Millions of people are led astray by drugs, alcohol, and intoxication. In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health claims that of the 1 in 7 Americans facing a drug or alcohol addiction, only 11% of us ever seek out help. If you’re among the few who manage to seek out help and go to rehab, maintaining that after you get clean and sober is often the much bigger problem. Individuals leaving rehab have to rebuild lives, work to build and rebuild friendships and family bonds, and, most importantly, reconnect with God in a meaningful way.
While God is often touted as a meaningful addition to recovery, utilized in 12-step as seeking out a higher power, and made part of recovery, He is much more than that. He is a meaningful part of a healthy life and something that you need not just to stay clean or sober but to find balance and meaning in your life.
At the same time, most of us come out of drug and alcohol addictions with scarred images of ourselves. How can we connect with the sublime when we have slipped so far? How can an all-knowing God take us back? And, how can we once again reach a state of trust in God. While these thoughts are often rampant, it’s important to step back. A substance use disorder isn’t a personal or a moral failure, it’s a health disorder, caused by your choices, but ultimately something that you can resolve, absolve, and move on from. Our all-knowing God is aware of who you are, your intentions, and who you are at heart, and connecting with him often simply means recognizing and surrendering to that higher power, which will require finding peace within yourself.
You may already be part of a congregation, you may not. In either case, it is important that you find one where you can regularly attend, be yourself, and find a home. Your congregation and your pastor should recognize you for who you are, what you have been, and what you are striving to be. If you come in with secrets and pretend to be something you are not, you will never find peace within yourself.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19, King James Bible
Your body is your temple to God, your responsibility as you inhabit this earth, and a gift from God. As an addict, you haven’t taken very good care of it. Moving forward, you should change that, setting aside time to exercise, eat well, and nourish yourself. While the connection to God might not be immediately obvious, you cannot connect with your spirituality and a higher power without recognizing that you are God’s gift. Exercise and good nutrition will help you to heal, will help your mind to find a place of calm, and will bring you to a better place.
Giving to others is one of the easiest ways to recognize that there is something more than yourself. Giving to others for the right reasons is the ultimate sacrifice for God. While it is important that you choose not to volunteer to help others who are addicted until you are firmly on your feet in recovery, you can volunteer in other ways. For example, you can commit to working at a soup kitchen once a week, donate your time with a professional skill you may have, volunteer at a local hospital or shelter, or otherwise give your time to others.
12-Step meetings offer social support, accountability, and the loving connection of others also trying to reach and connect to their own higher power. While many AA meetings allow people who are not Christian, many are deeply Christian. Your sponsor will guide you, people in meetings will share their experiences, and you can join others in prayer, much like in your congregation, to connect with them and with God.
Others engage in long prayers, which become meditations on their own. Others simply pray, voicing words aloud or writing them down, sharing words with God that must be spoken. Take time to yourself, praying in a private space, and ensure that you have room to share what you want, how you want, with no interruptions or judgment.
It’s important to understand what you want and why. You may be unfamiliar with the Word of God; you may be very familiar with it. In either case, you should set aside time to read, to speak with others, and hopefully to discuss what you’ve read with your congregation, friends, and 12-step group.
There is no better way to connect with God than to live in a way that reflects His wants, your truth. Living in recovery and constantly working towards growth, improvement, and finding peace will help you to connect with God. Striving to achieve goals, leave the world better than you found it, and to absolve past wrongs will help you to find peace and move closer to God. Your truth will change depending on who you are, what you want, and your past, only you know it. But you can work towards it and in so doing, work your way towards God.
Taking the steps to move into recovery can seem like massive leaps. As you grow in yourself and in God, they will seem smaller, life will get easier, and you will find peace. Until then, good luck on your journey.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, please contact Christians Drug Rehab to learn more about our program. Our dedicated team can help you break the cycle of addiction and manage any co-occurring mental health condition that may accompany you or your loved one’s disorder.