Atheism and Addiction Recovery

Atheism Defined

Atheism is the rejection of deities or Gods and denies, including in some cases spirits and the supernatural. Often, atheists are considered to be people who place their faith in science, reason and facts that are supported with substantial, proven evidence. Many people believe that atheists do not represent or involve themselves in spirituality however this is not always the truth. Spirituality and belief in a specified religion are considered to be two separate things.

Atheists face the challenge of substance abuse as often as those who do have a faith in a religion. Not adhering to a specified belief system does not mean that a person has no morals and will develop an addiction easier than others. Drug and alcohol abuse is a disease that can affect anyone regardless of age, religion, socio-economic status, employment or marital status.

Spirituality without Religion

Spirituality refers to the beliefs and practices by which people live. These beliefs are varied and may or may not include the presence of a divine being, a higher power or other spiritual beings. Spirituality can play an important role in guiding people and bringing inner peace, self awareness and a purpose in life. When a person has a sense of spirituality, they can be less selfish, experience life satisfaction, peace and become more altruistic. A person with this sense of spirituality often does not need to use alcohol or other drugs to feel in control of their lives, or even to feel in general.

Atheists may have specified spiritual practices in which they participate such as meditation, yoga or personal rituals such as consuming specific foods or drinks. They often will find strength in their beliefs in people, science and facts that enable them to overcome adversity and find reason in the way of the world. To be without a belief in a god does not mean that there is a disconnection in one’s life. Atheists experience a spiritual response and feel the significance, unity and connection of all human beings through understanding and exploring the existence of the world.

When faced with the death of a loved one, or other traumatic experience, many atheists find comfort in reason and knowledge that this is the way life is and has always been without needing to understand that it was the purpose or path that a higher being or god was intending.

Recovery From Within

In the process of recovering from an addiction, many people find strength in religion or faith. This can provide the support and guidance that some people lack in their lives and require to succeed in recovery. However, not all people will benefit from specified religion-based treatments that often require a person to commit to religious practices, prayer and dedication. Atheists will work on developing the personal attributes and skills to help them overcome their addiction without needing to blame a higher being or themselves for failing to believe in a higher power.

Many successful rehabilitation treatments are not based on any religion or faith but on psychological and scientific advancements. Motivational enhancement therapy is one such treatment that has been found to have a life changing affect on some people. Motivational enhancement therapy works on motivating an individuals opinion on themselves, on their skills and their abilities to enable them to work on recovering from substance abuse. Behavior therapy is another therapy that is based on improving the personal attributes of an individual to foster recovery and abstinence.

Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the most popular treatments that is available for substance abusers. This therapy works two-fold by firstly analyzing the individuals approach to life, behaviors, thoughts and environment and identifying the triggers and issues that have contributed to the addiction. Secondly, cognitive behavior therapy will work with the addict to develop skills to enable them to cope with their life challenges without using drugs or alcohol.

Skills and Lessons

Recovering from substance abuse can be a long and difficult path for many and one of the most challenging issues that is faced is learning the skills to cope and manage in the real world. For atheists, there is comfort in knowing that humans have the ability to re-wire their brains and their bodies to reduce the devastating effects of alcohol on them physically and psychologically. This belief in themselves and their own abilities can make skill development easier than for others.

Coping skills are the tools that people use to respond to challenges and situations that will arise in their life. Development of these skills arm a recovering addict with tools to overcome the hurdles of life with confidence. Atheists will be able to build on their knowledge and belief in the ability of themselves to foster confidence and success in recovery.

Atheists and all other addicts will face the challenge of recovery knowing that many people have gone down this path before them. They will know that some people have been successful in beating their addiction quickly and gone on to live meaningful lives with the supportive network of friends and family. They will also know that some people have not been so successful and have had to face many difficult situations before succeeding. Atheists will be able to take comfort in the facts of addiction recovery and know what with skills training, psychotherapy, drug therapy or other treatment, they have the best possible chance of recovering.

Support for Atheists in Sobriety

Atheists have the option of many different support networks that are not faith based including community care, networks of friends and families, counseling services, retreats and online support groups. Although there are a vast array of religion-based services, taking full advantage of those that are secular is easy through searching online and referral.

The Secular Organizations for Sobriety is a group of organizations that works to empower individuals to overcome addiction without religion. This organization, also known as Save Our Selves or SOS, believes that individuals have the right to recover from substance abuse no matter what their beliefs are and credit individuals for having the inner strength and ability to be sober. SOS works with members to help them admit their addiction, face their fears and negative beliefs in themselves and work on taking up a clean, sober and healthy life.

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