By: Vaughn Bryant
Spirituality is one of the eight dimensions of wellness. These eight dimensions of wellness are all connected, and growth in one area has the potential to stimulate growth in the other dimensions. As a person exercises spiritual discipline and achieves spiritual growth, their behavior towards other people changes and their social and relational wellness improves. Spirituality has been a fundamental dimension of the human experience since the beginning of human cultural expression. Even before modern human beings emerged and formed civilizations, the Neanderthal species showed evidence of spiritual beliefs and customs. Neanderthal people would bury the dead and equip them with tools that held great value for survival success in the journey beyond life. This burial with tools ritual was evidence of the belief in an afterlife, the notion there is another dimension beyond what we see and feel here and now. These beliefs in an afterlife and a force of power greater than oneself has evolved into a variety of spiritual expression. Spirituality is a protective factor motivating people to think beyond the here and now as they strive for some greater meaning in life. This fundamental dimension of human psychological experience is a useful resource for facilitating growth to wellness during treatment and recovery from substance use disorders. Sobriety is an objective in the first week of treatment, but wellness is the ultimate goal of treatment and recovery. Wellness is not only experiencing freedom from disease, but also experiencing healthy functioning in multiple dimensions of life. As a person establishes sobriety and recovers from their “disorders,” they continue to navigate the journey of recovery in the direction of wellness.
Spiritual disciplines are practices that one engages in to grow spiritually. Spiritual disciplines include:
Meditation – leads you to be mindful of self and others with attention to all the valuable resources around and within you Prayer – improves your conscious connection with the source of your spirituality Fellowship – places you in proximity to others and allows you to experience the warmth of inclusion in community Service – results in the most valuable use of your time and talent to enhance the world around you by helping others who will experience greater wellness from you serving them Gratitude – alters your mood and changes your personality Sacrifice – starves dysfunctional compulsions in your life Forgiveness – releases you from bitterness and resentment Love – receive love from the source of your spirituality then share that love with others; love is the meaning of life and a renewable energy source gaining strength when you transfer it to others through loving actions. Its potential is not achieved through feeling, but rather through action – love is as love does Imagine the positive impact on your own psychological well-being, relational health, and general productivity if you were to practice each of these spiritual disciplines every day.