Recovery: Do You Really Need Faith to Recover?

Faith

If you want to recover, if you want to live a better life, you need a little faith.

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Faith.

The word is heavy. It carries baggage. Yours, mine and ours.

Just say the word in a group and you can feel people becoming uneasy. In our society, faith is a four letter word.

Faith is considered optional. Adjunct. A sideline to the real work of life. 

And then there is recovery. Some recovery programs are faith-based (ie: AA and the 12 Step) and others are not. This got me thinking.

Can you recover without faith? I believe that you cannot recover without faith. You need to believe that you can improve, that tomorrow can be better.

What is faith?

You and I may not know the way, but we have to accept that there IS a way. Faith is NOT happy-positive-belief that you will get what you want. Instead, it is a belief that you can become who you need to be.

For me it’s simple (but hard to do): You and I may not know the way, but we have to accept that there IS a way. Faith is NOT happy-positive-belief that you will get what you want. Instead, it is a belief that you can become who you need to be.

Put this way, can anyone live without faith?

If faith is believing that your tomorrow can be better, that you can reach your goal and that you may not get what you want, but you can become who you need to be.

Faith should not be the domain of religion. If it is, we have lost something. If you want to live a fulfilling life, you need to have faith. In my view, faith is not necessarily tied to any one religion. Just like love and hope. 

Faith should not be the domain of religion. If it is, we have lost something. If you want to live a fulfilling life, you need to have faith. In my view, faith is not necessarily tied to any one religion. Just like love and hope.

Faith recognizes that you and I are not alone. We need other people and sometimes we can’t explain what we need. We also admit that we are not the solution to every problem. Sometimes we need something else.

5 Reasons faith is part of a healthy recovery and a fulfilling life: 

  1. Faith will help you cope with trauma and your past. When you don’t know what to do, believing is a great place to start. What you believe in is not something another person can dictate. It may simply be that you believe that you can be better, that tomorrow will be better. You can call this your higher power, or it’s just something you believe in.
  2. Faith goes with you. You don’t need to do anything to have faith, but like fitness, you need to maintain it.  Some people have spiritual or religious practices that help them. The reason these things are important is that life will erode faith. Being hurt can make you closed off, betrayal can make you bitter, disappointment can make you jaded and not having your needs met may confirm that life is unjust. Faith, like everything else of value, takes work.
  3. Faith includes your entire life. It touches on every area of your life: forgiveness, trust, hope, gratitude, addiction and recovery, and coping with depression and anxiety.
  4. Faith will make you more self-aware. Being honest with yourself, asking for help, trusting others and trusting the process all require you to connect with what is important to you.
  5. Faith will connect you to your inner misfit. Having faith does not mean that you have to sign up for something. Having faith is about being committed, whereas belief is more temporary. Inside of you is a misfit and faith makes room for that. Read more in my article about Nadia Bolz Weber, Minister to the Misfit Inside You and I.

Faith is not just for recovery. I believe that if you and I want to be healthy, we need to have faith in something. To repeat, we may have faith in some, or all of these things:

  • Becoming better
  • Tomorrow being  better than today
  • Other people offering support
  • God, spirituality, a higher power or recovery itself

Can you live without faith?

Sure you can, no judgment here. But why? Life is richer when we do it together. If you and I want to recover, we need each other. Faith admits that I am not the end of everything.

Sign up for my blog. I write about recovery, mental health and addiction and what it takes to live your best life. No junk, just the best content that I can generate.

Keep it Real

For a more technical discussion of faith, spirituality and religion in psychology, follow this link to the American Psychology Association.

Photo by Karen

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