group of people sitting in a circle at an alcoholics anonymous meeting


What is the role of a higher power in recovery? Even if you aren’t religious, finding spirituality in addiction recovery can help you on your journey to a better life.


What is Spirituality?

Spirituality focuses on looking at how we connect to the world around us and how we seek to find meaning or purpose in life. It allows us to contact higher powers that are bigger than ourselves, which can result in peace, increased compassion towards others, and overall happiness. 


What is the Role of a Higher Power in Recovery?

Addiction can drain alcoholics and addicts spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Many people beginning their recovery journey will start with 12 Steps, a program specifically designed to help people recover from their addictions. In order to move through the 12 steps, a person must begin their journey by coming to a place of honesty and vulnerability.

Step one asks them to examine themselves and acknowledges their addictions, while admitting that their lives were unmanageable in the past. 

Next is step two, which asks them to open their minds to the possibility that a power greater than themselves can restore them back to “normal.” Usually, at this stage, they have come to terms with the fact that they have been trying to overcome their addictions using their willpower and with the support from the people around them. Although the results may be unsuccessful after countless tries on their own, some realize that trying other options can help them be successful in their long-term recovery. When looking to the future, they hope they can have a renewed life, without the need for alcohol or drugs. Some, on the other hand, are working on mending broken relationships or relieving constant, obsessive thoughts to use drugs and numb the pain they feel to escape the temporary tormenting thoughts. 

After they’ve reached a place of exhaustion, despair, and submission, they move on to step three where they make a decision to turn their will and lives over to God. Although this is not an easy choice to make, the decision to not carry the burden of addiction alone can be freeing and liberating. Similarly, it can feel similar to being pardoned from a death sentence and bring a new feeling of hope that they never thought was possible for their life and future.



How Spirituality Helps Addiction

woman sitting cross-legged with her right hand on her heart being spiritual

Substance and alcohol use can bring about immense feelings of loneliness, shame, grief, and depression. One of the most important parts of recovery is feeling like a part of the community to know that you’re not alone. Discovering a higher power while in addiction recovery can tremendously help addicts find a sense of belonging and unity that they desperately needed. The spirit of peace that comes from that connection surpasses all understanding and carries throughout their life even when they are tempted to go back to their old habits. A person’s relationship with their higher power is as unique and special as they are, and they should not be judged by anyone whether they have one or not. The most important thing for them to remember is to not give up on trying to find what works for them, because that may not be what works for someone else. 

The role of spirituality in recovery is defined differently for each person because everyone has unique life experiences and personalities. As a result, they will have differing views of who they are spiritually and how they choose to manifest that spirituality in their recovery life. By attempting to tap into their natural energy source through the guidance of their spiritual self, they can experience a permanent and genuine high, which is better than that which they were trying to achieve through their substance abuse. By practicing this spiritual discipline in their lives, they no longer have to rely on their addictions to cope with daily life and have tapped into a new sense of motivation while living out their sober future.


Addiction Recovery Programs

One question that is commonly asked is whether religion can help with addiction. The answer is yes! Anything that positively influences a person’s life has the potential to help them overcome their addictions! Let’s take a look at a religious-based program, as well as some other programs that can help with recovery. 


female speaking to her peers in an aa meeting

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a Christian-based 12-step recovery program designed for those struggling with pain or addictions of any kind. Their goal is to create a safe and welcoming community for those to connect and share their experiences with one another. 

Luckily, if a person doesn’t feel comfortable with the religious tone or “higher power” aspect of most recovery programs, there are other options.


Secular Meetings – More Zoom Meetings

Secular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings maintain a tradition of free expression and conduct, where alcoholics may feel free to express any doubts or dis-beliefs they may have and share their own personal thoughts on spirituality.


Self-Help Addiction Recovery | SMART Recovery 4-Point Program® | Alternative to AA

There is also SMART recovery, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. Their approach to addiction recovery is secular and science-based, and places an emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy and non-confrontational methods. 


Recovery Dharma – Home

Recovery Dharma is a peer-led recovery movement and community that is unified by trust in the potential of each person to recover and find freedom from the suffering of their addictions. To them, recovery is all about empowerment and support from each other as they walk on the path towards recovery together. 


Wellbriety Movement – Furthering the Wellbriety Movement

Have you heard of the Wellbriety movement? This movement emphasizes a larger change in personal identity and values that are visible in one’s relationships with others. In essence, it focuses on physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health, and was founded on the recognition that they cannot bring one part of their lives into a state of control while other parts are still out of control.

Again, the important thing to keep in mind here is to not give up searching for your spirituality. Keep trying out different meetings, and if you don’t find one that you can relate to, start your own!

As said by a Narcotics Anonymous member “religion is for people who are scared of hell. Spirituality is for people who’ve been to hell and want to come back.”

For some, that statement helps relieve the negative impact that the thought of “religion” can have on their recovery journey and allow them to still venture into an identity that includes embracing their spirituality.


OTR Can Help You With Spirituality

At Oregon Trail Recovery, we help clients in all stages of their addiction recovery and address their mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Our experienced and caring staff can help you build healthy habits and incorporate spirituality so you can live a healthy life with the people who matter most to you. as most recovering alcoholics and addicts are suffering in every area, and need to work on getting themselves to a place of wholeness. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction, Oregon Trail Recovery is here for you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Feel free to fill out the contact form, call us at 855-770-0577, or email us at