Spirituality and Your Substance Abuse ProgramFebruary 1, 2013| Last Updated on Friday, 03 May, 2013 17:22For many people, spirituality is a huge part of their recovery from addiction. Unfortunately, it is alsoone of the things that keeps people from getting help attaining sobriety. Most of the time, someonereading or hearing the word spirituality will associate it with religion, when in fact the two things arevery different. Religion is defined as organized system of beliefs, practices, and rituals associated witha particular deity or deities. Spirituality doesn’t have a single definition.It means different things to every person that hears it. For some it involves meditations and mantras,for others it can be as simple as watching the sunset at the beach. Yes, you can find spirituality inreligion, but the two aren’t necessarily the same thing. It took me a long time to realize that one.“I knew it mentally, but it still irked me when people would ask about my spiritual beliefs.”Maybe it has something to do with being prohibited from practicing my religious beliefs by theofficials at my boarding school, their reason being “It’s not one of the five main religions, and those arethe only ones we allow.” So I couldn’t have texts or symbols for my beliefs. I still get angry over theinjustice that was done to me there, but that’s something I am working on. Anyway, back tospirituality!The 12 Steps of Alcoholics AnonymousIn the 12 step programs, the most basic tenets are: admitting you have a problem, and finding a beliefin something greater than yourself. With these “steps” completed, you are ready to begin your journeyto recovery. The something greater than yourself can be anything. It could be a doorknob if youwanted it to be. It can even be a flying spaghetti monster. The important part isn’t so much what it is,as what it represents. It represents something you can put your faith in and trust in.That door knob will be there and it will let you open that door, you have faith in that fact. It’s havingthat faith that matters in the 12 step programs, not what it’s in. That’s one of the things I like about the12 step programs, they don’t endorse a particular dogma or belief system, they just ask that you haveone. I’ve met a few atheists in the 12 step programs and I asked one what his higher power was. Hisanswer was “My belief in a higher power is the idea that there is no higher power.” As contradictory asthat sounded to me, it works for him. He had a year at the time.Inner PeaceFor me spirituality is seeking inner peace. This means I meditate, listen to music, read, and practicearomatherapy. I do things like go to the beach at night and stare at the clouds and moon while listeningto the sounds of the ocean, or lie in bed with incense burning and focus on settling my body andrelaxing my muscles. For me, that is part of spirituality. For you it could be different.