Spirituality has historically been an integral part of the addiction and recovery process. Nowhere is that more prevalent than San Diego, with its historic churches and religious communities offering sanctuary to those looking for recovery from addiction. Overall, the community in San Diego has been extremely supportive in helping people overcome their addiction and lead healthier, happier lives. San Diego’s connection to spirituality, however, is declining and for many people seeking rehab and substance abuse recovery, programs that revolve around a particular faith can be alienating. Today, we want to take a look at the connection between spirituality and substance abuse in San Diego, and the US in general.
History of Substance Abuse Programs in the US
Since the 1800’s there have been documented movements within the US to remove drugs and alcohol from communities. This eventually led to the Prohibition Era in the 1920’s, where speakeasies and private liquor shops became popular, if illegal, destinations. Unfortunately, this only promoted the distilment of harder liquors, making addiction more dangerous, much faster, for individuals suffering with alcohol misuse.
Clearly, banning alcohol only triggered worse effects, less trust in authorities, and more hidden, reckless behaviors from people with serious substance use disorders. The immediate counter-response was to create refuges for alcoholics to recover in safety, with a guiding hand rather than an iron fist. Churches and community centers where dozens of community-minded members gathered, were an obvious solution. It became an unspoken standard that religious centers provided rehab and recovery services for their communities. As these practices developed, expanded, and formalized, they were laced with spiritual lessons, morals, and ethics, particularly following Christian and Catholic ideals. To this day, Alcoholics Anonymous has a number of their meetings at local churches or religious centers, and many of their 12-steps revolve around a faith with a higher power.
Spirituality and Addiction
While this was a great stepping stone for suburban, Christian and Catholic Americans, the religiously-heavy programs often don’t resonate with a modern American culture, where over a third of young adults are not affiliated with any religion. For Millennials, faith-based programs can be a distraction from the core benefits of recovery, such as self-empowerment, managing cravings, and networking with like-minded individuals to create a sphere of accountability.
How AToN changes the spiritual connection in recovery
At AToN Center in San Diego, we have a non-12-step program available for patients looking to recover without religious influence or pressure. We still value spirituality but feel that each person should find their own connection to the world as they see fit. Whether that’s through a higher power, through nature, art, or just through a love of the world as it is, we think its important recovery nourishes the soul. Programs like mindfulness and meditation help build focus and clarity, manage symptoms of detox, and control cravings. Meanwhile physical fitness programs, like Yoga, inspired by a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, Chinese Acupuncture, Watsu (relaxing shiatsu exercises in a warmed pool), and personal trainers help you feel more comfortable in your body, and develop the tools and tolerance for a lifelong recovery.
If you or a loved are looking for a proven recovery program that focuses on the individual needs, rather than following a formulaic religious teaching, then we’d love to show you what we can offer at AToN Center recovery. Call right now at (888) 535-1516 to find out more.