Spiritual beliefs provide a great deal of comfort and motivation to many people recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). According to the Journal of Religion, “84% of scientific studies show that faith is a positive factor in addiction prevention or recovery.” West Coast Recovery Centers provides a welcoming environment where clients feel comfortable integrating spiritual beliefs into traditional addiction recovery treatment.
What Role Do Spiritual Beliefs Play in Treatment?
Treatment for SUD helps clients establish healthy routines, develop coping skills, and achieve emotional stability. People with strong spiritual beliefs benefit from using their faith to motivate behavioral changes and practice new skills. Spirituality also provides clients with social support through faith leaders and members of the spiritual community.
Religious belief and spirituality can improve treatment outcomes by doing the following:
- Reducing social isolation and feelings of loneliness
- Providing a sense of purpose
- Inspiring positive lifestyle changes
- Increasing accountability
Many treatment programs introduce the 12-Step philosophy to individuals in recovery. Some 12-Step groups and the official 12-Step literature use the presence of a Higher Power to help people move forward in their recovery. However, belief in a Higher Power is not always helpful. According to Evaluation and the Health Professions, “[R]eliance on a Higher Power may hurt some people in recovery . . . the individual may maintain potentially magical thinking that the Higher Power will fix him or her without engaging in corrective action (e.g., continuing education, skills enhancement).” Clinicians collaborate with clients to determine if they would benefit from an introduction to the 12-Step philosophy.
The clinicians at West Coast Recovery Centers provide clients with access to resources and services tailored to their unique needs. Clients with religious or spiritual beliefs can incorporate their beliefs into treatment planning.
Does Engaging in a Spiritual Community Help People Heal?
Being part of a community reduces self-isolating behaviors and increases resilience. Individuals in treatment for substance abuse benefit from having multiple social supports. Spiritual and religious groups often provide peace and comfort to people in recovery.
People often rely on the fellowship of a spiritual community to overcome challenges and daily stressors during early recovery. Clients may gain strength from their faith leaders and fellow members of their spiritual or religious community. Engaging in spirituality helps people heal, grow, and move forward in their recovery. Everyone has different needs during treatment. Clinicians work with clients to incorporate aspects of their beliefs into the treatment process.
Is There Scientific Evidence Supporting the Use of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery Treatment?
Belief is a powerful tool. Cultures around the world have used spirituality to cope with and manage mental health disorders for thousands of years. In recent decades, researchers have explored the many potential connections between spirituality and recovery from substance abuse. According to Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, “Scientific literature strongly supports the notion that spirituality and religiousness can enhance health and [quality of life].”
Spirituality fills a void in some people’s lives and helps them gain meaning and inspiration. According to the previously mentioned article in Substance Use and Misuse, “Although little is known about the specific aspects or ‘active ingredients’ of religiosity and spirituality that may influence recovery from addiction, several studies suggest that the coping skills derived through religion and spirituality may be an underutilized treatment resource.” Each person’s experience is different, and the aspects of spirituality one person finds meaningful may not affect another person’s recovery.
How Does Embracing Spiritual Beliefs Improve Mental Health?
Many people struggling with substance abuse have a crisis of identity after choosing to become sober. Embracing spiritual or religious beliefs allows people to form a new self-identity centered around sobriety. According to Frontiers in Psychology, “Studies demonstrated the positive impact of spirituality on physical health and mental health as well as on other positive health outcomes such as subjective well-being, health-related quality of life, coping skills, recovering from mental illness, or less addictive or suicidal behaviors.” People actively participating in spiritual customs and traditions often report a greater sense of belonging and positive mental health.
How Does Spirituality and Self-Care Enhance the Effectiveness of Treatment?
Spirituality provides essential emotional support for some people in recovery. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to practice self-care, including observing spiritual rituals and traditions. Engaging in familiar and comforting activities reduces stress and the severity of symptoms.
Many people in recovery find it helpful to incorporate various aspects of their spirituality into treatment and aftercare. Self-care and spiritual activities increase the effectiveness of evidence-based addiction treatment by doing the following:
- Providing a sense of community and fellowship
- Strengthening resilience
- Increasing self-awareness and personal growth
- Improving emotion regulation
Spiritual self-care enhances overall wellness and healing for individuals with SUD. According to Substance Use and Misuse, “Length of sobriety has also been positively associated with spirituality, while commitment to a higher power may lessen the severity of relapse episodes.” West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to take advantage of spiritual support systems during long-term recovery.
Spiritual beliefs help people heal from the effects of substance abuse. The sense of community, deep social bonds, and nonjudgmental accountability reduce stress and improve mental health for people in recovery. Spirituality provides people with a safe space to grow, gain self-confidence, and improve self-care. West Coast Recovery Centers encourages clients to use spirituality or religious beliefs to power positive changes in recovery. Treatment programs are tailored to clients’ needs and preferences to ensure they can access the services and complementary therapies they need to recover. Clinicians incorporate spiritual aspects into the treatment plan for clients with religious or spiritual beliefs. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (760) 492-6509.