Recovering from drug or alcohol involves a spiritual journey. This is true whether or not the person who is recovering actively tries to “find God,” gets involved with church or religion, or even whether they pray or meditate every day. None of that stuff necessarily negates the fact that recovery always involves a spiritual path. Always.
If you are staying clean and sober and actually making positive progress in your life, then you have definitely made some level of spiritual shift. You might not necessarily be praying from the mountaintops or meditating like a monk, but your actions and your new outlook on life definitely qualifies as a spiritual shift. Simply doing something new in recovery and living without self medicating every day is an awakening of sorts. No matter what form of recovery you are practicing or what program you may be following, the resulting changes in your life are essentially spiritual in nature.
For example, many people in early recovery have to find a path of forgiveness in order to recover. They may or may not think that this is a spiritual exercise, but it is. If they can let go of their anger and truly forgive someone else (or themselves in some cases), then this is a spiritual step forward for them.
Others might struggle with self pity in early recovery. They get so caught up in the drama of their life and they amplify it and dwell on it, constantly making themselves out to be some sort of victim. Overcoming this, too, is a spiritual matter. They will either dwell in their self pity until they relapse, or they will rise above it by embracing gratitude and finding new perspective in life.
Some people are self centered to the core when they get into recovery, and their selfishness keeps them from finding recovery. Again, it is a spiritual transformation that will solve this problem for them and allow them to reach out to others, and find meaning in doing service for other people.
So it does not really matter what the main block in your life is when you first stop drinking and drugging, because the solution is always going to be spiritual. Keep that in mind when you get overwhelmed and are seeking solutions to your problems.
Of course the term “spiritual” has become a bit tainted due to our perceptions of what it really means. Remember that the spiritual realm is much wider than what most of us realize. For example, physical exercise is spiritual. It really is. Take a long walk, or jog, and that is a little mini spiritual adventure in itself. Why? Because for one thing, it is like a moving meditation. In some ways it is better than meditation, actually. Second of all, it is exercise in practicing gratitude, as you take in your surroundings. This is especially true if you exercise outdoors.
Put one foot in front of the other. This is the start of a meaningful (spiritual) exercise, if you want it to be. Appreciate every step of your new life in recovery. True gratitude is simply about appreciating the beauty of existence itself. When you can fully grasp and appreciate the little gifts like this in your life, then you know you have built a strong foundation in your recovery.