Spirituality in Recovery
One of our clinicians at Telebehavioral Health.US, Debi Anson, LMSW, LCSW, CAADC, wanted to share a story about the importance of spirituality in recovery.
When I was in my college years, my dad had a co-worker named “Smitty”. I saw
him at the grocery store one day and mentioned it to my dad, “Hey, I saw Smitty
at the store.”
“Oh yeah? Smitty is good people” my dad commented.
Being an English major at the time, the phrase immediately rubbed me the wrong
way, but I knew exactly what he meant. Smitty was good people. He had
integrity, honesty, compassion and he had a heart for service. He practiced daily
what the AA Big Book calls “spiritual principles.”
Isn’t that at its core what spirituality actually is? Whether we practice traditional mystic spirituality through perhaps a religious tradition such as prayer, worship, or devotional
readings, or we practice non-mystical spirituality, the end result is that we come out better people for it.
I’ve known people who have rigorous religious practices and people who don’t- stating they are most in touch with the universe when they are sitting in a tree stand waiting for the sun to rise and the anticipation of seeing that first deer. Both are connected. Peace. Serenity.
Let me share a story.
There was a little boy with his grandfather who went out kite flying. While the little boy flew the kite the grandfather read nearby, not paying attention to where his grandson’s kite was flying. Suddenly clouds passed over which made the grandfather look up. He could see the little boy holding the string to the kite but the kite itself was not visible.
The grandfather approached the boy and said, “I don’t see your kite. I am afraid you may have lost it.”
The small child looked into his face and said, “No, I didn’t.”
“Then, how do you know it’s up there?” asked the grandfather.
“Because I feel the pull of the string, Grandpa!” replied the boy.
When we are in active addiction we often get so lost that we can no longer feel our own inner voice or feel “the pull of that string.” We just can’t seem to connect with ourselves or others. The guilt, the shame, it envelops us. The isolation is all-encompassing.
Embracing spirituality in recovery is a lot like learning to feel the “pull of the kite string”-listening to that internal moral compass that directs us. But we have to quiet ourselves somehow to do that. It’s about getting right with ourselves, getting right with a Higher Power, getting right with others, and ultimately right with the universe.
It’s about keeping our side of the street clean, doing the next right thing, and having gratitude for the things we have in our lives. It’s about transformation and relationship. It’s about making our bed in the morning, brushing our teeth, getting proper exercise and eating healthy because we want to take care of the gift of our bodies.
Spirituality in recovery is truly “progress not perfection” because in recovery, we are always growing and changing. Embrace it. However you practice it, embrace it because it’s your journey.