Did you know that drug dependence impacts the spirit as well as the body and mind? People often use drugs to ease inner loneliness and combat the pressures of life. Some people become addicted to narcotic painkillers. Many rehab programs use spiritual principles to relieve both mental and physical anguish.
How Spirituality Helps
Spirituality is a state of completeness. You enter this dimension when feeling close to nature, a higher power, and people. The fulfillment of spirituality replaces the fleeting pleasure of drugs. Your life develops deep meaning and purpose.
Research shows that communion with God supplies the strength to resist addiction. Additionally, being a member of a faith-based community fosters security. Prayer, meditation, and reflection provide the experience of spirituality. These practices also decrease anxiety, depression, and stress.
Addiction to Pain Medication
But what if you have chronic pain that’s only relieved by prescription drugs? Prolonged use renders dangerous side effects. Opioid analgesics are especially hazardous. This class of medications includes codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone.
Opioids cause mental impairment, nausea, constipation, and breathing difficulty. Long-term use can result in drug tolerance, requiring increasing dosages to lower discomfort. Some people develop greater pain sensitivity when a narcotic effect wears off.
Meditation is an effective alternative to prescription painkillers. It’s the process of quieting thoughts. With practice, one’s mind can become so still, it enters a state where pain doesn’t exist! Although the complete reprieve may be temporary, the lingering calm reduces pain severity. Related anxiety also plummets.
The goal of formal meditation is steeping the mind in peace. The object of meditation can vary. It can be a word or syllable you silently repeat. You can gaze at an image or focus on a sound. A common anchor is the breath.
To meditate on your breath, begin by sitting comfortably, back straight and feet flat on the floor. Then fix your attention on your in-breaths and out-breaths. When thoughts distract you, bring your mind back to each inhale and exhale. Begin with 10 minutes of daily practice, increasing the time and frequency as you’re able.
Faith-Based Rehab Works!
According to Pew Research Center, 70 percent of American adults consider themselves Christian. This large number of believers explains religion’s appeal in drug treatment. Many people find comfort in rehab programs that incorporate spiritual practices.
In 2015, Addiction Research and Theory reported that faith-based rehab promotes positive mental health and long-term recovery. Additionally, community support is a powerful means to staying sober. Members learn skills, verified by peers, for handling life’s challenges.
Brain MRIs performed when people meditate show that the awareness of pain by the brain decreases significantly. At Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Medicine, researchers have assessed the effects of meditation on chronic pain. In 2010, Dr. Steven Rosenzweig, an emergency department doctor, conducted a study, highlighting three benefits of regular meditation practice:
- pain intensity lessens
- episodes decrease in number
- pain intrudes less on thoughts
Quieting the mind also facilitates hearing God’s guidance, an experience called “inner knowing.” Ideas revealed bear a sense of rightness.
In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous pioneered the recovery model used by 74 percent of rehab centers. Termed the “12-Step Program,” it employs the practices of reflection, confession, prayer, and reconciliation. With this approach, practitioners touch a redeeming power. Here’s a brief summary of the 12 points of action, presented in first person:
1. Addiction has caused my life to spin out of control.
2. I believe God can restore my sanity.
3. I yield my will and life to His power.
4. I’ve taken a personal inventory.
5. I admit and confess my wrongs to God and another witness.
6. I’m ready to relinquish my flaws to God.
7. I humbly ask God to eliminate my weaknesses.
8. I name all the people I’ve wronged and to whom I want to apologize.
9. I’m contacting the people I’ve hurt, where possible, and trying to make things right.
10. I will continue to monitor my actions and promptly admit when I’m wrong.
11. I pray to know God’s will and ask His grace to carry it out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening, I will continue practicing these principles, sharing them with others bound by addiction.
For 81 years, the 12-Step Program has been liberating people from addiction! Participants receive the assistance of a sponsor to implement the steps. Group meetings promote spiritual fellowship, beginning and ending with prayer. Members share their experiences, helping each other remain drug-free.
Connecting with God yields the determination to overcome addiction. You achieve this contact through prayer. God is a living power, quick to respond to your needs.
People in faith-based rehab experience a freeing presence. Bound by limitation, they can feel when a greater force breaks the chains. Then, to sustain the energy of that power, they follow spiritual principles.
With ongoing practice, the relationship with God grows stronger over time. AddictionBlog.org cites the following benefits of prayer:
- anxiety relief
- improved mental focus
- strengthened will
- diminished stress
- ever-increasing joy
People in recovery are advised to begin prayer with thanking God for His blessings. Then, convey problems and concerns. Ask Him for forgiveness and healing from addiction. Conclude by requesting His strength and protection.
Spiritual community is a vehicle for God’s guidance. The Almighty speaks through individuals who’ve traveled the path of addiction to freedom. Members of 12-Step Programs can attend as many weekly meetings as they wish. Some people begin with daily attendance, tapering frequency as their resolve grows.
One body of research proving the efficacy of the 12-Step Program is Project MATCH. The federally supported study compared the outcomes of three forms of treatment – 12-Step Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET).
The study followed 806 clients, randomly assigned to the three interventions. At the study’s conclusion, researchers assessed sobriety length. Those in the 12-Step Program were alcohol-free the longest. AA members stayed sober 83 percent of the time while CBT and MET clients were abstinent 66 percent of the time.
A drug addict encounters God during a desperate crisis. Realizing the futility of drug dependence, they call out for help. The compassionate ear of the Almighty hears and answers. The process of recovery begins.
Prayer is the lifeline to the Ultimate Power Source (UPS). Spiritual practices and a caring community keep a person connected. Meditation enables receiving God’s guidance. Faith-based rehab offers proven success for those committed to the practices. The Almighty is a kind Father, His arms wide open with love.