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Why Spirituality Is More Effective Than Religion

Addiction takes away a person’s ability to feel a spiritual connection with the world, but the road to recovery is the foundation for a better life for those affected by addiction. Spirituality can enhance an individual’s quality of life in recovery by diminishing substance use behavior through social support, meditation, prayer, or hobbies such as art, music, or journaling. To appreciate spirituality's significance in addiction recovery, we must first understand its differences from religion.

What Is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

Religiousness is defined as the extension to which an individual believes, follows, and practices religion, and usually, these beliefs impact how individuals pursue their lives and treat others. Religion can sometimes feel like a checklist where each task must be completed to be proven worthy of salvation.

Spirituality is an openness to God, nature, or the universe. A person can experience harmony with truth, feelings of love, hope and compassion, inspiration or enlightenment with a sense of meaning and purpose in life, and an individual’s connection with God. Spirituality is a personal journey to one’s soul. Individuals can choose what speaks to them regarding spirituality and remain united with their beliefs.

When comparing spirituality and religiosity, religiosity has failed to connect with self-rated health, health complaints, or life satisfaction. However, spirituality is significantly supplementary with self-rated health, health complaints, and life satisfaction. Developing spirituality can result in increasing the prospect of higher life satisfaction and lessening the likelihood of poorer health and repeated health complaints.

Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery

Spirituality is an inward experience that involves a shift in self-awareness. Religion is an objective experience where the emphasis is external, such as the church or scripture.

In a 2019 study, it was found that 73% of addiction treatment programs in the United States involve a spirituality-based component, such as 12-Step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), that strongly accentuate dependence on God or another Higher Power like wind, the ocean or animals to discover sobriety. The reason for this is these powers are always forgiving, don’t judge, and are infallible. Furthermore, more than 84% of evidence-based studies show faith as a positive factor in addiction prevention and recovery.

Spirituality can have an encouraging influence throughout daily life. Recovery can be instantaneously strengthened by encouraging a connection to a Higher Power.

The role of spirituality, or the faith in a Higher Power, helps inspire physical and psychological healing. Some of the benefits of spirituality in recovery are listed below.

  • It helps to discover an enhanced meaning in life. Finding new purpose and significance due to spiritual transformation can motivate positive actions in daily life.
  • Spirituality encourages accountability. A rock-solid relationship with a Higher Power forms a sense of responsibility in recovery to the Higher Power and the individuals who love and care about the recoveree.
  • It promotes mindfulness. Spirituality can create a mindful way of walking through life, cultivated through meditation and prayer.
  • Spirituality increases humility. A spiritual worldview typically implies applying faith-based virtues such as compassion, humility, and empathy.
  • It helps people connect with something outside themselves. Recovery allows people to move out of isolation, where they are fixated on themself and the substance, to develop strength from their Higher Power.

How to Create a Spiritual Routine in Recovery

Each recovery journey is unique, and that is true regarding spiritual practices. So, how does one create a spiritual practice? Below are a few ways to incorporate a spiritual practice in addiction recovery.


Daily meditation routines enhance mindfulness and empower individuals to be attentive to inner thoughts that can be destructive to well-being and recovery. Many meditation methods exist, but the essential aspect is to create a quiet time out of each day to discover a happy mental space and to find one's center.

Mindfulness meditation reduces stress, pain, anxiety, cravings, and physical pain related to chronic stress. In addition, mindfulness meditation can help people learn to relax, which is an important skill to obtain in recovery. People become accountable when they become mindful of their actions.


Incorporating yoga into daily life helps reduces stress and anxiety and improves physical and mental health. Practicing yoga helps people in addiction recovery improve awareness and focus while maintaining the attentiveness necessary to remain mentally focused.

Art, Music, or Journaling

Expressing emotions through creating art, singing, or writing down thoughts can promote peace and healing. Many individuals find spirituality in appreciating a piece of art, listening to calming music, or through healing written words. The concept is to be in the moment while practicing gratitude.

Many individuals in recovery experience considerable pain when accepting accountability for things they have done to loved ones. Applying spiritual practices allows individuals to heal through forgiveness, reconnecting with loved ones, and discovering a sense of belonging.

Finding Help for Substance Use Disorder

It can feel overwhelming when searching for help with substance use disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the behavioral health treatment services locator to help find mental health services in your area. In addition, you can find helpful information about treatment facilities that provide specialty care by using SAMHSA’s substance use treatment locator.

Spirituality in addiction recovery enhances a person’s quality of life by encouraging a connection to a Higher Power. There is always hope if you believe you may be addicted to a substance. If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, Present Moments Recovery can help you. In San Diego, California, Present Moments Recovery offers treatment programs incorporating holistic methods and spirituality with evidence-based treatments to heal the mind, body, and spirit. Our family-run treatment center provides a home-like environment and specializes in establishing a firm foundation in addiction recovery. Our compassionate team of professionals will work with you one-on-one to provide the best treatment plan. Present Moments Recovery believes healing can only happen in the present moment. You cannot change what transpires around you until you start transforming what is within you. Call us to learn more about the treatment options we offer at (619) 363-4767.



Read Full Bio
Mark G
Mark Gladden brings both personal and professional experience to his role as co-founder of Present Moments Recovery. Now in long-term recovery himself after struggling with addiction for years, Mark understands firsthand the challenges men face in achieving and maintaining sobriety. It was this insight, combined with a desire to help others, that led Mark to establish Present Moments Recovery.

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