When I was told I would need to address spirituality in addiction recovery, "Are you nuts?" was a pretty watered down version of what I thought and said. I didn't even believe in God, and now someone was telling me to get spiritual? That was going to be a pain.

So I concentrated on maintaining abstinence from drinking without addressing spirituality. My sponsor said, "Don't worry about spirituality yet, that's the advanced stuff. Just concentrate on staying abstinent for now."  So I accidentally did the right things for the wrong reasons. I went to treatment, and after that I followed a continuing care plan, all the while going to meetings and building a sober support network.

About seven or eight years sober, a question started creeping into my head. I asked myself, "Is this all there is?" Despite being abstinent I was not happy. I started to feel that I was actually happier drinking and using drugs than not. Luckily I was a good student and knew that this was the beginning of the relapse process. "But how do I turn it around?" I wondered.

I addressed the question of spirituality. Although I did not want to turn inward and look at myself, I knew I had to. Until now, I was looking outside myself and finding fault with all that was around me.

I was not comfortable with the traditional God image, so I had to get creative. I had heard spirituality described of as connection: connection with yourself, with your family and the society and world around you.
That I could work with. My spiritual journey began at year seven in recovery, and it started with simply asking questions. To me, it was the asking that was important, not the answers.

The breakthrough came for me when I realized I might not ever find the answers, and that was OK. I could restructure my life to be of service to others, do the next right thing, and be conscious of, and take responsibility for my own actions. That sounded like a workable spiritual plan for me in addiction recovery.

Spirituality did not get me sober. It keeps me sober. What it does for me is add texture, color, and depth to my sober living experience. It is not really all about me anymore, but rather how I fit in and connect with those around me. Spirituality, while not the originator of my sobriety, sure makes it a richer experience and is crucial now to my addiction recovery's longevity.

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