Sometimes it can help us to cope with the many challenges of recovery to view it as a journey, an evolution, and a spiritual test. We’re being tested mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Our willpower, resilience and inner strength are all being tested. How well we succeed has a lot to do with how much we believe in ourselves, how strong our faith in ourselves is, and how well that faith can withstand the many attacks on it. Perhaps the greatest element we can use to our advantage throughout this spiritual test is our internal connection with ourselves.
Viewing our recovery as a spiritual test allows us to shift our perspective and see things differently, to help ourselves heal and make things easier and more positive for us. Sometimes as we’re recovering, we can feel consumed with anxiety, worry and self-doubt, pessimism, negativity and insecurity. We don’t know if we’re strong enough or resilient enough to make it through the many challenges that will arise. We don’t know if we have enough willpower. At the root of all of these feelings is our fear. We’re afraid of relapsing, of falling back into old habits, patterns and lifestyles. We’re afraid of causing ourselves and our loved ones even more pain than we already have. We’re afraid recovery isn’t possible for us after all. We’re afraid we’ll never be able to quit, and that we’ll never be happy. We’re afraid we’re not good enough. When we see all of these fear-based emotions as part of our spiritual test, we can approach them with more tenacity and more courage, because we know they’re testing us and strengthening us in the process. Every difficult emotion we feel makes us a little bit stronger. We start to have more patience with ourselves as we move forward. We become more compassionate and understanding with ourselves. We feel less afraid, less anxious and less worried because we feel like this is all part of the divine plan of our healing transformation.
Just as we feel our emotions are part of the spiritual test of our evolution, we also realize that all of our difficult experiences have been as well. Everything painful we’ve been through, every time we’ve relapsed, every time we’ve felt pain, we were being strengthened. We were being prepared for the journey ahead. We were being taught valuable lessons. We were gaining tremendous wisdom. We were learning skills that would equip us to better handle our difficult thoughts, feelings and experiences.
The perspective change we undergo when we start seeing our recovery as a spiritual test allows us to start asking ourselves different questions. Instead of asking ourselves why we had to go through this horrible experience, we ask ourselves what it was meant to teach us, what we stand to learn, how we can use the experience to help ourselves and others moving forward. We ask how we’ve been better prepared for the future, what experiences will now be easier and what emotions less burdensome now that we’ve been strengthened in these ways.
Some of the most difficult emotions we’ve felt throughout our struggles with addiction are the disappointment and shame we’ve felt. We grapple with these emotions and all of the pain and discomfort they bring. They make us feel deeply sad, anxious, overwhelmed and lost. We feel alone in our pain. We feel confused as to why we made the choices we did, why we allowed ourselves to fall so far. We’ve let ourselves and others down. We’ve hurt people and caused ourselves and everyone around us considerable suffering. We’ve fallen short of our expectations and those that other people held for us. We haven’t fulfilled the intentions we’ve set for ourselves or reached the goals we’ve outlined. When we understand that these feelings are all part of our spiritual test, we start to see the deeper meaning and purpose behind them. We see that they our disappointment is actually teaching us how to have unconditional self-love and self-acceptance. We discover that our shame is teaching us how to have forgiveness, both for ourselves and for other people. We start to see that making mistakes, committing wrongdoings, and doing things we’re ashamed of are part of human nature. No one is immune from feeling disappointment, guilt or shame. We all have things we regret. We all have things we might wish we could take back or do differently. We see the commonalities in the human experience, the ties that bind us together, the fact that we’re all actually much more similar than we are different. We start to have more empathy for other people, whose mistakes we might have previously judged or criticized. We have higher understanding. We feel more enlightened and closer to our higher power, because now we’re viewing things the way it sees us as spiritual beings – flawed but inherently worthy.
The spiritual test of our recovery asks us to deepen our connection with ourselves, our spirits and our higher power. It asks that we have more faith in ourselves and in the recovery process, and stop doubting ourselves and our recovery at every turn. It asks that we develop our compassion for other people, and that we grow in our understanding of people’s struggles and afflictions. Seeing our recovery as a spiritual test enables us to feel more at peace and more empowered as we work to heal, and this unshakeable faith we develop in ourselves is sometimes all we need.
Riverside Recovery is a drug and alcohol treatment center offering a full continuum of care for people suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We understand the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and are here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.