Although each person experiences addiction differently, it’s quite common for those battling substance abuse to feel incredibly empty – these lingering feelings of loneliness and despair are settled deep inside, making it hard to overcome sometimes. In some cases, it’s an injury that makes a person no longer feel functional, or a series of painful events that have continued to scar the way a person views themselves over time. Self-criticism, trauma, relationship issues and major disasters have a way of making us feel as though we’re not good enough in some way or another and that’s when addiction appears – in many cases, to try and feel the void.
The circumstances of our lives have placed us in unique positions over the years, and the pain we’ve endured can leave physical and psychological wounds that are incredibly hard to overcome. For a long time, we may feel as though we’re wandering aimlessly – with no sense of direction or purpose and no true connection to others. It’s this inner turmoil that often leads people to seek out substances – because they’re unsure of where else to go, and they need something to numb the pain.
Previous studies have emphasized that spiritual emptiness is often what accompanies poor mental health and substance dependence. When we’re spiritually empty, we’re lacking a sense of connection to the “bigger picture” that is life; we become cynical, we’re focused on what we don’t have, what we’re missing out on and what we’d rather be doing than healing from our experiences and finding ways to move forward. Addiction affects the mind, body and spirit and when we’re feeling spiritually weak and lost, it becomes easier to latch onto something else – even if it only makes matters worse.
Some would describe spiritual emptiness as a “lack of love” – but it’s more than what’s on the surface. Rather than feeling low because of a lack of love we’re receiving from others, our spiritual emptiness often derives from the fact that we’re not giving ourselves enough love, which is found when we’re more connected spiritually. When this occurs, we don’t see ourselves as worthy, or loveable, or responsible, or deserving of good. With spirituality in our lives, we become much more open to ourselves and others by acknowledging that we have more to offer to this world than we realize.
When we begin to chase after spirituality, we find that we’re more open and generous to others – we are more easily ready to make available what we have to offer to others, rather than pulling ourselves back from experiences that are good for us. This sense of openness in spirituality is filled with a willing generosity – almost as if what we have to offer is our gift to others.
They say that two core aspects of spirituality are divine love and service to others. 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), promote both of these components by helping people open their hearts to God or another Higher Power and by giving to others as an act of love. Previous studies have explored how spirituality helps bring people closer to themselves and others, including teens; researchers have found that the experience of divine love can help people become more geared towards service of others, and this can, in turn, reduce relapse rates and promote a greater sense of character development for those in recovery.
Of course, there are many other ways that spirituality can be defined as well as many ways it can improve your life. Those in addiction recovery may find that spirituality means something different depending on the person; one person may view spirituality as a source of power greater than themselves, while someone else may simply view it as a “guide” through life. Spirituality could be viewed as a form of energy, while it could also mean a connection and universal faith in God. Emotions and love could be central to a person’s spirituality – all that matters is that a person is feeling more connected in mind, body and soul.
Many people who experience spirituality in addiction recovery state that spirituality gives them the chance to accept the problems they’re facing with substance abuse, and it helps them understand that recovery is possible. Spirituality helps people stay open-minded to all the possibilities that recovery offers them, and in many cases, it provides them with a sense of hope and healing.
Spirituality combats emptiness by filling us with purpose, meaning, love and light. 12-Step programs can give us a sense of connection to others who are also on this journey and can enable us to open our hearts more than we ever thought possible. If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery, speak with a professional from Enlightened Solutions today. The time to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit is now.
At Enlightened Solutions we want to help you heal from addiction and are committed to putting you and your recovery first. We offer a comprehensive range of services including outpatient treatment, post-rehab services, continuing care, and long-term treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.
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