Spirituality is fuel for the creative life in recovery.
What is spirituality? The word has become less and less precise over time, and we tend to throw it around a bit. It gets overused. We might dismiss someone who relapses and say “They just didn’t get the spiritual side of the program.”
So what exactly is the spiritual connection, and how do we go about achieving it?
For some people, spirituality might mean:
1) Their connection with a traditional religious God of their upbringing
2) A personal belief in nature as the supreme force in the universe
3) An understanding of a higher power as achieved through the 12 step fellowship of AA or NA
4) The set of spiritual principles that they live by in recovery (such as hope, love, forgiveness, acceptance, and so on).
5) A belief in a higher power.
And so on. Spirituality is a broad topic, and we all might have a slightly different idea of what “spiritual” means to us. Therefore, the “road map” for this part of recovery becomes less specific and more personal. No one can choose a higher power for you and force it on you and make it work for your recovery. Nor can they convince you to just believe in nature and use that for a higher power if you happen to already believe otherwise.
You have to find your own path.
Actually, that’s not necessarily true. What you have to do is walk your own path. There is a difference. What does it mean to “walk your own path?”
It means that you define what “spiritual” is for yourself, and then live it. Hold yourself up to your own standards.
We intuitively know that this works, because we have that little voice of guilt that lets us know when we are screwing up. In the same way, you should have your own internal “guide” for knowing when you are doing right. If we listen to these intuitions, we can align with our spiritual path, and feel good about how we are living.
How does this apply to the creative theory of recovery?
In the creative theory of recovery, our replacement strategy must be spiritual to us.
That means, in your own opinion, your replacement strategy must feel “spiritual” to you. Your replacement strategy should connect you with your higher power–whoever or whatever that may be.
Notice that this allows for flexible and creative replacement strategies that still qualify as being “spiritual”–meditation practices, martial arts (such as Tai Chi), virtually any religion, almost anything to do with nature, or even things such as painting or artwork could qualify as being “spiritual.” It has more to with your personal perception of what “spiritual” is and less about what others think about it.
What’s important are the spiritual principles that make up your replacement strategy. They must support the individual and the creative life in recovery.
But remember: the key is not in finding the “right” spiritual beliefs. The key is to live according to your own spiritual principles.
It’s not a quest for ultimate knowledge, it’s more a struggle to achieve “perfect living.” Hold yourself up to your own standards and you’ll be successful in recovery.