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Spirituality Without Religion

Many newcomers to recovery programs are disheartened to hear word like “God” and “higher power” being used. It is easy to assume that these recovery programs are religious in nature. However, recovery programs, specifically 12-step recovery programs, stress the important of a “higher power of your own understanding” as a means of achieving a spiritual connection.

Many people are unable to separate the terms spirituality and religion. The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to as the “Big Book”, was the first to outline the 12 steps of recovery. The book makes a point that our idea of a higher power does not need to be religious in any way, stating: “When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book.” Many people simply say “God” in place of saying “a higher power of my own conception.”

In recovery, there are those who are religious and those who are decidedly non-religious. Whatever avenue a person chooses to form a connection with their higher power is entirely acceptable. Even atheists can have spirituality. Often, the concept of spirituality among atheists reflects a power greater than themselves, such as nature. Gary Bryson, in an ABC article entitled Can Atheists Find Spirituality Without God? explains, “The wonders of nature come up time and again when atheists talk about spirituality. It’s not surprising: if you believe that this life is the only one we have, the mysteries of the universe, the Earth and our place in it take on a different slant.”

Sam Harris, in his book Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, explains, “Spirituality must be distinguished from religion– because people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences.” For Harris, “deepening that understanding, and repeatedly cutting through the illusion of the self” is what he means by spirituality. A large part of 12-step recovery is humbling ourselves to the notion that we are not the most powerful thing in the universe. Whether we define our higher power as God, nature, karma, or any number of thing, we can recover as long as we have the capacity to be honest, open-minded, and willing.

Your life can become one of mental, physical, and spiritual health. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addiction specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help you heal from the damages caused by drugs and alcohol. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431