Spirituality is undoubtedly a big factor for some recovering addicts, especially as they initially move through substance abuse treatment. However, it doesn’t have to be the primary contributor to drug addiction treatment. In fact, mental health professionals recognize that the success of sobriety is heavily influenced by having a sober community and having the support you need when you need it – not necessarily spirituality.
Nonetheless, there are others who say that without spirituality, drug detox, substance abuse treatment, and sober living in general wouldn’t have happened. There’s no question that the responses to spirituality, among those who are reaching for long-term sobriety, vary widely. Of course, the road to recovery may not always include a spiritual component; it does appear that some form of an inward searching practice is necessary. For instance, if you’re going to change the way you behave, an honest examination of your thoughts and feelings are required on some level. In a way, this alone could be considered spiritual contemplation. It is a means to becoming a better human being, and more importantly, it is a path towards living a healthier life.
For instance, take a look at the twelve steps of the recovery model of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and you’ll immediately see the word, “God”. Many of those who have been drinking or using drugs for a while and who are beginning to attend AA have objections to the spirituality found in the 12-step model. Some might have very strong objections that might even keep them from engaging in the program.
And that’s precisely why there are sober living programs out there that follow a 12-step format but without the spirituality and talk of God. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) was founded in 1985 by James Christopher. It’s a non-profit network of groups to help alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of 12-step programs achieve and maintain sobriety. Christopher achieved sobriety himself in 1978 and has since written two books: SOS Sobriety and Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug-Free.
SOS has helped thousands of addicted persons find sober living and reclaim their lives for over 28 years. Interestingly, SOS welcomes individuals who are both non-spiritual and spiritual but who want a secular environment in which to get sober. SOS welcomes anyone sincerely seeking sobriety from alcohol addiction, drug addiction and compulsive eating. It is known as a highly effective alternative to the 12-step model, and provides yet another path to recovery from addiction.
Rather than crediting a higher power, as the 12-step model does, SOS credits the individual for achieving and maintaining his/her own sobriety. And just like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, anyone looking to get sober can find SOS meetings in many cities throughout the world.
Certainly, the way that each recovering addict feels about the presence of spirituality in his or her recovery will vary from person to person. For instance, although some individuals who suffer from an addiction might be opposed to spirituality as a part of their drug addiction treatment program, for many, it’s what makes their recovery so effective. At the same time, there are those who attend AA meetings, for example, who keep their distance from spirituality throughout the many years they attend meetings. Yet, they continue to work through the 12 AA steps regardless. Still, there are some who started their drug addiction treatment years ago and have remained sober neither needed nor wanted the spiritual component. Their disbelief in anything spiritual kept them far from it.
And still, others who remained at arm’s length to the spirituality of AA later found that it was an essential part of their recovery process. Certainly, spirituality may not be what a recovering addict is looking for in drug addiction treatment. He or she may discover that spirituality is not what’s needed in order to make it through the challenge of drug detox and substance abuse treatment. Instead, he or she might believe that sobriety requires pure willpower and the choice to get sober. For these recovering addicts, SOS may be just the right fit.
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