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In the last section, we discussed the Amends process for helping recovering addicts reconnect with their families.
Do you have a client who uses spirituality as part of his or her recovery?
In this section, we will discuss the four spiritual principles most helpful in the late stage of family recovery from addiction. These four spiritual principles are harmony, balance, service, and community.
As you have experienced, as the family enters late recovery, trust and comfort begin to be experienced more regularly. I have observed that family members at this stage also begin to accept that hard work and struggles build intimacy, and begin to rediscover a sense of purpose.
My client, Esperanza, stated "I’ve been sober ten years now, and sometimes friends ask me why I keep going to so many AA meetings. I tell them, it’s because of my husband Donnie. I know everything about him, what all his little facial expressions mean. We’ve been together more than twenty years now, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. I almost lost him because of my drinking, and our relationship almost didn’t last. But as I got sober, cleared my head, I rediscovered all of these wonderful things we have. It was hard work, and it still sometimes, but I’ll do whatever it takes to keep it this way."
4 Spiritual Principles for Late Stage Recovery
♦ Principle # 1 - Harmony
♦ Principle # 2 - Balance
My client Joyce told me, "I used to fight with Mark about child care, even after he stopped drinking. But now we’ve managed to come up with something that helps us both. I switched my work schedule so that I can always stay home with the kids when he has a meeting. Then Mark saves me time by doing our shopping on his way home from the meetings, so that I don’t have to worry about it." As you can see, Joyce and Mark have developed the ability to see how important they both are in creating a healthy and loving family.
♦ Principle # 3 - Service
♦ Principle # 4 - Community
Joyce stated, "for a couple of years I didn’t do anything with anyone outside of my support group. But Mark and I have started reconnecting with our old friends, hosting dinners. And now, every Christmas, we do one of those programs where we buy gifts for a child in need. It makes us feel like we’re both doing something important together." Have you found that community service can make recovering families feel empowered and strong?
Even in late recovery, I found it important to remind Mark and Joyce that recovery from addiction is a process, and a journey, not an event or a destination. As you have experienced, it takes commitment and hard work over a long period of time to heal deep wounds and rebuild a healthy family.
♦ Technique: Reaching Out
I have often seen that participating in a service project as a family can help strengthen relationships, and build pride in the family. Mark stated, "doing the toy program really reminds me not only of my own good qualities, but of how good Joyce and I are together. I mean, we’re really helping.
In this section, we have discussed the four spiritual principles most helpful in the late stage of family recovery from addiction. These four spiritual principles are harmony, balance, service, and community.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Lee, M. T., Pagano, M. E., Johnson, B. R., Post, S. G., Leibowitz, G. S., & Dudash, M. (2017). From defiance to reliance: Spiritual virtue as a pathway towards desistence, humility, and recovery among juvenile offenders. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 4(3), 161–175.