Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Must I be Spiritual to Recover from Addiction?

What is Sprituality? What does it mean?

I have always assumed that when someone was 'spiritual' that meant they were 'religious'.

The gambler's anonymous combo book says "The word spiritual can be said to describe those characteristics of the human mind that represent the highest and finest qualities such as kindness, generosity, honesty and humility."

Many definitions refer to one's 'spirit' or 'soul'.

I used to have a problem with that...I wasn't really sure that I had a least not the type of soul I was taught about when I was a 'immortal' soul...a part of me that will live on even after this body has died.

But then, I thought....there certainly seems to be a part of me that is not this physical body...there is something else...

and...perhaps it isn't IMMORTAL...perhaps this non-physical presence ends when the body dies...but...there *IS* a non-physical aspect to who I am (mind, thoughts, feelings)....and THAT part of me is truly who I *AM*.

So...I decided to call THAT part of me my 'spirit' and investigate my 'spirituality' non-physical self.

I had been active in my addiction for so long..I wasn't in touch with anyone...least of 'spirit'....

where do I start?

I googled 'spirituality'

Most of the sites that I came across seemed hmmmm didn't seem 'mainstream'...

but...some of the sites that I found had, among other things, exercises...daily exercises --- and the types of things that are addressed are... acceptance, fear, greed, loneliness, jealousy, envy, shame, low self-esteem, tolerance, kindness, generosity, patience, forgiveness, gratitude, listening, respect, mindfulness, peace....on and on and on

this is exactly what i'm looking for...these are the things that I need to explore...

One site that I found had a different practice every week..something new to focus on...if some aspect of the exercise didn't sit well with me...I modified it so that I was comfortable with it (eliminating prayer for example)....there are no RULES!! this is all ABOUT ME!!!!

I read through the archives and picked a few that appealed to me ....I began with

'Eating with Presence' - being fully conscious of my it looks, smells, tastes...not to just take a bite..chomp chomp swallow..but really EXPERIENCE a's practice in mindfulness...and gratitude too, maybe.

Next...I found 'Sending Good Will' - thinking of someone and focusing on them and 'send' them good thoughts...well wishes. I tweaked this a little. Anytime I'd get angry or upset with someone I would immediately stop what I was doing and send good's really hard to be angry with someone after having done that.

anyway...there are THOUSANDS of these types of exercises...some seemed a little 'corny' or strange to I passed on them... I select the things that feel right to me at any given time.

So...back to the question...must i be spiritual to recover from addiction?

for me...the question has why would i not want to enhance my non-physical self? to learn to be gentler and more at peace... and free....

whether it's necessary or not....I want it.

The exercises mentioned here can be found at Inner Frontier website


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. -- Albert Einstein

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