There is no doubt in my mind that daily spiritual practices can be useful in addiction recovery.
For almost three years, I have been in a 12-step program for alcoholism. The program I am in is undoubtedly based on spiritual principles.
When I first got sober, I had a sponsor who would say the following upon awakening: “God, please remove my desire, my compulsion and my obsession to drink and do drugs. Help me to know what your will is for my life and give me the power to carry that out.” At the end of his day, you would say, “God, thank you for keeping me sober today.” He suggested I say both of these prayers as well. I have followed his advice. This is a daily spiritual practice for me.
Addiction is a very self-absorbed way of life. Everything I did then was to get the next drink. There was nothing else that mattered. I did not realize that when I first got sober, but working the 12-steps of my program for alcoholism have helped me see that.
Throughout my day, I try to see life as an opportunity to do something for someone else. A famous speech asked us all “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” For me, the same rings true in my daily life. As important as my morning and evening prayers are, what I do with the day that has been given me matters most.
It is amazing how life will unfold when I practice the spiritual principle of service to others.
I am not talking about going out and saving the world. I am talking about putting my elderly neighbor’s newspaper on her porch when I walk my dog in the morning, holding the door open for someone when I am at a store, and actually listening to someone else when they need an ear. Focusing on someone and something else is incredibly freeing and rewarding.
This may sound very “pie in the sky,” but for me it is simply a practice of living each day present for other people around me. The most significant blessing has been with my family and friends. Today, I can actually show up for them. I can be the responsible son my mother deserves. I can be the brother that I always wanted to be. I can be a friend who is there for others.
Daily spiritual practices can be helpful in addiction recovery. The laws of reciprocity are real and true. Put something good out there and see what might happen.
Ask not what your country can do for you (Kennedy’s inuagural address). (n.d.). Retrieved March, 2017.