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Spirituality and Recovery

This image portrays Spirituality and Recovery by Addiction Poetry.

Spirituality and Health/Recovery
“Remembering to Feed Our Spirits”

(editor’s note: The following sections are excerpts from an online posting about Spirituality and  Recovery/Illness. To see the full version of this powerpoint article use the link at the end of this article
to read it in it’s entirety)

Addiction: a Chronic Illness Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual

• Continued addictive behaviors despite the risks to health
• Physical problems (ulcers, high blood pressure, GI bleeds…)
• Physical injury or abuse
• Involvement in potentially dangerous and abusive situations (automobile, motorcycle, bicycle accidents)
• Sleep disturbances: not enough or too much sleep; sleep apnea

Psychological –
Failed efforts to control the addiction
• Emotional instability (mood swings, depression, paranoia, fear of going insane)
• Loss of self-esteem
• Hopelessness or despair
• Guilt
• Strong fears about your future
• Suicide thoughts, feelings, plan

Spiritual –
• Fear
• Secrets and Hiding
• Self-ridicule
• Intimacy barriers (self, others and Spirit)
• Feeling abandoned
• Disconnection/Isolation

Social –
• Increase in marital relationship problems; risk of loss
• Risk to the well being of one’s family
• Loss of respect
• Decrease in productivity at work/school
• Impairment at work/loss of job/license

How does the disease of addiction
affect a person’s spirituality?

Features of Addiction
Secrets and Hiding
Shame (action against morals)
Barriers to intimacy (self, others and Spirit)

Features of Spirituality
Meaningful connection
Meaning and purpo
Sense of belonging

The AA Big Book First Edition published in 1939, defined alcoholism as a three-fold disease that affects the individual physically, mentally and spiritually.

The American Medical Association categorized Alcoholism as a Illness in 1956.

What is Recovery?

Recovery is a process of change whereby individuals work to improve their own health and wellness and to live a meaningful life in a community of their choice while striving to achieve their full potential.

SAMHSA Essentially, recovery from addiction complex and dynamic process encompassing all the positive benefits to physical, mental and social (and spiritual) health that can happen when people with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or their family members, get the help they need.

NCADD Recovery in AA is defined not only as physical abstinence but also includes personality change and spiritual growth that are a result of working the 12 steps.
Big Book, 2001, Chapter 5

Healing Components of Recovery Body

– detoxification, physical healing, brain healing Mind/emotion
– hopefulness, balance and healthy management of emotions Social
– re-integration and healing of relations Spiritual
– meaningful connection, sense of belonging, sense of acceptance and ease

Spirituality and Recovery is about Opening Up and Out

Spirituality is essential to healing from addictive disease and other chronic illnesses…in addition to improving quality of health.

Impact of spirituality on treatment outcomes Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found religious and spiritual support as motivating factors in successful recovery Simpson 2003).

A systematic review of the literature (29 studies from PubMed, CINAHL and Psych Info.) focused upon the role spirituality and religion plays in substance abuse treatment outcomes. For most studies, evidence was found suggesting some support for a beneficial relationship between spirituality or religion and recovery from substance use disorders. Walton-Moss, Ray and Woodruff (John Hopkins) JAN, 2013.

Spiritual Needs of Patients with Chronic Disease
Research Highlights:

1) Chronic illness has a significant impact on physical/functional, emotional, social and spiritual well-being;

2) Spiritual support is associated with better quality of life;

3) Needs for peace, unaffected health and social support corresponds with Maslow’s core needs; Healthcare that addresses patient’s physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs will contribute to patient’s improvement and recovery;

4)  There is a need for better tools and strategies to address these needs.

Harold G. Koenig, MD, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University and Arndt Bussing, Center for Integrated Medicine, Quality of Life and Spiritual Coping, U. of Witten/Herdecke, Germany

Spirituality is viewed as a:
Protective Factor
Instills Hope Meaning
Making Social Support- affiliation with a group
Meaningful Connection- prayer/meditation

Pay Attention…to your inner Spirit:
Spend more time with loving and encouraging family and friends
– Go outside as much as possible
– Reduce distractions (Phone, TV, Internet, News)
– Observe your thoughts about the people around you
– Look at art, listen to music, sing and dance
– Participate in recovery community Play ……Say YES!!!!!!!!!!!
– Be intentional about prayer and meditation
– Find ways to “be” without having to “do” something

Linda L. Smith, ARNP, MN, M.Div., CAP, CARN-AP
Chief Executive Officer, Intervention Project for Nurses


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