ADDICTIONS AND SPIRITUALITY
Have you been affected by someone else’s drinking or drugging? Do you stay up at night worrying about someone you love? Are you frustrated that your efforts of trying to control haven’t worked?
What does Spirituality have to do with addiction? It has everything to do with it. Addiction is a family disease that affects the person abusing as well as family members. It is a Spiritual disease and the way to recover is through developing Spirituality. This disease has been likened to as having a “hole in the soul.”
Spirituality is the life of the spirit and an awareness of a presence sometimes alone in stillness and sometimes with others. It is a “connectedness” with self, others and a Power greater than yourself. That Power may be referred to as Higher Power, God, Source, Universe – whatever is comfortable for you. It’s important to understand Spirituality is not religion. Unfortunately, many people have been turned off by organized religion and think Spirituality is religion. You can be religious and not spiritual and spiritual and not religious
When someone is actively drinking or drugging, they are disconnected from themselves, from others and from their Source. They are lonely, scared and confused. Often their lives are out of control and they’ve lost family members, jobs, homes due to their addiction. It is devastating for the person who is addicted as well as for family members.
Family members often blame themselves, try to control their loved one and in the end lose themselves. Being involved with an addicted person for any length of time and trying to reason with them can be discouraging. Children suffer because they think that if the parent really loved them, they would stop using. Many have turned to Al-anon and Al-ateen to cope with this devastating and life threatening disease. In Al-anon you learn the three C’s. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it.
The stress of living with someone who is addicted can have numerous effects:
Physical: You may develop health problems, such as headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, upset stomach, colitis, or heart problems
Emotional: You may feel angry, resentful, irritable, lonely, guilty or depressed
Social: In relating to others, you may be withdrawn, aloof, isolated, embarrassed, aggressive, or controlling
Spiritual: Your outlook on life may become bitter, despairing, helpless, hopeless or lacking in faith
As family members, we learn we can’t “fix” the addicted person. We need to allow addicts the dignity to recover at their own pace. Learning to detach with love is a skill that must be learned and practiced on a daily basis.
Detachment is regaining your identity and taking responsibility for your own life – and admitting you cannot control the life of another person. Detaching does not mean that you stop caring. It means that you stop trying to control someone else. You need to focus on yourself and make changes in you.
Tips on how to develop Spirituality and live in peace
- Detach and stop enabling – the chemically dependent person must be responsible for their behavior. You can no longer step in and pick up the pieces. It’s important to stop lying, making excuses and covering up for the person’s actions.
- Accept – that changes you make may cause others to be angry and resentful. Expect that. Expect them to react to the healthy changes you are making.
- Do not threaten – Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.
- Focus on yourself and what you can change – Discover what you like to do and what gives you pleasure. Do little things for yourself each day that you enjoy; going for a walk, listening to music, starting a hobby, going out to lunch with a friend.
- “Show up” everyday and develop a spiritual practice of sitting down for 5 minutes and being quiet. Journal and meditating are wonderful tools to incorporate.
- Identify your feelings and share them with someone you trust.
- Practice an attitude of gratitude by focusing on what you do have, rather than what’s missing.
- Have faith that you have everything you need and you are in the presence of a loving presence and you are not alone.
- Change your thinking and your life will change
- Join a recovery group.
- Work with a Spiritual Counselor/Coach
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