There is a reason the 12-step program urges participants to reach out to a higher power for help in overcoming their addictions. Addiction is a complex disease that eats at your faith, family, and soul. It fosters a sense of helplessness, especially if you’ve tried to conquer your addictions and failed, maybe multiple times. Yet admitting you are powerless against addiction and seeking the support and tools necessary to succeed is an act of faith.
As a faith-based treatment center, we recognize that addressing only the physical symptoms of substance abuse will have short-lived results. It is obvious we are much more than a biological organism responding to physical stimuli. An effective recovery program has to reach that unique part of each of us that decides what is important, what comforts or triggers us, and what gives or takes away our hope and strength.
Our residents come from many backgrounds and we all may have a different idea of what our higher power looks like. Regardless of your individual faith tradition, when you’re feeling vulnerable, overstressed, or triggered, you can turn to that higher power to center yourself and find peace. Here are some ways to do that:
The holy scriptures represent a detailed historical record of God’s dealings with his people starting from the creation of the world. Scriptural books, such as the Old Testament, tell the stories of countless individuals who dealt with extreme problems on a personal or national level. By studying their lives, we learn how they moved forward despite fear and doubt because they believed in something bigger than themselves, and we draw strength from their examples. The scriptures also teach us that God will always support us and help get us back on track when we stumble in our recovery.
We all make mistakes and have unhealthy coping techniques. Some are more visible and damaging than others, but it’s part of being human. The only way to move forward is to accept our past without constantly reliving it and beating ourselves up. You can’t change what has happened. You can only change who you become because of those experiences. Keep your head up and look to the future.
It is essential to discover your triggers. If you feel the need to use chemical comfort, figure out where the stress is coming from. Often, it’s not the event itself but our feelings about it or how we view ourselves that makes us lose hope. Taking the time to figure out precisely what you feel and why will help you challenge negative self-beliefs, reframe stressful events, and, most importantly, recognize what makes you vulnerable so you can take steps to strengthen your resolve.
For Christians, you could focus on God’s grace in giving His life so we could live better. Others find a spiritual connection to nature. Either way, connecting to something infinitely more significant than yourself and your problems can help you put things into perspective and distance yourself from your triggers.
This can be a dicey topic for people who aren’t religious, so it might help to understand what prayers mean to people of faith and what they accomplish. In prayer, we admit to our helplessness, vulnerability to addiction, and wavering resolve. That alone has power. We seek guidance and strength from our higher power. For people of faith, this means God. Their faith gives them strength to keep fighting.
Connecting to nature can also benefit, as does taking time to seek alternate solutions in a concerted and focused manner. Taking time away from what triggers you and seeking strength, wherever you think it comes from, can lessen temptation and foster peace.
Music can alter our emotions or reinforce them. While people find different styles relaxing or annoying, finding the type of music that helps you experience calm is a worthwhile endeavor. Once you know what you find peaceful, block everything else out and listen while taking deep, slow breaths that expand your stomach rather than your chest. This will help lower your body’s stress hormones, bringing you out of fight or flight.
Addiction is a lonely disease. When we feel out of control, we want to hide our imperfections from the world. At the same time, associating with people who support your habit will only worsen things. Find sober friends and faith partners who support you rather than your addiction. When you feel triggered, seek positive company to see you through bad moments rather than isolate yourself.
No matter how dire things may look right now, there’s always hope. Substance abuse recovery is achievable, but it isn’t easy. Anything worth having in this life rarely is. Addiction recovery centers are designed to help you step away from your problems long enough to detox and build your strength for the journey.
If you struggle with addiction, you’re not alone. Find a substance abuse rehab near you or call us at 855-736-7262 and get the tools you need to win the battle for sobriety.