Personal Growth


Overcoming addiction requires a strong support system. Faith-based recovery programs are rooted in the belief that there’s no greater source of support than God himself.

Faith-Based Recovery vs. Traditional Rehab Programs
Faith-based recovery programs take a holistic approach to addiction recovery. They treat addiction as a disease that affects the body, mind, and spirit. Key principles behind this approach include:

  • An exploration of one’s spirituality is seen as a way to promote peace and connection.
  • Participants are encouraged to trust God to provide the support they need to begin the healing process.
  • Instead of being greeted with shame or judgement, participants are urged to practice self-compassion and forgiveness.
  • Letting go of the past is the only way to work towards a brighter future.
  • God is powerful and all knowing, but individual human beings aren’t expected to have their lives all figured out. Past mistakes are simply part of your personal journey.

Faith-based recovery programs encourage participants to explore their relationship with God through meditation, prayer, reflection, and Bible study. They are guided and encouraged to find a personal way to connect with a higher power for strength and emotional support.

Participants in faith-based recovery program still receive counseling, nutrition education, stress management support, and evidence-based treatment for any co-occurring disorders. The only difference is that the exploration of one’s spirituality is integrated throughout every step of the treatment process.

Benefits of Faith-Based Recovery
No one type of substance abuse treatment program is right for everyone. Every addicted person has their own unique challenges when it comes to understanding the roots of their addiction. However, some of the benefits of a faith-based recovery include:

  • A less selfish and self-seeking world outlook
  • Fewer feelings of self-pity and regret over past decisions
  • Healing past emotional wounds
  • Confidence in your ability to handle situations that might trigger the urge to drink or use drugs
  • A renewed sense of hope and purpose
  • A connection to a supportive group of likeminded individuals

Preventing Relapse
One common concern people have when seeking any substance abuse treatment is whether the program will prevent relapse. Faith-based recovery programs work to reduce the risk of relapse by educating participants in the 5 Ps of recovery:

Purpose: Setting actionable goals and working towards dreams gives those in recovery the motivation to continue despite obstacles.
Practice: Changing your brain’s response to stressful situations and embracing healthier behavior patterns is a skill that takes practice, much like learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language.
Perseverance: Sobriety requires patience. It doesn’t happen immediately. Rather, the recovery process is a journey taken one day at a time.
Pray: Asking a higher power for guidance and wisdom combats feelings of weakness. Prayer can serve as a powerful way to cope with addiction triggers.
Praise: Focusing on positive accomplishments instead of dwelling on past mistakes robs addiction of its power. Expressing gratitude for one’s blessings also serves to provide a sense of perspective.

Participants in faith-based recovery programs often begin attending regular worship services in their communities after they’re discharged from treatment. This helps build a social connection that combats the loneliness and isolation that drives addiction.

Determining If a Faith-Based Recovery Program Is Right for You
St. Joseph Institute is a Christian non-denominal program that’s not connected to any church or religious organization. Anyone who wants to discover how deepening their faith can help them face the challenge of clean and sober living is welcome. It doesn’t matter if you’ve actively attended worship services your entire life or if you’re just now expressing the desire to explore your spirituality. To learn more, please call 888-727-4465.

meditateAt St. Joseph’s, we appreciate that the road to sustainable recovery can be long, winding, and unique for each individual. There is one strategy that all people suffering from addiction can add to their arsenal – something that we incorporate into our traditional services, groups, and medical treatments. As you may recall from time spent at St. Joseph’s, we encourage those on any step of the recovery process to explore the practice of mindful meditation.

Meditation is not the legs-crossed, loud-humming, floating-on-a-cloud-to-enlightenment that is often portrayed in the media. Mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery is a legitimate, scientifically supported method for engaging more closely with your innermost thoughts, feelings, and temptations. What’s more, meditation can be practiced by anyone, regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs.

Before recapping how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, let’s begin by highlighting some of its benefits. Everyone – whether they’re dealing with substance use issues or not – can gain from meditating. Meditation is an opportunity to step back from the clamor of everyday life and look inwards. For most people, sitting quietly is a lost art. Being alone with our thoughts can be scary. Mindfulness invites us to sit, breathe, and consider those thoughts without judgment – to consider ourselves and our actions without judgment. So, what can meditation do for you in your road to recovery?

St. Joseph’s Institute believes individuals in recovery who incorporate meditation are better equipped to:

  • Handle the extreme highs and lows that often occur during early recovery.
  • Traverse cravings that often creep up throughout the recovery process. Meditation helps individuals realize that they don’t need to be victims to their thoughts, nor must they act on them when they could lead to destructive behavior.
  • Avoid a relapse by spotting warning signs early. More self-awareness can have long-lasting and positive effects.
  • Manage interpersonal relationships. People who practice mindfulness meditation grow to be more patient, understanding, and slower to anger. Applying those traits to relationships with family and friends, especially while recovering, can make a world of difference.

How can you begin or develop this journey towards a more mindful recovery? Most meditation practitioners aim to meditate every day, ideally at the same time each day. Like practicing for a sport, your meditation practice will benefit from consistency. Start with 10 or 15 minutes; then, build your way up to longer sessions. Find a quiet place. Choose a comfortable sitting position. Take a few deep breaths – and then allow your breathing to return to its natural state. Observe your breath. Close your eyes and focus on the air rushing in – and then out of your nostrils. When a stray thought or mental chatter distracts your focus, don’t be alarmed. This is normal. Acknowledge the thought – whether it’s about your next meal, an argument with a friend, or a craving – and try to let it float away. That thought is just a thought; it doesn’t define you as a person. Return to your breath.

As discussed at our facilities, there are many methods of meditation and you will find what works best for you. While “sitting” can initially be challenging and consistency is key, it’s important to remember that meditation for recovery can be practiced anywhere at any time. It doesn’t require any special equipment or expensive training. Outside of a daily routine, meditation can take the form of a few deep breaths outside of a liquor store, a reminder that you have the choice not to go in. It can be a calm moment to collect yourself before entering into a social situation where you know there will be substance use. It can be a chance to refocus on your goals before a call to your sponsor.

Take this opportunity to learn more about mindfulness and its benefits. Recently, the New York Times published a comprehensive introduction to meditation. If you’re still not convinced, read more about the science behind meditation for recovery.

If you haven’t meditated already, today’s the day to start.

Some research sources used for this article:

From mindless mess to mindfulness: Meditation practice in recovery

Mindfulness Meditation in Recovery

Meditation for Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Recovery

 

willThe fourth component of the True Self is Will. Will works with feelings, reasoning mind, and intuitive mind. It takes the information from these three sources and uses it to make decisions. We exercise our will when we choose. When we choose intimacy, we can know that our will is functioning at its highest level. When we choose separation, we can know that our will is dysfunctional and take the steps needed to restore it.

The will can enhance intimacy by helping us make good choices in the areas of:

  • Bonding and trusting
  • Assessing what is safe and what is not safe
  • Developing in healthy ways that establish a solid sense of self
  • Cultivating good relationships
  • Developing healthy boundaries
  • Making commitments
  • Finding the strength to endure difficult times
  • Setting and achieving goals

When our will relies primarily on feelings, it can make impulsive or fearful choices, choices based on the emotion of the moment or on old, unhealed wounds.  When our will relies primarily on our mind, it can make poor choices based on false logic, irrational beliefs, negative thoughts, or fantasies. Indecision, a failure of will, arises from fear. We are afraid of choosing wrongly, of making a decision that will hurt us or the ones we love.

The best way to ensure that we make good choices—choices that favor intimacy—is to attend to our feelings, reasoning mind, and intuitive mind. We can also do the following:

  1. Set our intention. If we consciously intend that our choice promote love and intimacy, we can make the decision without fear of the consequences. We can trust that, even when a choice seems to go badly, our continued intention to favor intimacy will triumph.
  2. Seek help from a higher power. For example, if we believe in a loving God who wants us to reach our highest potential, we can pray, “Align my will with the will of God.” If we take a moment every day to ask for this alignment, our choices will become more conscious, and we will be more likely to discern our best path.

Of course, sometimes our choices might still lead to consequences that we didn’t foresee. But rather than kick ourselves, we can remember that all of our choices are opportunities for growth. We can also remember to forgive ourselves quickly and to return, again and again, to an intention of love over fear.

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