At Free by the Sea, we are committed to offering a diverse and holistic path to addiction treatment. We have many traditional methods, including detox, individual counseling, and group therapy. Today, more and more patients are seeking paths to recovery that include traditional self-help measures, such as an increased emphasis on spirituality as a recovery aid. Studies show that a renewed focus on spirituality can help patients find community, accountability, and purpose-and whether you are in recovery or not, these things can lead to increased happiness.
Drug and alcohol addiction continues to be a pervasive danger in American society. People from all walks of life, and every religion struggle with addiction. Addiction does not discriminate against the rich, the poor, the Christian, or the Muslim. According to government statistics, nearly 21 million Americans abuse at least one substance. As many as 10 million of these individuals deal with dual-diagnoses that often include addiction and mental health disorders.
While people ages 18-25 are the most likely to struggle with addiction, there are people in every age group dealing with this diagnosis. While there is not sufficient research on the combination of spirituality and addiction, it is clear that people from all faiths can and do come to abuse drugs and alcohol. At Free by the Sea, we are prepared to help you overcome, no matter what demographic, religion, or age range you may fall into.
It is a common misconception that spirituality and religion are the same things. Many people may be turned off by the idea of a spiritual road to recovery due to a difficult history with organized religion. But it is important to note that you can be spiritual without adhering to a specific faith and this does not diminish the power of the spiritual experience. At Free by the Sea, we do not adhere to one specific faith but encourage seekers to find a path towards healing that encompasses their unique world-view.
Spirituality is not defined by religion. Religion is often how individuals interpret their reality or make sense of the world. While each religion adheres to different specifics, most have some form of belief in a god or gods and follow some sort of moral code. Spirituality, on the other hand, relates more to one’s meaning or belonging.
Spirituality encompasses more of a search for meaning and a realization that the world expands much farther than our limited immediate surroundings. While the focus of religion is adherence to a specific core belief, spirituality is more about aligning with a greater purpose and finding one’s role in the world.
Some ways to practice spirituality are by participating in yoga, meditation, or exploring nature. Regardless of the specifics, spirituality, apart from religion, aims to achieve holistic wellness through personal care. At Free by the Sea, we are excited to help individuals explore inner-peace and pursue their purpose in life.
Spirituality can play a huge role in helping people overcome addiction. Addiction is a disease that keeps taking and taking until someone is left with only a shell of their former selves. Most people who suffered from substance abuse find that their dreams, ideas, and hope for the future were all put in jeopardy by addictive behavior. While addiction can strip someone of their energy and optimism, it can never take away someone’s “core being,” the part of the person that they can always hold onto and cannot be changed. This is where spirituality comes in.
Spirituality can be one of many sparks that leads someone back to themselves. At its core, spirituality gives us purpose and a reason to exist that is bigger than our suffering, depression, or even addiction. Addiction forces us to keep adding to our misery by ingesting more and more of a substance to obtain a cheap “high”. Spirituality can combat this by providing someone with a sense of purpose that can supersede the addictive behavior and keep them centered.
Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and group accountability are all practices that are rooted in spirituality that can have a positive effect on addictive behaviors. One of the most impactful things we can do for our holistic well-being is reconnecting with ourselves spiritually. The realization that our spiritual health is as important as our physical health helps many people come to terms with their addictive behavior and begin a better journey of self-care. Spirituality reminds us that we are all capable of transcending the difficulties that are right in front of us and becoming our best selves.
Spirituality can be something that is imbued to us by our family in childhood or something that is discovered as an adult. It can have meaning and bring purpose either way. In fact, many people often find themselves having meaningful spiritual experiences for the first time during treatment.
Many of the practices inherent to modern substance abuse rehab lend themselves to spiritual reflection. Most treatment centers offer yoga, meditation, mindfulness classes, and the like, and patients may not even know that these are spiritually rooted. Anytime we take serious time for self-reflection, we are opening ourselves up to discover our deeper purpose.
Spirituality is not a “one size fits all” practice. While each may put a different twist on them, meditation and self-reflection are present in almost every major religion practiced today. These behaviors are at the core of most successful rehab experiences, and for many, can lead to deeper spiritual revelation.
In therapy, you will probably encounter individuals from various faiths and spiritual backgrounds. This is good practice for life in general but can be especially eye-opening when experienced in such a pivotal season of life. Many individuals leave treatment with a newfound faith or at least a healthier perspective on spirituality. In our divided world, it is rare to see a group of people from diverse backgrounds come together to achieve a common purpose.
Whether you have a spiritual foundation or not, it is important to enter into treatment with an open mind. What may have worked before treatment may be woefully inadequate for the new challenges you face. Do not be afraid to explore new methods or rediscover old habits. Understanding that you truly can reinvent yourself, no matter how difficult the past has been, is central to success in treatment and growth as a person.
Although spirituality may be a key element of recovery, it doesn’t come easily to everyone in recovery, and that’s okay. If you are struggling to find your spirituality or feel awkward being a part of a spiritual conversation, it is important to open up to those around you. Everyone in treatment is in the same boat—trying to wrestle their demons and achieve sobriety. There are rarely any secrets in therapy as most people have been stripped down to their core-for better or worse.
Therapy presents the perfect opportunity to truly be honest with ourselves and figure out who we are meant to be. Just the act of submitting to the therapeutic process proves we can overcome these struggles and better ourselves. Journaling is a great way to keep track of thoughts and progress. Confiding in a trusted therapist or friend is essential to “getting out of your head” and finding clarity. If these practices do not seem to be drawing you closer to spiritual change, don’t give up. Continue to practice mindfulness, vulnerability, and self-reflection and change will surely come.
Many of the most beneficial behaviors that may be learned in treatment are essential to maintaining sobriety as well. While people enter treatment with a specific disorder or addiction to conquer, they gain life skills that will help them continue to grow and impact the world around them.
It is important to keep track of which practices, treatments, and rituals prove most beneficial during treatment and then continue to pursue them as you seek to maintain sobriety. You will find that most (if not all) of these are easily accessible in your community and quite common among holistically healthy individuals. Some of the most common and successful practices that are spiritually based to pursue after treatment are:
At Free by the Sea, we are focused on providing a wide range of treatment opportunities that will help bring holistic health to our patients. We want everyone who comes through our ranks to leave refreshed, focused, encouraged and, of course, sober. Our facilities are top-notch and our modalities are modern and flexible.
Our team of professionals has experience treating everything from cocaine addiction to depression and everything in between. We accept many major insurance providers and are committing to providing an opportunity for anyone who seeks treatment in earnest. We would love to help you find your spiritual center and spur you on the road to sobriety. Contact us today to begin your journey to a better you!
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.