrase "god of our own understanding" means. Within the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) we rediscover hope. We learn to design our lives from the inside out, relying on spiritual principles such as surrender, acceptance and humility. We learn to use spiritual practices to achieve self care and self soothing without the use of drugs and alcohol. For the person who told themselves they drank or used drugs to relax, the knowledge that meditation achieves that without harmful side effects is a hope-filled revelation. Through the spiritual aspect of humility and the desire to be of service to others we learn to value what we previously overlooked. Humility is defined as not thinking less of yourself, but thinking less of yourself. The path of drug and alcohol addiction recovery has been made beautiful by the footsteps of those who went before us. Their teachings and their examples help us learn to design a life based on spiritual values such as honesty, openness and willingness. Many of our spiritual practices find eloquent expression in the serenity prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.