Wednesday November 26th 2014

Spiritual recovery from addiction

Am I on the right path?

In spiritual recovery from addiction, 12 step programs teach you that a spiritual awakening needs to happen in order for you to remain clean and sober. But how do you know that you are on the right path in your spiritual recovery from addiction? And when do you know when a spiritual life has begun? Rabbi Shais Taub shares his thoughts on the spiritual barometer for addiction recovery here.

How do we shift our consciousness?

The 12-Step model for addiction recovery is based on the premise that in order to overcome addiction, we have to become new people and that in order to become a new person, we need to have a spiritual experience.

So, how do you know that you’re on your way to having that total shift in consciousness that will change your life?

I will attempt to simplify without oversimplifying.

From self to God centered

Human consciousness operates on a spectrum. On one extreme is complete self-centeredness. On the other extreme is complete God-centeredness. The extent to which one is focused on self is in inverse proportion to how much he or she is focused on self. And vice versa. The less focused we are on self, the more we allow the awareness of God into our minds.

The purpose of the Steps is to provide us a path upward for rising above our own ego. In a word, we learn humility. As some wise person pointed out, humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

How do you know that you are on the spiritual path?

So, how do you know that you are on the spiritual path? If you are moving closer to God, then you must be moving away from selfishness and pride. Again, this does not mean self-hatred or low self-esteem. It means becoming free from your biases and prejudices. It means feeling genuine tolerance for others. It means being able to see how someone who hurt you may have also been hurt by you. It means being less concerned with what you can get out of a situation and more concerned with what you can add to it. It means becoming less of a taker and more of a giver.

In active addiction, we don’t just use our drug of choice. We use everyone and everything. In recovery, it is the exact opposite. We look to see how we can be of use to everyone and everything.

At any rate, these are just some ideas to ponder. The main thing is action. If you follow the program of action that promises to lead to a spiritual awakening, you will surely get there and see results sooner than you may even expect.

Photo credit: h. koppdelaney

Leave a Reply

6 Responses to “Spiritual recovery from addiction
Benny Rowe
11:59 pm October 30th, 2011

As usual Rabbi… Spot On!

Richard Haden
10:29 pm February 3rd, 2012

Thanks for the wonderful article. I have been developing an addiction and mental health organization and named it SpiritQuest because I know how important spiritual formation is in recovery.

Richard

Debra Rincon Lopez
6:06 pm February 26th, 2012

I have done just this, I am living a much better lifestyle. I am not using & helping others in a addiction to make myself stay sober also. It’s becomes a healthy cycle of give & take, & grace is give back to you in return, I love GOD for helping me thru this whole process also.

11:27 am February 28th, 2012

I think that’s the beauty of 12 step programs, actually. They train us to think about others, which is actually the treatment for selfishness!

Trish Somerville
2:26 am July 12th, 2012

Nice Info. Do you mind if I talk about this post in my blog.

12:01 am July 13th, 2012

Thanks for the message, Trish. The only request we have is that you reference Addiction Blog and link to the article if you are going to quote or mention posts here.

Best,
Lee

Leave a Reply

About Rabbi Shais Taub

Rabbi Shais Taub is one of today's most respected young scholars of Jewish spirituality and practice. National Public Radio called him "an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps." He is the author of God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction.