Though it tends to take individuals by surprise, the development of an addiction to alcohol or drugs doesn’t occur overnight. Influenced by a number of seemingly disparate factors, becoming addicted is a cumulative process that results from such likes as possible biological predisposition, exposure to substances and their abuse, personal choice and development, and so on. Moreover, the effects that accompany the development of alcoholism or drug addiction are numerous and varied.
Upon developing an addiction, one’s substance of choice becomes the primary motivator and the central, driving force in an individual’s life. The sheer power of the substance turns even the most honest, ambitious, and good-natured people into creatures of desperation, determined to obtain the substance they need to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay by any cost necessary.
After years or even decades of living in the throes of active alcoholism or drug addiction, the addict will have transformed to such a degree as to not only be unrecognizable to others, but also to his or herself. Maintaining an addiction comes at the cost of things like quality of life, financial stability, having a stable and safe place to live, important relationships with friends and loved ones, and even one’s spirituality. Fortunately, there are a number of different avenues that individuals can pursue to overcome addiction and become sober once again.
Widely considered the most effective way to recover from addiction, the inpatient and outpatient programming available at the numerous rehabs nationwide—and even globally—provide the counseling and psychotherapy, coping strategies, life skills, and tools for relapse prevention that have shown a high rate of success in helping addicts achieve lasting sobriety. However, the twelve-step method of Alcoholics Anonymous—with minimal clinical or empirical evidence behind it—has been the cause of millions of individuals’ success in overcoming not only physical dependency, but also the emotional, social, and even spiritual effects of addiction.
The Eleventh Step: Connecting with One’s Higher Power
Twelve-step recovery is so widely acclaimed because it affords a means of physical recovery through emotional, social and spiritual healing. After accepting and admitting powerlessness to addiction as part of Step One, individuals work toward a place of being mentally and emotionally ready to purge one’s character defects and look to the higher power of one’s understanding to make that happen.
Step Four through Step Nine involve learning how to rid oneself of the barriers to sobriety through submitting to the will of one’s higher power, which involves a lot of reflection, soul-searching, and even the making of amends with those who had been wronged over the course of one’s addiction. At Step Ten and beyond, the twelve-step method becomes focused on maintenance; in other words, it’s about continuing what was initiated over the course of the preceding steps on a revolving basis.
According to Alcoholics Anonymous literature, the Eleventh Step involves improving one’s connection with God “or the higher power of [one’s] understanding, praying only for knowledge of His will… and the power to carry that out.” The literature suggests this be done through prayer and meditation, but any other methods used by individuals for the purpose of spirituality or connecting to the figure of their religious beliefs would also apply.
However, the literature also explicitly states that one’s actual twelve-step group or the twelve-step method, in general, is not a sufficient or appropriate stand-in for a higher power; instead, one’s higher power need not be a deity, but can be nature, the cosmos, or any other driving force from which one can derive spiritual strength.
Faith, Spirituality & Recovery
Faith and spirituality have been very important concepts to many who have suffered and recovered from alcoholism and drug addiction. In times of stress and hardship, individuals will often turn to a higher power for the strength to persevere. Moreover, many of faith believe that prayer will result in an improvement in their circumstances, or a decrease in stress in hardship. As recovery is innately a difficult process—especially in the beginning—the implementation of faith in the recovery process has been relatively common since the inception of recovery fellowships such as the Oxford Group.
However, the difference between the concepts of faith and religion and the concept of spirituality is that religion is often associated with the doctrine of religion and the forms of worship shared by a group of parishioners. In contract, spirituality is more about the transcendent, especially as it pertains to the belief that there is more to life than what can be seen.
Much of the research has found a markedly inverse relationship between the strength of one’s faith or spirituality and the likelihood of substance abuse. Although individuals often become more spiritual during times of hardship, people of faith or spirituality also tend to invest into their beliefs when they aren’t experiencing hardship as a way to further enhance one’s quality of life. As such, if one’s spirituality and faith can act as a form of protection from substance abuse, it follows that spirituality can be helpful to individuals who seek to rid themselves of addiction.
Why is Step Eleven Important to the Recovery Process?
By the time an individual has worked their way through the preceding steps to Step Eleven, a certain level of spirituality has been established. Having progressed to an advanced stage of the twelve-step method, one is virtually less focused on things like reparation, amends, and acceptance and, instead, has reached a point of focusing on continued success in recovery.
Moreover, an individual who has reached Step Eleven has come to realize that many of the problems that were either related or contributed to one’s addiction were, to some extent, due to not having their spiritual needs met.
In fact, when Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson conceptualized of the Twelve Steps, he was under the belief that a major contributor to the development of addiction in many is the tendency for spiritually unfulfilled individuals to be seeking fulfillment in a bottle rather than from other, healthier and more productive means. In further solidifying one’s relationship his or her the higher power, the barriers to recovery that had existed prior to embarking on the twelve-step journey lose much of their power, allowing individuals to not only achieve sobriety but to also use their spiritual fulfillment to sustain it.
In further solidifying one’s relationship his or her the higher power, the barriers to recovery that had existed prior to embarking on the twelve-step journey lose much of their power, allowing individuals to not only achieve sobriety but to also use their spiritual fulfillment to sustain it.
Make Your Way to a More Fulfilling Life with Drug Treatment Center Finder
The process of recovery differs in a number of ways for every individual overcoming their addictions. However, there are certain components of the rehabilitation process that have proven to be essential to the longevity of one’s sobriety. Creating a strong connection with God or the higher power of one’s understanding affords individuals with a substantial source of strength with which they can continue making moral inventories, amending wrongs if and when they’re committed, and find themselves spiritually fulfilled.
If you or someone you love if suffering from chemical dependency and would benefit from learning more about the twelve-step method or other forms of recovery, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help. Call today at 855-619-8070 to speak with one of our recovery specialists who can help you or your loved one begin to live a sober, healthy, and fulfilling life.