The Importance of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery

1 January 2017

Addiction Course Research Assignment The importance of spirituality in addiction Recovery Introduction: I chose to do my research assignment on the importance of spirituality in addiction recovery because I am interested in how people change their lives from addiction and what helps them in recovery. In my community addiction course I learnt about recovery and what helps. The 12 step program came up a lot and people are becoming more spiritual. I did not know anything about the 12 step programme and I related spirituality solely to religion, so I became interested in doing research on it.

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In this assignment, I aim to look at spirituality and its definition. I will look at N. A in Ireland and where it started, I will also look at the 12 step programme- what it is and how it works. To get my information I will search the internet interview people in recovery look up books in the library get literature from narcotics anonymous and speak to agencies. Spirituality To some people spirituality is religion and formed worship like going to mass or group prayer, customs like communion, confirmation, and marriage.

To others it may be a belief from within a religion to guide them, or a personal experience that might set them on their way in a spiritual journey. It can be the desire to grow in wisdom, with honest self-evaluation you can gain inner peace. The Oxford English dictionary has many definitions of spirituality, however the first definition for spirit is ‘’intelligent or immaterial part of man soul’’ and the definition under spirituality is ‘’ given of spirit as opposed to matter’’. Spirituality is seeking a purpose or a meaning for one’s life, finding peace of mind and self-worth.

The word spiritual can be found in the definition for health. In May 1983 Dr, Halfdam Mahler, in the world health organisation on the global strategy for health for all by the year 2000 said ‘’ the spiritual dimension may turn out to be of historical value’’. Since 1946 the definition of health that uses positive terms in the constitution identifies three dimensions, which are physical, mental, social and since 1983 spiritual was added. Looking after your spiritual health can be beneficial with or without addiction.

Meditation can help relive anxiety and stress and can have a sense of calm. Many researchers feel that spirituality is what is missing in most substance abuse treatment centres. This is not to say that preaching sermons is going to cure drug addiction, however, just as the community has ignored the importance of treating dual diagnosis (substance abuse and mental health disorder diagnosis) as one disease, ignoring the importance of spirituality may also be damaging. The constructs of such a program can be simple and easily applied.

For instance, the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous program is based on the idea that bringing meaning into a person’s life takes away the need for outside substances. In fact, the founder of AA, Bill Wilson, who was an alcoholic himself, says that he stopped using drugs when he had a religious experience. Narcotics Anonymous Narcotics Anonymous started in Sun Valley Los Angeles in 1953 by a group of addicts who had been attending AA meetings. They had seen the benefits of the AA program to recovering alcoholics and decided to set up a similar group for addicts.

For the next few years NA grew slowly, and in the 1980’s there was a huge growth in NA meetings. NA groups spread to 127 countries worldwide and currently, it is estimated that there are 43,900 weekly meetings taking place. Narcotics Anonymous started in Ireland in 1978 when a group of addicts in Dublin who were attending the AA decided to start their own meetings for people with drug addiction. They had no information about Narcotics Anonymous. Their first meeting was held in Clondalkin, Dublin 22 in a drug treatment centre and went under the name drugs anonymous.

They made a poster for the first meeting using the first step from AA that read ‘’ we admitted we are powerless over drugs, and that are lives have become unmanageable. ‘’ They used books from AA and members substituted the word alcohol for the word drugs. The first secretary of this group was Tom C. In 1979, they got some NA literature from the world service. The meetings in Ireland spread slowly over the next five years and in 1983 there were only six groups around the country. Then two events occurred that led to rapid growth. The first event was the publication of the first edition of basic ext which helped the increase of growth in Ireland and around the world. The second was a visit to London for a learning weekend. They returned and created a local service structure which lead to the area service committee, it was set up in a members flat in Rathmines, Dublin on the 14th of May 1983. They then made contact with members in the UK and Germany. The first ever European Service Conference of NA was held in Trinity College Dublin in 1983. This went on to become the European convention and conference of NA which is now a yearly celebration of recovery and it rotates around NA communities in Europe.

There are around 170 regular meetings around Ireland and 40 in prisons, hospitals, and treatment centres. NA is fully self-supporting. Each meeting asks for a contribution to help pay for rent of the venue, refreshments and literature, but it is not required. Any money left over is passed on to the fellowship. NA is a non-profit organisation and it is not a religious organisation. There are no promises or pledges required the only requirement of NA membership is a willingness to stop using. The programme is set up on spiritual principles, through which they are recovering from a hopeless state of mind and body.

The main aim is to stay drug free and bring the message to others who are still suffering, by meeting and talking about what they have been through and helping others motivates them to stay drug free. By working the steps they are changing their lives for the better. The 12-Steps-Programme-How it works The first step is admitting ‘’we are powerless over addiction and our lives have become unmanageable’’. At the meetings they ask questions like ’’are we sure we want to stop using? Do we understand that we have no control over drugs? ’’ They agree that addiction is a physical, mental, social and spiritual disease.

At this point they may feel relief or surrender as they are looking at the effects drugs have had on their lives. The new member is the most important person at the meeting and may wish to ask a member to sponsor them, a sponsor is a member of NA who will try to guide you through the steps and you can call on if things get you down and you need support. The first step is about honesty and questioning yourself and admitting defeat with drugs and being willing to go regularly to meetings and have an open mind. When you start going through the steps you are starting a new way of life.

You can start to rebuild relationships with your family and move on from friends or people you were connected with in drug use. You start to change your way of living and build a new social life with positive people. There is no time limit for one going through each of the steps it is up to the person themselves and each step is a sole searching journey which is why some people find it helpful to write their experience down. As the person goes through each of the steps they begin to find hope and good morals which will help them in their recovery.

The NA believes to stay drug free you must keep attending meetings and help others in recovery, giving back what you have learnt. They believe if a person stops attending meetings or stops being connected with the fellowship they may fall in to bad habits or relapse. The 12-Steps Step 1: Honesty After many years of denial, recovery can begin with one simple admission of being powerless over our addiction. Step 2: Faith That before a higher power can begin to operate; you must first believe it can. Step 3: Surrender By making a decision to entrust our lives over to the care of God or higher power; as we understand it.

Step 4: Soul Searching Looking within yourself to find the real you and having the courage to be completely honest with yourself. Step 5: Integrity Practicing the principle of self-honesty is essential when we admit to ourselves the exact nature of our wrongs. Step 6: Acceptance Accepting character defects exactly as they are and becoming entirely willing to let them go. Step 7: Humility Asking a higher power to do something that cannot be done by self-willing or mere determination. Step 8: Willingness Making a list of those harmed before coming into recovery may sound simple.

Becoming willing to actually make those amends is the difficult part. Step 9: Forgiveness We make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Step 10: Maintenance It is absolutely necessary to maintain spiritual progress in recovery. Step 11: Making Contact To discover God as you understand him. Step 12: Service Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. Having gone through the 12 steps they have begun a new way of life.

Spiritual principles help to be honest, have compassion and integrity. They will go true the steps many times, and each time will be more soul searching as it is a life journey finding peace within. Conclusion Many drug addicts use drugs to fill a void or emptiness in their lives, as they become more addicted their lives seem empty and they lose self-worth and confidence in themselves. Their lives become out of control and meaningless, everything is affected including health, family, and work. When a person begins recovery it is not enough to just go through detox.

While doing my research I visited Camino network in Enfield, Co Meath. It is a residential centre which helps drug dependent men achieve a drug free life. Camino means journey of life and the programme includes spiritual direction group work, NA meetings, up-skilling, and counselling. The residents are on a journey of recovery which will change their lives. When I visited the centre it was around Christmas time and I spoke to some of the residents who were half way through their 13 week program they explained what was helpful, and a lot of the residents said the counselling and the NA meeting s.

They told me there are no religious practices required like mass or prayer . They spoke about NA being more spiritual this was how I began looking at the definition up to that point I did not see one without the other. I have found that spirituality is not only helpful to people in drug recovery but to anyone. THE 12 step program has been helpful in recovery for many people; it helps re-build lives, and gives a purpose. By following the program and attending meeting they are on a journey to a new and meaningful life.

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