In a world of tangible solutions like medicine and therapy, it’s easy to forget the benefits of prayer.
But nearly 90% of Americans have prayed for healing at some point. Among them are recovering addicts, who combine faith and prayer with other solutions to overcome their addictions.
But just what are the benefits of praying for recovering addicts? We’ve put together a few below, so read on to find out.
It Teaches Forgiveness
Many addicts have hurt people. They’ve all hurt themselves.
Prayer teaches us to ask for forgiveness in a state of humility. For recovering addicts, this could be the first time in years that they’ve taken on a personal sense of responsibility.
But responsibility isn’t about wallowing in guilt. Learning to forgive one’s self and move on is a powerful part of addiction recovery.
Learning to mentally and spiritually realign yourself in this way is one of the benefits of prayer. It gives a solid foundation to build upon and opens a path to personal betterment.
It’s an Outlet
We all have little rituals in our lives. For most people, they’re a harmless outlet – a way of asserting control over our lives.
But addicts don’t have that control, and their rituals are toxic. When they give up their addiction, they’re faced with the absence of their comforting rituals.
Dealing with addiction rituals is one of the biggest challenges for recovering addicts. This ritual space combines with the physical process of withdrawal to create a restless physical and mental state – it’s exactly why many ex-smokers chew gum.
Prayer can take the place of this absent ritual. It gives the mind and body something to do when restlessness comes calling.
By replacing the ritual, you’re much less likely to relapse into a familiar pattern of behavior.
Prayer can be a very private thing, but many find solace in praying with others.
Praying together reminds us that we’re not alone. Addiction is difficult to overcome even with support – it’s almost impossible to go it alone.
By praying with others, you can take comfort in knowing there’s someone around to provide emotional support and a sense of community. This community will provide a powerful positive influence.
Our own discipline often wobbles. When it does, it’s helpful to have the scrutiny of other people to keep us on the right track. It’s much harder to brush an act under the carpet when it’s publicly known.
There are many faith-based recovery centers around the country which exist for this reason. Choosing to join one may transform a recovering addict’s path to recovery. You can learn more here.
It Expands the Mind
We all get wrapped up in our own concerns occasionally. We over-emphasize the moment, and we forget that we don’t have to take on the burden of our problems alone.
Taking a step back in these situations shows us the mountains in our lives are tiny when viewed from far away.
Praying reminds us that there’s a much larger picture. Even our most difficult problems are only moments in our larger lives. And being able to trust in God can take a massive weight off our shoulders.
This expansion of the mind even opens the way to helping others. Instead of focusing on our problems, we become aware of how other people may be struggling. For some, finding meaning elsewhere can help to replace the role of addiction in their lives.
It’s a Way of Taking Action
By definition, an addict doesn’t appear to have control over their own life. They’re ruled by their demons.
The first thing a recovering addict needs to learn is that this isn’t the case. We can all take an action today which will benefit us tomorrow.
Prayer is an excellent demonstration of this principle. It’s one of the simplest actions we can take. The benefits of prayer are that it’s free and available to absolutely everyone. You can spend as much or as little time praying as you like.
A recovering addict can use prayer to recover a feeling of control over their own life. They choose when and how to pray.
This rehabilitates the mind, moving it from reaction-based thinking to action. It’s a small, wobbly step toward learning to walk again.
It’s Relaxing and Positive
We’re bombarded with negativity every day. Anything from bad news on the radio to a neighbor’s anger can put us in a slump.
The trials of overcoming addiction amplify these negative emotions through the lens of stress and physical discomfort. Additional negative influences sap our finite mental reserves, leaving us more prone to depression and relapse.
The key is to introduce new positive influences into daily life. Prayer is a great way to do this. It focuses and clears the mind. Even a short amount of time spent in a positive, relaxed state can do wonders.
Like meditation, prayer allows the mind to go quiet and focus on a single thing at a time. In an age when we’re attacked with information, the value of this can’t be overstated.
It’s Good for the Body
We’ve listed many of the most immediate benefits of prayer. But tucked away in all those benefits is the positive effect it has on the body.
Scientists tell us that the health of the mind and body are tightly linked. A poor diet, lack of sleep, or extreme stress can all impact our physical health.
It’s no different for recovering addicts.
Prayer can relax and stabilize the mind, allowing the body to follow suit. A quieter mind means better sleep. Reduced anxiety leads to more positive actions, like exercising. It can even reduce the apparent magnitude of physical pain.
The Benefits of Prayer Can Change a Life
Recovering addicts already face a vast amount of barriers standing in their way. For every challenge they face, they need a positive solution. Along with other support structures, prayer could be the missing link that turns a life around.
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