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The Spiritual Piece of the Recovery Puzzle

While therapy is primarily about emotional healing, at White Picket Fence Counseling Center it's also important to us that we don't shy away from addressing physical recovery.

Yet there is another piece of the puzzle that hasn't always been getting the attention it deserves, and that is spiritual recovery. While it's easy to push spiritual recovery off to the side until the other areas are "handled," we want to start emphasizing it as an important part of the overall recovery process.

Consider this analogy: Calcium is an important nutrient that our bodies need to carry out many important functions and keep our bones strong. Vitamin D helps our bodies to absorb calcium – without it, whatever calcium you take in won't be able to do its job properly. Spirituality is like a form of Vitamin D that helps you make the best use of your emotional and physical healing.

If you've had unpleasant or even traumatic experiences with organized religion, you might be very resistant to this idea. Yet even while honoring those feelings, you can open your mind to spirituality. Because spirituality and religion are two very separate things, and I wouldn't want you to close yourself off to a powerful source of support for your recovery.

Whether you are recovering from an eating disorder, food addiction, depression or another emotional issue, developing or maintaining a spiritual practice can have many benefits, such as:

Acceptance – A spiritual practice can help you achieve and deepen your level of acceptance, so that you see yourself, other people and situations as they are – without judgement. This is really important, because so often when we hurt ourselves or others it's because we're not accepting something or someone as they are.

Detachment – Instead of getting caught up in solving or changing a situation or person, accepting them helps you to detach in a neutral way and go on with whatever you've decided is most important to you.

Inspiration – When you make a spiritual connection, it can lead you to things that will inspire you to your core. Sometimes just in seeking your spiritual path you can discover exciting things about yourself and the world around you.

Joy – Spiritual activities can lighten up your day and your mood, infusing your life with humor and passion.

Calm – The quiet space of a spiritual practice can give you fresh insights and perspectives about a particular situation or the bigger picture of your life.

Connection – The act of seeking a connection to something bigger than yourself can help you to feel more a part of the world around you. And spiritual connection also helps you to know yourself better and hear the wisdom within.

Presence – Tuning into the spiritual world brings you back to the present instead of living in the past (perhaps suffering from guilt or low self-esteem about choices you've made) or the future (maybe full of worry, anxiety or doubt about what's going to happen next or what you should do about it).

So how do you start developing a spiritual practice? You have so many choices. At the White Picket Fence Counseling Center we're developing some workshops that will help you learn more about things like guided meditation and imagery and writing. You can also try prayer, yoga, quiet reflection time or communing with nature.

Next week I'll share some of my own favorite spiritual activities.

Spirituality is a very individual thing, so feel free to experiment. We can also work with you in your group or individual therapy sessions to help you find the version of spirituality that works for you. This important "piece" of recovery can bring you "peace."