What is Your Spiritual Practice?
Whether you are thinking of joining a 12 step programme, getting sober coaching, or consulting with a drug and alcohol counsellor, most if not all will recommend getting in touch with your higher power.
I am not sure what it is, but I remember waking up after a blackout session with the dry horrors and desperately trying to piece together the night before. I was feeling so desperate that I sent out a silent prayer to the universe asking for a way out of this cycle I was in. So, I guess I was calling out to my higher power.
So for some of us the whole concept of tapping in to Source, God or the universal energy gives us the heebie geebies. What the hell does it even mean? I have to admit, when I first started looking into sobriety and reading spiritual literature, the amount of God talk freaked me out a bit. I grew up being dragged to a Pentecostal meeting every Sunday as a kid and that whole experience left me a little ahem, scarred.
In the latest episode of the Podcast How I Quit Alcohol I catch up with Jim from Geelong who before entering the 12 step programme felt the same way.
So does sobriety mean you need to hit the church pew or getting on your hands and knees in front of a crucifix? Hell no!
Everyone experiences the sober journey in their own way, so having a spiritual practice won’t look the same for each person. Regardless, tapping into the energy beyond ourselves may help you dig deeper and help you connect back to your authentic self.
So how do you tap in?
For me the spiritual practice comes in the form of a daily gratitude practice, mindfulness and compassion. To sit in silence each day for a short amount of time, drop into your heart space, focus on your breath and imagine yourself letting go of your mind, letting go of your physical body and just see if you can find a moment of peace and stillness.
Set an intention when you are in that space to go through this day with compassion and kindness to yourself and to everyone you come in contact with. You can ask for guidance, you can ask for help in getting through the day without any alcohol. Just sitting in the space each day will help you build awareness of your own thoughts and feelings and bring you back to yourself. The word recovery means to find something. So in our recovery we are finding what was lost and what so often is lost is our sense of self.
As you become more confident in your own sobriety, you won’t need to adopt anyone else’s beliefs or practices, Instead, you’ll become grounded in your own. This is one of the most vital steps though. Keeping up some kind connection to a power greater than yourself plays a pivotal role in the sober journey.
While it may seem a little daunting or unnatural at first, I promise it becomes easier and easer. You get to really cherish and look forward to that time each day.
Some ways to deepen your spiritual practice.
Meditation: A daily meditation practice improves mindfulness and helps you gain control over your thought patterns. There are loads of meditation techniques, but essentially you want to take some time out each day to find a quiet space and focus on your breathing and the sensations in your body. As thoughts and emotions come, see if you observe them without judgment. The idea is to cultivate the ability to simply be with your breath and your body.
Gratitude: A simple gratitude practice is so helpful. Keeping a daily gratitude list or journal to remind yourself of all the blessings in our life helps us stay on track and content. Even on tough days, there are always things to be grateful for. A daily reminder strengthens our healing journey and helps foster a sense of loving-kindness towards self and others.
Yoga: Go online or find a local yoga studio with beginner classes if you are a new. I use www.glo.com and go to local classes when I have time. Yoga is another tool to bring you into the moment, focus on mind, body emotional connection.
Art, Music, and Nature: Many people find spirituality in art or natural beauty. Communing with nature by taking a walk, appreciating a beautiful piece of art, or mindfully listening to calming music. These things can act as a doorway to your spirituality and your own sense of the divine. The idea is to be fully present for these experiences, practice being still, and appreciate things that are bigger than ourselves.
Through these practices and through listening to podcasts and reading spiritual books from authors such as Dr Wayne Dyer, Ekhart Tolle, Miguel Ruiz, Michael Singer and more, I have learned that there is divine power within me. To be in contact with that power on a daily basis is what keeps me on track and keeps me wanting to learn and discover more. It depends my connection to myself and helps me feel whole. A sense of wholeness comes essentially from putting ourselves back together again and healing those broken or fragmented parts of ourselves which comes from these spiritual practices.
Check out the HIQA podcast out on June 6th with Jimmy from Geelong and listen to his take on the 12 step programme and spirituality.
In the HIQA 3 Month Sober Challenge, we dive deep in to a spiritual practice and connection to the self. Want to join? Click here: https://www.iquitalcohol.com.au/products/3-month-sober-challenge-starts-july-1