During my recovery journey, I do often get asked about my faith and spiritual beliefs; how they assist with my daily journey through my life, living it on life’s terms. And there is no definitive answer. Certainly not one that won’t evolve still further as I continue to practice the practical, daily spiritual principles that have played such a huge role in keeping me clean and serene for quite a while now.
When I started my journey, I was desperate and hopeless, with nowhere seemingly to turn and no future to speak of. I had truly hit my lowest point and to be honest, would have taken any other option rather than the one I faced, which was taking my own life. So, with the love, care, support and guidance of some beautiful people, I found myself, cowering and timid, at the door of recovery. I took the decision to open that door and step in.
Things started to change almost immediately. I started the process of gazing inwards at myself, which took my attention away from blaming the world and everything in it. My self- pity started to be dismantled from within, which in turn enabled me to open my mind to other perspectives on my life and life in general. The liberation from my self-built, emotional prison cell had truly begun.
As time passed, I found it easier to take on so much from the people around me, also in recovery but with way more experience, who were guiding me to ask different questions of myself with a view to finding new, alternatives to my issues. In the main, I was able react to this challenge and was soon reaping the benefit of the change. But there was one request and suggestion that I struggled with right from the start. I found it really difficult to convince myself that a higher power, an all-encompassing being, a god, would needed to be sought if I were to continue successfully on my journey.
Now, I had always shown a passing interest at the vast world of spirituality without ever submerging myself in it, but religion, well I balked at it because of all the negative connotations that I had decided to take on about religious activities and the effect that it has had on mankind over the years. I realize today that there is so much more to religion than war and destruction, and I truly admire the dedication of the followers of the numerous denominations the world has today. I fully respect and accept people that have found their faith and aligned themselves with a god of their understanding. It clearly works for them. But it just isn’t for me, and trust when I say that I have rationalized, deliberated, and lied to myself in attempt to ‘get it’. I’ve even tried to mentally bludgeon the concept of God into my brain, so fearful was I that if I didn’t, it would have detrimental effect on my recovery. You can see my struggles early with the concept in the chapter ‘I Can’t Believe in a Higher Power. Can I?’ featured in my debut book – ‘A Year Without Substance’.
However, this doesn’t mean that my spiritual progress has been diminished in any way and nor has my recovery journey been disrupted or affected as a result. In fact, resolving this issue in my mind, has enabled me to focus more on what I truly believe in, and develop my understanding of that by practicing daily routines. As a result, I have never felt more connected with the world around me and with myself. So, what is that belief?
Put simply, I have faith that there is a subconscious universe that surrounds all of us, all the time. It’s where the energy of life flows, and we access that, unknowingly, through our own subconscious minds. It’s our conscious minds that determine what kind of energy we fill our bodies with, positive or negative, and it is our active thinking that dictates how we deal with life. But the energy itself comes from the universe. That’s why it has been so important for me to think differently. I had to disempower my conscious train of thought – which was stuck for so many years in the negative and only attracted negative energy as a consequence. The search continues and I will continue to explore different ways of connecting with the subconscious part of my mind.
So, if you are struggling with the notion of a High Power/ God/ Power Greater than yourself, don’t allow it to stop you carrying out the simple actions that require your attention in life and recovery. Just like the world we live in, recovery features so many different views and opinions that contradict each other. Some make it their cause to force their beliefs on people, while others have a very liberal view. In between you have everyone else!
Please do not let this issue deter you from actively working and progressing in recovery. Not having a defined God or faith doesn’t mean that you can’t live a good, solid and fulfilling life away from your addiction. My advice would be to open your mind to what people say about their beliefs so that you can understand and accept them fully, but do your own research to find spiritual activities that suit you – try not to force anything in attempt to fit in, because it simply isn’t sustainable.
Don’t let the lack of faith you currently have be a reason to turn back to your old ways. Be patience, surrender the outcomes, and participate in this wonderful process!