Spirituality and Recovery

Spirituality and Recovery

“Spirituality and Recovery”

Spirituality and Addiction

We have made tremendous strides in the science of addiction over the past two decades.  This is especially true in the field of neuroscience, which has taught us a great deal about the brain chemistry of persons with substance abuse problems.  Sociology has played a role as well, by showing us the role that feelings of “disconnectedness” play in addiction.

How these findings link up with spirituality and addiction is up for debate, with a thousand voices chiming in with a different opinion.  But one thing seems clear in all of these discussions – that thinking of addiction in spiritual terms is incredibly useful for recovery.  And despite our culture’s tendency to separate science and spirituality, there needn’t be a contradiction between these supposedly different approaches.

In a sense, the connection between science and spirituality is easy to explain.  When an addict begins spiritual practices that are meaningful to him or her, chemical changes occur in the brain and lead to recovery.  The exact mechanisms behind all this are not completely known, but the results are undeniable.

Defining Spirituality in Recovery

But what exactly does the term “spirituality” mean?  This is a question no one has been able to answer definitively, but that doesn’t mean we can simply avoid it.  It goes without saying that defining spirituality in recovery (and in all other matters) is always an individual decision, but it seems apparent that it requires getting connected.  And you only need to talk with a few recovered people to understand why this is the case.

Almost every addict and alcoholic describes their personal experiences as being marked by terrible feelings of loneliness and alienation.  They feel different, out of place, like alien creatures without a home in the world.  Many of them also say that they cannot find relief by looking inward, at least not exclusively.  Furthermore, they describe their recovery in completely opposite terms, as a gradual building up of connections to the wider world.  Eventually, this takes on a million different forms, but spiritual recovery usually begins with the relationships they build with other addicts.

Recovering people state that there is no greater healing than that which occurs when helping others.  No one has the right to impose their spiritual views on another human being, but this seems to be an eternal truth.  If the chief mechanism of addiction manifests itself in isolation, it stands to reason that a big part of the solution are feelings of connection.  Where this leads afterward is up to the individual.

Spirituality and Recovery

The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous is not infallible.  But it contains a statement on spirituality and recovery that seems wholly appropriate here.  It says:  “Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you.”  Regardless of anyone’s specific faith (or lack thereof), this is a statement of pure genius.

What this statement says is incredibly powerful when put into practice.  It is a statement of respect and dignity.  It acknowledges the pain of not fitting in with conventional spiritual practices.  It allows for a great latitude of movement within the spiritual realm.  And most important of all, it indicates the tremendous relief of connecting spirituality and recovery.

Wisdom is where you find it.

Drug Treatment Without the 12 Steps

It’s Perfectly Reasonable to Prefer Non 12 step Treatment for Your Addiction

There are many valid reasons that an addict might seek a drug treatment without the 12 steps.  First, there’s the whole higher power thing, which so many addicts find distasteful.  The 12 step process can also seem weird, especially sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with strangers.

Now we don’t have time to go into them all, but trust me– there’s a hundred other legitimate reasons to be wary of the 12 step approach out there as well.  And I’ve encountered them almost all of them, both in the meeting rooms and within my heart.  And yet the 12 step approach has helped keep me sober for twelve years, and I was a hopeless mess.

Some of It IS About Me

Yep, I’m going to get a little personal this week, folks.  I hope that’s okay, but I want every addict and alcoholic to have a chance at a meaningful recovery.  And in order to contribute in my minuscule way, I want to tell you how I (sometimes) overcome my own objections and get what I need out of the 12 steps.

Now I couldn’t care less how anyone recovers, and there are zero parts of me that think the 12 steps are the only way to get and stay clean or sober.  It’s just that I think they could help a lot more people than they do, if we can translate a bit.

What I Did and What I Still Do, On My Good Days

For me, it’s all about keeping the 12 steps in perspective.  There are a ton of people that swear by them, and I’m truly glad for these lovely folks.  More power to them, but I just can’t.  Notice what I said up above – that the 12 steps have helped keep me sober.  And others things did too, lots of them.  The steps, the higher power, telling people my business, all that – it’s just a part of how I stay sane today.

So the higher power thing – it’s weird.  No doubt about it.  I’m not a God person.  I lack the capacity for it.  But in a sense, I have a higher power, a few of them.  It’s just that they’re all inside the world, right in front of me and totally visible.  And they definitely exist, sort of.

Love exists, right?  Or something close to it.  So do hope, possibility, art, beauty, concern for others, participating.  All of these things are much bigger and better than me, bigger than my drug addiction certainly.  And these things have changed me into a better and kinder man.  Just as importantly, they make me feel better.

And now about telling strangers my business.  I don’t, at least not much.  I play things close to the vest, especially in meetings.  I save the intimate stuff for my sponsor and other people I’ve grown to trust and admire.  At meetings I keep things general, except when I don’t.  And I often regret it.

But I never, ever regret trying to help another suffering addict.  Never.  In fact, I love it.  I can still be incredibly self centered and narrow minded at times, but helping others is the most beautiful part of my life today, hands down.

As for the ten million other problems I have with the 12 steps, I do some version of what I what I just described.  I think you get the point.  And if you decide to do the 12 step thing, you’ll figure out your own version.  I just want to tell you it’s possible.

My Vision For You 

Just kidding.  I don’t have a vision for you.  I have no idea what you need to do.  I just want you to be well.  Myself, I did outpatient treatment and addiction therapy too.  Maybe that will help you.  Or maybe something else will.  What do I know?  I just hope you do whatever it takes to be happy, safe, and useful.

Just know that you can recover, and that it’s worth it.  And I promise not to get all personal again, until I do.  I’m a bit unreliable sometimes.


Joint Commission Accredited Treatment Provider


Hypoluxo, Florida – November 17, 2016 – Recreate Life Counseling today announced it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care.

Recreate Life Counseling underwent a rigorous onsite survey on (date). During the review, compliance with behavioral health care standards related to several areas, including care, treatment, and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for the early detection of imminent harm was evaluated. Onsite observations and interviews also were conducted.

Established in 1969, The Joint Commission’s Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program currently accredits more than 2,250 organizations for a three-year period. Accredited organizations provide treatment and services within a variety of settings across the care continuum for individuals who have mental health, addiction, eating disorder, intellectual/developmental disability, and/or child-welfare related needs.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides behavioral health care organizations with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas related to the care of individuals and their families,” said Peggy Lavin, LCSW, interim executive director, Behavioral Health Care Accreditation Program, The Joint Commission. “We commend Recreate Life Counseling for its efforts to elevate the standard of care it provides and to instill confidence in the community it serves.”

“Recreate Life Counseling is pleased to receive Behavioral Health Care Accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Jesse Reuter, Chief Executive Officer, Recreate Life Counseling. “Staff from across the organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches and strategies that have the potential to improve care for those in our community.”

The Joint Commission’s behavioral health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.


The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

Opiate Abuse and The Trickle Down Effect

Once reserved for grown ups, the effects of opiate abuse have now trickled down to teens and children.  Yes, the most vulnerable group of our population have started to suffer the pain of our culture’s opiate epidemic.  The rate of opiate overdose among teens and children has tripled over the last three years, with OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin being the usual culprits.

Spreading the Damage

In fact, in looking at opiate abuse statistics, researcher Julie Gaither has said that some very young children are “eating them like candy,” as they scoop up their parents’ painkillers and swallow them by the mouthful.  For children under 10 at least, these are accidents caused by simple carelessness and a lock of oversight.   Gaither advises parents to restrict access to painkillers and to throw away left over pills.

When we look at  opiate overdoses among older children however, the problem becomes more complex.  It’s more complex because an alarming number of these overdoses are not accidental, even among children in the 10 to 14 age group.  It’s a horrifying truth, but many of these incidents are the results of suicide attempts or intentional self harm.  In this age group, such incidents have increased 37 percent in the last 15 years.

And the numbers become just plain ghastly when it comes to teenagers.  For teens aged 15 to 19 years, opiate overdoses resulting from suicide or self harm attempts increased 140 percent since 1997.  But not all of these incidents involve prescription drugs.  In a shameful microcosm of the wider addiction world, More and more teens are overdosing on heroin.

Why It’s Happening and How To Stop It

 So what on earth is going on here? How is it that so many innocents are taking painkillers and heroin? The short version is that children and teens are suffering from a sort of trickle down effect from our culture’s mental health problem.  Whether it’s an 8 year old drinking Mommy’s methadone, or a depressed high school student trying to escape, these young people are the victims of our systemic denial.  It’s time we got honest about our collective addiction to opiates.  Only then can we discover and develop more treatment options.

And in some ways, the use of opiates is only a symptom of a bigger problem.  This problem is of course our collective state of mental health.  We live in what can feel like a fragmented and isolating world.  It’s inevitable that under such conditions so many millions of people, adults and children alike, suffer from conditions like anxiety and depression.

So a two pronged approach is probably best, if we want to bring these skyrocketing numbers back to earth.  We must address mental health issues and opiate abuse both clinically, as the very real and pervasive maladies they are. For opiate abuse help, contact Recreate Life Counseling today.  

The Perfect Outpatient Rehab


When Nothing’s Working, Outpatient Rehab Sounds Pretty Good

So you’ve decided you need an outpatient rehab. Your drug use has gotten too painful, but you can’t imagine a day without eating a Xanax, a Lortab, anything. And throwing whiskey at the problem is just making it worse. You’re beat and you know it. You need help, and the occasional support group meeting has never been enough. You need a drug or alcohol rehab that works.

But there are a ton of outpatient rehab facilities out there, a lot of them close to where you live. How do you choose between them? How do you find an intensive outpatient rehab that’s going to help with what’s actually bothering you? That’s what we’re going to talk about today, so read on and keep an open mind.


Use Progressive Focus to Narrow Your Choices Down

You’ll to find a detox first. Don’t take any chances with your health. Those nasty withdrawal symptoms might be really dangerous. Besides, you stand a better chance of getting clean if you hand it over the professionals. Start with a general search online. Just type “detox centers near me” into your trusty search engine.

You can also use use a substance abuse treatment facility locator. This can be a great resource for finding treatment that’s close to home. And in the meantime, start making your arrangements. Recruit a family member or friend to drive you. Support is crucial right now, partly because it helps keep you accountable.

You don’t want a lag in your treatment, so find out which drug rehab centers can admit you directly from the drug detox. And when you’ve got a list of several that will, start looking at the treatment methods they use. And make sure they give you specifics. Ask how individual care you’re going to receive, as opposed to group treatment. You’ll need both, but it’s important to get some up close face time. You don’t want a factory style drug rehab, or anyplace else that’s going to treat you like a number.

Explore their options for aftercare too. You might decide you need the continued support of sober living housing. Are they connected to a halfway house? Do they transition you to continued care? How much 12 step stuff is involved? Are they open to alternative support programs? 12 step programs are great, but they’re not your only option. And tell them about any concerns you might have. An outpatient drug rehab is a big commitment. You want to be comfortable with the one you choose.


Read the Reviews to Settle On an Outpatient Rehab

Once you’ve narrowed things to down to maybe thee or four facilities, start reading the online reviews. Find out what former clients think, especially ones who have recovered from your drug of choice. This part is important. Some inpatient rehabs are better at treating certain addictions better than others. You want an intensive outpatient rehab that works on your specific issues.

And once you’ve actually chosen a facility, get busy with the admissions process. Your disease will try to change your mind, so don’t wait to get things started. The quicker you get moving, the more likely it is that you’ll follow through with the process. It might not seem like it now, but you’ll find a lot of relief in the right outpatient rehab. Besides, you’ve waited long enough already.