The Science of Spirituality and Addiction Treatment

To complete addiction treatment and maintain recovery, it’s best if individuals maintain good physical, mental, and spiritual health. This is because many of the underlying issues that cause a person to turn to substance misuse are due to poor physical, spiritual and mental health.  Poor spiritual health can especially impact one’s addiction treatment and recovery. This is because the science of spirituality and addiction go hand and hand. 

The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion

Woman sitting in her sunlit home, meditating

Even if a person isn’t religious, he or she can still be spiritual, particularly while in addiction treatment or recovery. This is because there is a difference between spirituality and religion. 


Religion is an institution with set organized practices and a structured belief system. It’s shared by a community of people to serve or worship a specific higher power. 

In comparison to the science of spirituality, religion is much more strict. That’s because religion regulates who a person can believe in, what a person can believe, and how a person must believe it. This is because religious beliefs are passed down from religious members to religious members from generation to generation. 

Religious beliefs are also usually documented in some sort of formal creed or book. In fact, it’s a common practice in many religions to recite religious texts.

Because religions are institutionalized, they almost always contain leaders and some sort of hierarchy of authority. Therefore, religious individuals often look up to some sort of priest, pope, pastor, etc. for guidance. This is much different from spirituality in which individuals decide for themselves what their beliefs are. Spiritual individuals also decide on their own how they’re going to practice their beliefs. 


When analyzing the science of spirituality, one has to recognize the connection that the human soul has to a higher power. Because spirituality connects oneself to a higher power that is always in control and is above all the struggles of life, people in addiction treatment and recovery that are spiritual can gain a sense of hope. The science of spirituality also allows people in addiction treatment and recovery to feel a sense of peace and purpose. 

Rather than looking towards religious leaders for guidance, spiritual people look inward towards themselves and their own consciences. That way, spiritual people can discover their own purpose in life. This purpose helps individuals to combat addiction triggers. 

While religion is for a specific set of people, spirituality is for everyone while still being personalized. Therefore, individuals that are religious can still be spiritual and recognize the connection between spirituality and addiction. 

In fact, individuals that aren’t even religious can be spiritual as well. This is especially true since there are many different types of spirituality.  Thus, regardless of the difference between spirituality and religion, all people, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, can practice the science of spirituality while in addiction treatment and recovery. 

The Spirit of Addiction

Because all people contain feelings and desires, it’s safe to say that all people are innately spiritual in a way. This is especially true since people like to have meaning in their lives.  

When people lack meaning and purpose in their lives, they’ll either do anything to subconsciously find it or try to cope without it. When people try to cope without meaning and purpose in their lives, they often do so through substance abuse.  

Thus, individuals that misuse substances to cope with a lack of meaning and purpose in their lives often develop full-fledged substance addictions. Therefore, such individuals are replacing spirituality with the spirit of addiction. Unfortunately, the spirit of addiction is destructive and leaves people unhealthy, lost, and without purpose. 

The Science of Spirituality and Addiction Treatment

The science of spirituality is complex. Thus, there are various different types of spirituality as it pertains to addiction treatment and recovery. For example, spirituality in addiction treatment can come in the form of building one’s life skills and self-confidence. 

Spirituality in addiction treatment can also come in the form of directly connecting with a higher power through practices such as prayer. Even connecting deeper with oneself through coping mechanisms such as meditation can act as a form of spirituality. Spirituality in addiction treatment can also come in the form of various different holistic, or alternative, treatment practices.

Common Types of Spirituality in Holistic Treatment for Addiction

There are various different types of spirituality in holistic treatment for addiction. Some of these types of spirituality are described below.

Yoga and Meditation

Man doing yoga on the floor while watching a laptopYoga is a physical exercise that focuses on flexibility and becoming one with oneself. Oftentimes, the physical exercise of yoga is paired with the mental exercise of meditation to help people further become one with themselves. For many people, the practice of yoga and/or meditation is a spiritual practice. This is because yoga and meditation help people better themselves, calm down their spirits, and focus on a higher power. 

Spending Time in Nature

Spending time in nature is one of the other key types of spiritual activities in holistic treatment for addiction. This is because nature is quiet and free from the distracting chaos of regular, day-to-day life. Spending time in nature is also a spiritual practice because it helps make people feel one with the world and the creator of it. 

Music Therapy

Music therapy is one of the other common types of spiritual activities. This is because music is a universal language that can make people connect with their inner emotions. Music therapy is also a great way to help people open up. 

Playing, writing, singing, or making music even helps build the confidence of individuals in addiction treatment. This is great for one’s spirituality as building one’s confidence can be a factor that improves one’s spiritual well-being. 

Art Therapy

Similar to music therapy, art therapy is a great way to help people connect with their souls and innermost emotions. This is because art is a form of expression. Similar to music, art is also a universal language. Therefore, individuals can create art to help them open up and express themselves to others. 

Similar to with music, creating art can even help build people’s confidence. This too can improve people’s spiritual well-being. 

The Science of Spirituality and Addiction Recovery

As important as catering to one’s spiritual well-being is to a person in addiction treatment, it’s even more so in addiction recovery. This is because maintaining good spiritual health can help keep people motivated to maintain their sobriety, even when triggered. This essentially means that maintaining good spiritual health can help prevent people in addiction recovery from relapsing

Spirituality in the 12 Step Program 

Man in green shirt looking relaxed and happySpirituality and addiction recovery are intertwined. So much so that even the 12 step program acknowledges spirituality as one of its driving forces. In fact, nearly every step in the standard 12 step program mentions spirituality or God in some shape or form. 

For example, the second step in the 12 step program states that the person in addiction recovery believes that there is a power that’s greater than him or herself. The third step in the 12 step program takes it further and states that the person in addiction recovery will turn his or her life over to the care of God as we understand them. 

Spirituality is such an integral part of the 12 step program that it gives people within the program hope that they can maintain lifelong sobriety. This hope then keeps people in addiction recovery motivated. 

Spirituality in the 12 Traditions of Addiction Recovery

The 12 traditions of addiction recovery are rules by which all 12-step AA meeting participants should follow. Similar to the 12 steps of addiction recovery, the 12 traditions of addiction recovery frequently mention God and spirituality. For example, the second tradition states that there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God as He may express Himself in the conscious minds of all of the individuals in addiction recovery. 

How Spirituality Can Help Prevent Relapse

Because spirituality is such an integral part of addiction recovery, it can help prevent people from relapsing. This is because a soul that’s healthy, content, and filled with purpose helps promote good physical and mental health, which then helps motivate people to overcome their addiction triggers and maintain sobriety long-term. 

Improve Your Spiritual Well-Being While in Addiction Treatment At Grace Land Recovery

Here at Grace Land Recovery, we know how integral the science of spirituality is to addiction treatment and recovery. That’s why we provide our patients with groups about spirituality. We also provide our patients with anger management therapy groups, groups for healing emotional trauma, relapse prevention groups, HIV education groups, nutrition groups, and emotion regulation groups\. Through all these different forms of group therapy, we hope to help improve the physical, mental, and spiritual health of our patients. 

To learn more about the addiction treatment programs and types of spirituality in the individual and group therapies that we offer here at Grace Land Recovery, contact us today! We would love to help you improve your spiritual life so that you can use the science of spirituality to overcome addiction and maintain sobriety.