Can A Person’s Spirituality or Religiousness Change Over Time in Addiction Recovery?


A holistic approach to addiction recovery considers a person’s mind, body, and spirit – three aspects that make up our personal identity as human beings. With this perspective, recovery should focus on not only helping a person detox from substances, but should also help them address issues concerning their diet, mental health, physical health, life circumstances, past traumas, and more so that they can live their life to the fullest extent possible. If you’ve researched self-help groups and reputable treatment centers, you may have noticed that some promote a more spiritual or religious based approach. Some people seek a form of treatment that leads them into a religion, while others prefer to engage in activities that promote spirituality. No matter what you choose, it’s important that you move forward with what works best for you.

Despite widely held belief, there is a major difference between religion and spirituality. Spirituality can be subjective for many people, but often it involves searching for the meaning of life; religion, on the other hand, is considered “a cultural system of designated behavior and practices, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies…” often with commandments or rules based on the foundation of the religion. While in addiction recovery, it’s certainly possible for your views on either one to change over time. For some, becoming sober is seen is as miraculous sort of event that for some, can only be seen as fathomable with help from a Higher Power – for others, sobriety means becoming that much closer to understand one’s purpose in the world.

A 2018 study conducted by a researcher from the University of Minnesota sought to explore this very concept; how do men and women with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) experience spirituality and religion over 30 months? Ninety-two men and sixty-five women participated in the study and were assessed for drinking behavior, spirituality, and psychosocial based factors. The researcher found that as more time went on, men and women experienced this differently – women were more apt to forgive others, and men were less apt to blame a Higher Power for their experiences.

Spirituality and religion often serve as major factors to addiction recovery because they are centered on human’s exploration with hope, forgiveness, love, purpose, shame or guilt, blame, and more. Each person is different, but that’s okay – the goal is to find what works best for you and your life.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.