There are many ways to define spirituality and each person is entitled to his or her own way of doing so. Often, these definitions have to do with God, personal beliefs about life or specifically religious beliefs. For example, someone may define a spiritual person as one who is of great faith or one shares the same beliefs I do. At the Bryan Independence Center, we use the following definition:
Spirituality is the part of life that relates to values, meaning and purpose.
When people are making decisions or struggling over right and wrong (values), they are doing something spiritual.
When people are deciding how to make sense out of events and people in their lives (meaning), they are doing something spiritual.
When people struggle over or think about what they are all about (purpose), they are doing something spiritual.
Dependency is Spiritual
All human beings are spiritual. Drug dependency affects people spiritually as well as physically, mentally and emotionally. The drug becomes an increasingly important value in the person's life. What helps the person with the drug is good and what gets in the way of the drug is bad. Drug dependency changes the meanings of events and finally becomes the very purpose of the addict/alcoholic's existence. This way of defining spirituality helps many people who are new to recovery see themselves as spiritual. It helps them be more open to working a spiritual program, no matter what their beliefs are.
Religion and Spirituality
Religions are not opposed to spirituality. Religions build belief systems and organized teachings based on their values, meanings and purposes. The belief systems are usually centered on beliefs about God.
Examples: The Christian religion sees its values, meaning and purpose being centered in the person and work of Jesus. Islam sees its values, meanings and purpose centered in the teachings of the prophet Mohammed.
We work with people using the resources of their belief systems to help with recovery. We also use the framework of the Twelve Steps originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. This framework enables us to work with people of any religious faith, no faith or uncertainty about faith. Our object is to support people as they turn from a drug as a destructive higher power that controls their lives to discover or rediscover their positive higher powers that free them to live.