Using Spirituality to Combat Negative Emotions

Using Spirituality to Combat Negative Emotions

Recovery causes us to look inward – and many times, we’re faced with troubling thoughts, truths, and understandings of the world that make it hard to breathe. Detoxification is one of the first and hardest hurdles to get through in addiction recovery, and it’s because it’s a major change; the physical and emotional ups and downs associated with addiction recovery can cause anyone to want to curse the world at times, and self-pity can even begin to seep in if you feel like your entire world has shifted. When this happens, it’s easy to blame others, God, and situations for happening to you. Depression can even appear every now and then, especially as we wish that we could simply “snap” our fingers and life would settle into place. Of course, it’s never that easy – and through these challenging situations, it’s time to turn towards spirituality for ultimate healing.

Taking Responsibility For the Past

In the past, researchers have explored the way that addiction recovery impacts a person both physically and mentally – major changes, such as with sobriety, can cause a person to experience symptoms of withdrawal. Regret, anger, and deep sadness can occur, and we may even find self-loathing to will itself into existence; we ask ourselves, “how could we have ever let things get this bad?” While these concerns seem very real, it’s important to remember that while we can’t change the past, we can change the present in an effort to change the future. 

Addiction is a disease that takes over the mind, body, and spirit. There are a million fingers that could be pointed for how and why addiction has occurred in your life, but that wouldn’t help you move forward; now is the time to step up and embrace recovery. One of the most powerful ways you can do this is by building up not only your emotional and physical health but by working on building your spiritual side as well. 

How Spirituality Fits into Recovery 

12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, have long covered the topic of spirituality and have helped many people build stronger connections with God. Spirituality opens up our horizons and gives us the space to change our perspectives on ourselves and our lives – and that is when we tend to see some truly transformational experiences occur. Spirituality is felt within the heart and throughout the body, and it’s a major factor for sobriety; the connection that we build with a Higher Power constantly reminds us that as human beings, we’re bound to make mistakes – but by taking responsibility for our actions and understanding that we can’t control every aspect of life, those seemingly challenging situations suddenly become easier to navigate. 

Spirituality truly helps us to focus on the bigger picture that is life, rather than ourselves. 12-Step programs (such as AA or NA) embrace spirituality by guiding people through a series of steps that ultimately help them learn more about themselves and their connection with God, or a Higher Power. While addiction pulls us away from the things that matter most – such as family, friends, happiness, mental health and physical wellness, career aspirations, hobbies and interests, education and so much more, spirituality reels us back in and reminds us of these things. For those who’ve battled with addiction recovery for several years, this feeling of being spiritual can uplift their spirits and cause them to gain an entirely new, wondrous perspective on life – and issues that used to appear so big and concerning now are considered so small in the grand scheme of things.

Pushing Past Negativity

Anger and numbness are common feelings for those in recovery, especially at the beginning as they’re trying to find their way. Hope and faith in a brighter future, however, are two aspects of spirituality that involve relying on a Higher Power to ensure that everything gets taken care of – because we can’t control everything, even if we’d like to. Hope is so powerful, as it’s what helps us continue trying and moving forward despite what may be bringing us down. Faith is what helps us rely on a Higher Power – it brings us humility and moves us away from the egotistical self. Anger and depression weigh us down – hope and faith lift us up.

Previous studies have explored the notion of faith, and they’ve found that those who have more faith in their sobriety goals tend to be less depressed and frustrated. Rather than dwelling on the idea that they could fail, fall short of their goals or experience hurdles along the way, these individuals have faith that everything will be okay – and in doing so, they inherently make their lives more positive in nature.

If you’re ready to pursue a path of sobriety, spirituality, and healing, speak with one of our admissions experts today at 833-801-LIVE.


The Spiritual Side of Addiction

The Spiritual Side of Addiction

Examining addiction, we’re used to looking at the mental, emotional and physical factors of addiction, the correlations between addiction and our mental health, our emotional wellbeing and the physical effects. What many of us fail to realize is that addiction is just as much a spiritual illness as anything else. Looking at the spiritual side of addiction can give us more insight on how to heal from addiction.

Addiction, like other mental and emotional health issues, can arise from the spiritual disconnection we feel from our higher power and our inner selves. When we feel disconnected, we can feel alone and isolated, lost and hopeless. We can feel empty and deeply lonely. We turn to our addictions to fill the void we feel within ourselves. Our addictions are our attempt to escape the deep pain we feel at not being spiritually connected and fulfilled. We’re avoiding confronting the spiritual emptiness we feel, that can make life feel pointless, hopeless and sad. It can really hurt to feel unfulfilled, to feel uncertain of our purpose in life, and to feel as though we’re not living up to our potential. When we don’t feel connected to our true selves and our greater purpose in life, we can be self-destructive and direct our energy in unhealthy ways. We can feel too afraid to do the work we need to do to explore ourselves and learn about ourselves on a deep level. We can grow to hate ourselves.

When we look at our addiction as a spiritual manifestation, we can address the spiritual causes – the trauma we’ve experienced, the losses we’ve sustained, the pain we have yet to heal from. Our spirit is at the core of our being, so everything we experience has a spiritual effect. To heal from our addiction, we can focus on our spiritual healing. How can we heal ourselves at this core level?

Since our disconnection is such a major factor in our unhappiness, we can remedy it by seeking connection – connection to our higher power, to our inner selves and to kindred spirits. We can try praying to our higher power, to our source of creation, to the greater power within our life force. We can explore different religions and spiritualities to find one that resonates with us, that brings us feelings of peace, comfort and security. To help us connect with ourselves, we can use meditation, journaling, and creative expression. To connect with kindred spirits, people who understand us on a soul level, we can seek out opportunities to create community and fellowship, through support groups, recreational activities, attending classes and volunteering.

Healing from addiction is as much about healing spiritually as it is achieving sobriety. The two are interconnected. When we are working on our spiritual health, we are more likely to be able to heal emotionally and to create lifestyle changes that will serve us in our recovery.

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in treatment that connects the mind, body, and spirit. We employ holistic therapies, community building and reflection to support our recovery. Call us today: Call (833) 801-LIVE.


Does Pain Cultivate Empathy?

Seeing Grief as a Spiritual Cycle

When we experience a loss in our life, grief is the natural response to the loss.  The five stages of grief are the phases of grief that most people experience. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  The stages can occur in different order and some stages may occur simultaneously.  The way that grief is experienced by different people varies greatly and allowing people to have their own experience encourages greater emotional health for communities.  It is essential not to repress grieving process so that the loss becomes fully integrated.  This allows the person experiencing loss to move fully back to the present moment.  

For a recovering individual, anger as the stage of grief may require may require heightened awareness and potentially therapeutic support.  Anger is a cautionary emotion for addicts as it can lead to relapse. Yet, it is also a natural emotional response to loss.  Those in recovery need to be mindful about excessive stewing in anger as they experience this stage of grief.  However, this mindfulness must be tempered with the understanding that grief and all of its stages, including anger, are experienced uniquely by different individuals.

Loss and the accompanying grief are not wished upon anyone, but there is profound beauty in the grieving process in response to loss.  As an individual goes on this journey of releasing and rebirthing, there is often a renewal within themselves for life.  In some cases, they rediscover appreciation for all that they do have and love, or a new vision of life springs forward.  There may be a passion project that is born in response to the loss.  In the cases of deep grief, a person who normally is emotionally contained may need to lean heavily on those around them.  This deepened intimacy in response to grief may evolve relationships to a deeper place of connection that continue beyond the grieving process.  

Appreciate what may come forward from a grief journey while also honoring the difficulty of the experience.  As with ancient tribes preparing for the coming winter during the summer harvest, build your community knowing that this process visits everyone.  While in Winter, trust that Spring will always return. The emotional abundance of Spring will be vastly shaped vastly by the way that you prepared for Winter.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


The Spiritual Program of the 12 Steps

The Spiritual Program of the 12 Steps

Many people enter recovery, only after colliding with an experience so challenging, that they become willing to consider a new way of life.  This experience is commonly called a “bottom”. Despite having reached new lows in their life, they still desire to place bounds around what their recovery does and does not include. Often, those boundaries involve the desire to live without embracing a spiritual life.  

Many people arrive to 12 Step programs insisting on recovery without ‘the spiritual part of the program.’ They do not yet understand that the entire program is spiritual.  On the surface, it appears that some aspects, like fellowship and service,  do not require an active spirituality.  Once intimacy with these aspects is experienced, it is apparent that these are also spiritual in nature.

Fellowship, experienced in many ways, includes a lifestyle of maintaining close relationships with people in recovery.  As with all relationships, conflict arises and a crossroads is faced.  The invitation to choose unity with our fellows over whatever indignity is extended.  This crossroads is the same that is faced in the bottom - do we choose the pattern that feels comfortable in the moment or do we choose the path of action that enables longevity for both our own and AA’s well-being?

Service, at its core, is the journey of taking another addict through the 12 Steps which is called sponsorship.  The point of the 12 steps is to have a spiritual awakening sufficient to produce a psychic change.  This is the only means by which an addict will become and remain sober.  Since the service involved in the 12 Steps is about facilitating a spiritual awakening for another sufferer, it is imperative that this experience can be sourced from within.  It is thereby impossible to deliver on the 12th Step without participating in the spiritual ‘part’ of the program.  

There are other kinds of service in the recovery program that do not involve sponsorship and are seemingly free from direct spirituality.  However, there is an imperative to participate in sponsorship to maintain recovery as only one alcoholic talking to another.  It can also be said that other types of service, the sacrifice of self to be in service to another or to the collective is an inherently spiritual expression.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


Everybody’s Got Something

Neuroscience of Spirituality

To many who start the recovery process and lifestyle, the news that it involves a spiritual awakening is bad news.  There is an assumption that the beloved relationship with science and facts must be forsaken for the healing of self-destructive addiction.  For these people, the neuroscience of spirituality is wonderful news!

The neuroscience of spirituality, also named Spiritual Intelligence (SI), is a powerful framework for the recovering person’s process of awakening.  SI is the journey of deepening consciousness or awareness of self.  This transcendence is rooted in the science of the brain.   3 types of spiritual intelligence can be defined:

  • Emotional intelligence (EI) which lives on the right side of the brain
  • Intellectual intelligence (IQ) which lives on the left side of the brain and
  • Spiritual intelligence (SQ) which is a layer of matter circling the right and left sides of the brain

This is exciting news as people are usually identified as either “right-brained” indicating a more creative person or “left-brained” indicating a more logical or scientific-minded person.

Recovery is the journey of ceasing physical addiction, changing daily life behaviors and the evolving consciousness that stems from the integration of those changes.  While this journey of raised consciousness has been accepted in recovery circles for decades, the neuroscience of spirituality is now scientific evidence that this is occurring.  

The primary theory validating this experience is called Integrated Information Theory (IIT).  IIT is the explanation that our brain takes information inputs from the external world via all three intelligence pathways and brings them together in one holistic experience.  The inputs are received and integrated.  It is the interpretation of these streams of information as one unified experience that generates consciousness.  

Since the information being gathered is a mix of objective, clearly defined information and subjective, undefined information that is cooked into one integrated spiritual experience, the outputs generated by varied people with unique life experiences will vary greatly.  It is this reason that the wisdom of AA’s original teaching, A God of His Own Understanding, continues to save lives today.  The effectiveness of allowing each person have their own conception of a higher power is validated by this scientific theory.  

 

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


The Spiritual Malady of Addiction

The Spiritual Malady of Addiction

Many people who are in need of recovery resist it knowing that the solution is spiritual.  The desire to avoid connection with the spiritual aspects of the self are embedded in the nature of addiction.  The avoidance of spirituality keeps the addict in addiction long after the desire to return to whole and healthy living is sparked.  It is in this essence of anticipation of the future, and what it is imagined to hold, that stops so many from living the purpose they were born to live.  

First things first, if anticipation of the future and what holds spiritually is alive, lay it down.  Addiction must be tended to on the physical realm, or at least, this is the primary focus initially.  When anticipation of the future consumes potentially healthy actions of the addict, this is simply another way that the addiction is dominating the healthy self.  The worried or rebellious anticipation of the future is a cue to bring the focus back to seeking physical abstinence and motivations for doing so.  

Once physical abstinence is attained, the addict will cultivate a lifestyle of recovery through the insights revealed through the 12 Steps.  The steps that particularly bring awareness to concrete examples of the spiritual malady of addiction are discovered in Steps 4 and 5.  These steps outline the emotional patterns which have a tendency to the block the ‘sunlight of the spirit’.  As the steps are taken, it may be seen that resentments function to create separation from the people that the addict loves and the whole of life.  It is through emotions and thoughts about them that the addict creates isolation from their relationships.  This isolation sets the stage for return to emotional escapism through addiction.  

Addiction is often referred to as a disease of perception as addicts have a tendency to creating extraneous narrative around the experiences of their lives.  Since this additional narrative often consist of perspectives that causes the addict to feel separate, this is where the spiritual malady lives.  It is through the daily cleansing of perception through the process of the steps and the sharing with another addict that the addict is able to return to living as an integrated part of the whole of life.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


Bathing In Sound For Transformational Meditation

Yoga as a Spiritual Lifestyle

Yoga has diverse ways of being expressed in the lives of people. In simplicity, yoga is usually a framework of physical movements called postures.  They function to offer the practitioner, yogi, to have a spiritual experience breath, body, focus and senses.  Many people will practice yoga fashioned after the philosophy of a specific spiritual teacher.  There are people who become devoted to one philosophy of yoga and others who study many forms of yoga and integrate them into a personal expression. Both are authentic avenues of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle.  

When beginning the journey of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle, it is supportive to take classes at a yoga studio after treatment.  The structure of classes, experience of community and relationship with a teacher will allow yoga to become an integrated experience.  Overtime, the student may discover that yoga came alive in their life and the decision to maintain these structures will become optional.  

When this transcendence occurs, one may find themselves reflecting on what it means to take the yoga practice off the yoga mat and into the world.  The student may return to reflect on these core principles: breath, body, focus and senses and play with them in everyday non-yoga contexts.  For example:

  • Breath: be deeply connected to your breath in the rhythm of walking to the bus stop.
  • Body: discover internal connection to your upright spine as you sit at your laptop sending email.
  • Focus: playing with the dimensions of seeing and listening as you have a social conversation that is not optimally enthralling to you.
  • Senses: explore ways that you can experience layers of taste with appreciation of the healthy meal that you prepared.  

In addition to exploring yoga off the mat, you can also consider Karma Yoga which is the way that bring what you have learned onto the mat into the lives of others.  Sometimes this is sharing your practice or the way it has influenced your life.  Other times, it is simply being of service to the needs of the community that may seem unrelated to yoga.  With all of this woven together and adapted to, one has become a yogi.  

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


Is There A Spiritual Side To Depression?

Is There A Spiritual Side To Depression?

Living with depression is a challenging life experience.  The experience of depression can feel like the attempt to run through waist-deep tar.  Even though you long to sprint through the day, every breath, every step, every thought is moving through the sticky toxicity of depression.  The dualism of depression is that there is a deep longing to be released from it, yet its very nature can block an individual from taking actions that will shift it.  

As we consider how to work with this dualism, it is important to acknowledge that two basic kinds of depression exist. These are depression that is contextually induced and depression that is clinical or chemical in nature.  In the following discussion, we are exploring actions that may influence change with contextual depression.  

The definition of the word ‘depress’ is to be in a lower state and when speaking in spiritual terms, the spiritual life can sometimes be discussed as the pursuit of the ‘higher’ self.  In these terms, the remedy for being relieved of depress-ion is to pursuit elevation of the self.  The self can be elevated by pursuing higher expressions of it self.

Becoming elevated can be accessible by simply choosing to look at our depression differently.  When an individual is dealing with depression, it may be natural and comfortable to look at the circumstances of life as happening to you.  Whether the context is a job loss, relationship ending or the bottom of an addiction, it can be easy to feel like a victim for those circumstances.  However, one can begin to choose our higher self when they pause and ask themselves what actions they might take to create a new situation for their lives.

Sometimes, depression can begin the process of shifting even by simply asking ourselves this question, even if we do not yet have the next right action to take.  The question allows an individual to embrace the possibility that they have access to the internal resources to change their experience and this is an un-depressed perspective.  Once one is willing to ask the question, the higher self will begin to emerge leading the lower part of you to the actions necessary to change the context of your life.  

 

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


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Spiritual Practices To Enhance Your Recovery Every Day

Spirituality is an important part of recovery. Religion and spirituality do not have to be the same. Instead, recovery offers you the opportunity to create your own spirituality and connection to yourself as well as the greater existence.

Immerse Yourself In Inspirational Words

Spirituality is best learned and practiced. You can choose a religious text, a self-help book, spiritual poetry, or whatever else inspires you. Try starting and ending your day with a few minutes of inspirational text. Having the messages, chewing over the meaning, and creating the energy the text provides will help you walk along a spiritual path for the day.

Put Your Thoughts To Action

Prayer, intentions, meditations, hopes, wishes, goals- whatever the term is you want to use to describe the power of positivity, use that throughout the day. The universe is full of fascinating energy between humans, their minds, and their thoughts. What we think creates energy and our energy has a great effect on the world around us. Spend some time each day putting your thoughts to action through prayer, meditation, journaling, or whatever method feels the most spiritually aligning to you.

Integrate More Mindfulness

You can call it walking with the Holy Spirit. You can call it being mindful. You can call it being enlightened. There is a spirituality to the practice of mindfulness when it specifically focuses on noticing the mystery and magnificence of life around you. Pay attention to the way the sun hits the grass, the air moves the flowers, and how the earth smells after it rains. It doesn’t have to be a “God” or any other kind of force that creates such detail. The act of noticing these things means taking the time to connect to the wonderment of being alive.

Be Kind

Kindness is not a character trait, it’s an intrinsic human condition. Great spiritual leaders define themselves by their dedication to kindness. Kindness moves in two directions: inward and outward. In order to be truly kind to others, you must also learn to be kind to yourself. Self-kindness, along with self-compassion is essential to recognizing the humility in being human, just like everyone else.

Share Your Experience, Strength, And Hope

Everyone needs a little extra hope when they are in treatment to recover from an addiction and a co-occurring disorder. When you start to integrate spiritual activities into your daily life, you have a lot to offer other people. You don’t have to preach, but you can humbly offer someone your experiences, encourage them with the strength you are finding, and offer them the hope which helps get you through the day.

Recovery starts with you, so start your recovery with us at Enlightened Solutions. Our partial care programs are rooted in twelve step philosophy, holistic healing, and proven clinical therapy methods. We have the solution. Call 833-801-5483 today for more information.


Can Spirituality Help You Be More Productive?

Practicing spirituality in recovery is about more than utilizing a Higher Power to help you to stay sober. Recovery becomes the anchor in your life, the compass by which you are guided. Developing a spiritual manner of living is like writing your own guidebook on how to stay sober every day. When we create a spiritual center in our lives, everything else follows it. We spend the majority of our lives with ourselves. Our spiritual program directs us in interacting with others, making friends, discovering and developing new morals and values, and who we are as a person. Spirituality is not meant to be a task by which we are burdened but a lifestyle in which we come alive.

Writing about spirituality in the corporate workplace, Dr. Shyam Kumar expresses that “spirituality includes a sense of connection to something larger than ourselves and it involves a search for meaning and purpose in life….it is a means not an end.”

Creating a spiritual environment, he explains, “is not just about setting and implementing rules, it deals with sense of community, adding meaning and helping…to discover their life’s purpose.” He notes that employees in a spiritual environment are more satisfied and find that their performance is enhanced.

In many ways, recovery is a full-time job. We have to work hard all day every day to make sure we are taking the steps we need to in order to stay sober. Spirituality and proactively creating a spiritual environment for ourselves inspires us to stay sober. Like an employee at a job, we are encouraged to keep doing what we are doing, which is staying sober one day at a time.

Here are some quick ideas for building your spiritual environment:

  • Include prayer and meditation in your daily routine. Try finding a daily affirmations or daily reader book that speaks to you.
  • Attract your tribe with your vibe. Find like minded people who are exploring their spirituality as well.
  • Make your home environment more spiritually sound by creating a clean and comfortable space you look forward to coming home to.
  • Build a relationship with your Higher Power. It is one thing to find a Higher Power you want to believe in. Entering a spiritual relationship with the center of your beliefs is a life changing process.