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  • Writer's pictureMARJORIE FERGUSON

Why is Spirituality Important in Recovery?

In recovery from addiction, it's tine to slow down and reflect

The concept of spirit was so frightening to me during my first time through the steps. Yet, I knew the question wasn't meant to scare me. Nearly everything in recovery was scary at that time. Like most of my addicted life, I again resisted examining the idea like an adult. It would require I sacrifice my safety mask left over from my active addiction and I wasn't always prepared to do that despite the fact that my days in sobriety and recovery were mounting up. As I have come to finally understand, that an adult will question everything from a different point of perspective then a child. As an adult, I have some background with which to reference the information. When it came to spirituality, I had only a childhood memory of me sitting across the table from a priest as he offered me a bribe for my silence after an improper advance and enduring catechism lessons as an inquisitive and argumentative 7 year old. How would that lead to opened mindedness? So I reacted like a child even though I was in my thirties, folded the idea up and put it away for years.

Then I faced my first lesson from the spirit world. With the advice of my completely frustrated sponsor, I dared God. Yes, dared God to prove to me that he, she or it existed. And guess what happened? It worked. I asked God for 2 million dollars and I promptly received a check from Publisher's Clearing House for $ 2,100,000.00. Perfect, except it was a promotion so it wasn't real and if I got into the game, I had a shot at it becoming real. Really perfect. My Higher Power is a practical joker. With that tiny window, I put the pretend check on my refrigerator to remind to ask for help from my higher power everyday because, I will get it in one form or another.

So what does that mean to me now that I have evolved a bit more as an adult ? I know that I am heavily weighted some days to the point where I can't pick up my head very high. Some days, I lash out in subtle or not so subtle ways. If I remember to ask for help, that weight is halved, just as quickly as I speak the words. I am conditioned from past experience to trust them now. I know to stay alert because the answers to any of my prayers aren't packaged with a bow.

That puts me into the moment, what a wonderful and peaceful place to be. It means more. If I know that my higher power is behind me, then I am not so easily influenced by people. I tend to stick to my dreams and hopes without being swayed by others. I listen to their advice of course with more then politeness. They are after all contributing to my knowledge base, my wisdom even. As personal as my High Power is toward me, that's what I do with the words I receive now that I'm clean and sober. I have the patience to listen and the brains to consider.

Once recovery begins, there are many ways to explore feelings and attitudes toward the world. Standing back and reviewing, I notice that some of my attitudes were new to me and some were old. We give you a daily reminder that you can change your attitude and through the structure and support of the sober house, you probably are changing every day. Our support system includes several amenities that go beyond the mental and physical. They are spiritual in that they allow residents time to explore, discuss and reflect on their values and examine their attitude toward life. What makes us different is our concrete approach to forming a new attitude toward life and re-establishing our values after we lost them to addiction. Often when addiction is raging within, there are no values and the prevailing attitude is one of hopelessness. What was at stake was only satisfying the inner drive to escape reality. When recovery begins, those who are newly back to life may find that their footing is unsure and wobbly. Anxiety may reign for the short term, but studies show that as people find and live their value system, they feel better about themselves. It is when we are away from our value system in active addiction, that we lose ourselves. 12-step helps form new values, our workshops recreation and assistance exploring work and education options.

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