Spirituality is considered by many to be an important component of SMART Recovery. And especially in living a balanced and hence better life. Does spirituality complement the science-basis of the SR program?
At the outset let it be clearly stated that although SMART Recovery does support that the concepts of spirituality can be an important component in Point 4; Living a balanced life. Let it also be clearly stated that SMART Recovery is neither a religious nor a faith-based program. Yet, in no way is SMART Recovery against an individual considering religion as an important part of his or her recovery. In fact we encourage it! Religion or faith is just not part of the SMART Recovery program.
When asked the question, “Do you know what spirituality is?” a person’s answer is usually, “Yes.” If the question however is, “What is spirituality?” most individuals will hesitate. This is because spirituality is an extremely difficult concept to accurately explain or describe. Further, spirituality is a highly individualistic concept varying from person to person.
But how does spirituality pertain to recovery? Let’s give this a general but brief consideration.
Spirituality is often considered to be the ultimate intangible or abstract reality — a way in which a person might discover his or her true being. Of course, religion is based upon the concept of spirituality. But there are many other nonreligious considerations that are secular spirituality… or what some call secular humanism. More importantly, spirituality is commonly associated with shared and deeply held core values such as compassion, forgiveness, patience, love, and concern for others.
Spirituality might also be considered to be a state of being that is metaphysical rather than physical. Of course, religion is where we are connected to a higher power, but in a nonreligious context we might consider being connected with more abstract concepts such as nature or the cosmos. In a more specific way, one might be connected to an individual or a group of persons. Included in this last iteration is that feeling of bonding and communion between many members attending a SMART Recovery meeting.
Spirituality is closely related to mindfulness as we have seen in postings here and elsewhere. However, it is not the same thing. Even so, a mindful meditation such as in a Mindful Awareness Practice (MAP) can be considered an exercise in spirituality.
There are no specific spirituality-based tools in our program which can be applied to recovery from an addiction. There is no place to learn how to get it. Yet, by focusing on the aspects just described, a sense of spirituality will often just occur and often as a source of inspiration. In recovering from a mind-altering substance just the clarity, which comes with abstinence, can allow this to occur.
Is it possible to have a perfectly satisfactory and smooth recovery without any consideration of spirituality? The answer is, “Yes.”
However, is it also possible to have an even better and more balanced recovery if one adopts and enjoys spirituality, which fits into Point 4 of the SR program? The answer is a resounding YES!