Spirituality and Recovery
I believe having a good spiritual life will greatly assist you
in your recovery from bipolar disorder.
Also we have statistics that back this belief up. People who believe in God or
something greater outside of themselves fair much better with crisis and life in
As human beings we are like a beautiful diamond with many different aspects. We
have our physical needs, emotional needs, financial needs, and spirituality is
piece of that diamond. It is vital to nurture each aspect of ourselves.
Some of you may remember me mentioning that I have been told my Drs. that I live
in my head. I am rich in the cognitive part of myself but have ignored the other
aspects of myself that are crying out for attention. My therapy to help me deal
with this was to find an "earth mother" and get some dirt under my
nails and plant a garden. I did follow this and it has allowed other important
parts of me to be nurtured. It brought me out of my head much more.
Later I began to work out at the local YMCA and I discovered I have a physical
body that was deeply neglected. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, my pulse
went down in the 60's, I felt emotionally and physically better as a result and
my bipolar disorder was under a lot of extra control as exercise assists the
bipolar disorder a great deal.
Focus on balance. Each part of ourselves needs to be balanced to be a truly
healthy and happy human being. Examine those parts of ourselves and if you find
an imbalance, DON'T feel guilty. Don't focus on that. Focus on restoring or
beginning that balance.
When I underwent getting over a man who was not good for me a greater portion of
getting over this person was connecting strongly back with my own spirituality.
I also have a fantastic local Christian tv channel and I got really pumped up
from those shows. This assisted me in believing that I could overcome the
obstacle I was faced with. My faith in God when I called out to Him to help me
with this is very strong. Imagine if you will, how this strong faith has an
impact on me resolving obstacles in my life. I BELIEVE that I will resolve
whatever issue I am faced with. Remember about the unconscious mind. If it
believes something is true, your behavior changes to match that belief because
otherwise you will be living outside of your comfort zone.
With my spirituality I also believe that I am not resolving obstacles alone. I
also believe that I have a great deal of inner power given by God to resolve
major obstacles. If I can't do it then I will be lead to understand how to go
about resolving the obstacle.
Another well-known phrase is "Let Go and Let God." I believe this may
be used in Alcoholic Anonymous. When we believe that there are some things that
we cannot fix by ourselves but have an understanding that someone or something
greater than ourselves CAN fix it, it has a huge impact on resolution of
obstacles. The phrase means imagine giving the problem to that God, whomever we
understand him/her/it to be and leaving the problem with that outside great
power and LEAVING IT THERE. How would that make you feel?? What would that do to
your attitude about problems, about having hope of recovery in your life?
A strong spiritual life is vital to recovery and facing problems. You may be
Jewish, Christian, Catholic, etc. Your belief in who God is may be very
different from how I view "Him" to be, but the basic fundamentals that
I mentioned above are the same. This belief that we have directly impacts our
You will read in many books or be advised by your therapist, that in order to
work through issues or face crisis, etc., that whatever spiritual life you have,
you are encouraged to strengthen that during those rough times.
Twelve step programs are very spiritual. They include God,
whatever we believe Him to be. The first step is "We admitted we were
powerless over alcohol --- that our lives had become unmanageable".
Second step: "Came to believe that a power greater than
ourselves could restore us to sanity".
Third: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over
to the care of God as we understood him."
These first three steps explain in different words what I am
attempting to discuss.
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Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All