For the true drug addict or alcoholic, overcoming addiction requires a complete change in personality. We refer to this as a spiritual experience. In my experience, this seems to be the only way to bring about lasting sobriety and contentment. How do we bring about this spiritual experience? Here is the quick breakdown:
1) Accept your addiction
2) Identify and connect with other recovering addicts
3) Shift from self-centered behavior to a spiritual mindset (God-centered)
4) Personal growth
5) Help other recovering addicts
Why a Spiritual Experience?
There are other ways to approach addiction and alcoholism. Behavior modification is one alternative approach. Another strategy is using “AVRT,” in which the recovering person learns to identify the “addictive voice” within their thinking patterns. To be honest, I have not tried any of these alternative approaches myself. They may work quite well for some people. But I truly believe that only a spiritual experience would be sufficient to overcome my own addiction, because the core of my disease was self-centered behavior. This spiritual experience shifted my thinking away from an interest only in myself and my own well being, as it had been when I was still using drugs and alcohol. Today, I care far more for my friends in recovery than I ever did for the people I got drunk with. The stuff in my life is no longer that important; the relationships and connections with others in recovery are what matter to me today. Without a spiritual experience, I don’t know that this shift in priorities would have taken place.
How a Spiritual Experience can Benefit you Beyond Abstinence from Drugs and Alcohol
There are other benefits to the spiritual experience that go beyond mere abstinence from chemicals. One benefit of the spiritual approach is that it effectively protects you from any potential addiction. What good does it do to gain sobriety, only to find yourself falling prey to gambling, sex, or food addictions? Other recovery strategies might only address the drugs and alcohol, but working a spiritual program of recovery allows us to be on guard against these other potential ways of “acting out.” This is an important point, because many addicts and alcoholics have a tendency to trade one addiction for another.
Follow these Steps to Transform Spiritually
The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a clear shortcut to having a spiritual experience. If you look at the 5 things listed at the top of this page, those outcomes are all achieved by working a twelve step program. Also, attending twelve step meetings allows you to connect and identify with others in recovery. Theoretically, you could attain a spiritual experience and maintain sobriety without specifically using the twelve steps, but the guiding principles and general actions you took would probably be very similar. This is because overcoming addiction requires a complete change in personality. It is so much more than just putting down the drink or the drugs. If that’s all we do, we will eventually return to our old patterns.
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