Many of us in recovery are very confused about what spirituality really is. Simplistic answers like “There’s a difference between spirituality and religion”, help a bit but don’t really give us clarity as to the real meaning of spirituality in our lives.
First, exactly what is spirituality? One can find dozens of definitions. However
there are some commonalities in everyone’s description of what spirituality is. Some of the more common themes describe it using one or more of the following elements:
- a sense of purpose
- a sense of ‘connectedness’ – to self, others, nature, ‘God’ or Others
- a quest for wholeness
- a search for hope or harmony
- a belief in something higher or greater than self
- the sense that there is more to life than what we can see
and, a sense of the Holy among us.
My favorite is a brief definition of spirituality which says that it is about relationships with ourselves, with others and with a Higher Power (or God). Spirituality is also very personal.
If it is so nebulous, then why is it so necessary to our recovery? Many admit their spirituality or their relationship with God helps them make sense of their sufferings. At other times it is a desire to connect with our Higher Power for wisdom, healing, peace, forgiveness and ultimately love which causes us to seek our Higher Power.
But those of us in recovery learn early on that what we have is a spiritual disease. We learn, too that what we have been trying to fill with all of the addictive substances and processes is really “a God shaped hole”. In twelve step circles they teach us that our recovery is based on a daily reprieve contingent upon being spiritually fit. To get well, we must go on a quest in our recovery. That quest is the journey of the 12 steps which leads us to finding our Higher Power or God – many of us find God paradoxically inside ourselves.
Sadly, because of childhood abandonment, neglect or abuse, our thinking about God may become distorted. At times, we may have our dysfunctional caregivers’ faces on our Higher Power, which could make a spiritual awakening very difficult to say the least. There can also be other blocks to knowing and trusting God if there is childhood trauma in our history.
If you are having trouble trusting a Higher Power or finding one inside of yourself, then childhood trauma could be part of the cause. This could prove to be a major stumbling block to your recovery.
But what exactly is trauma? There seems to be some confusion abou this misused word. To find out more stay tuned to my next blog.
You can contact Stephanie about individual therapy, coaching or her life transforming 3 day intensives “Healing Pathways” directly at 210.287.4002.