The Pros and Cons of Prayer in Recovery

Drug Abuse
Mental Health
Sober Living
Substance Abuse

Okay, you may be asking yourself how can there be any cons to saying a prayer? How can prayer be harmful in any way? The truth is there are some concerns about prayer and spirituality in general that are important to keep in mind, especially when healing from an illness like addiction. This article will address both the benefits and the dangers of relying on prayer in recovery from addiction. If you're participating in a 12-step program, then you've probably been encouraged to pray. You may have been encouraged to develop a relationship with a higher power, through which you can find consolation and guidance. And the types of prayer you use may be those crafted by yourself or those given to you, such as the Serenity Prayer.You might use prayer:

  • Because it's part of your religious practice.
  • To give thanks.
  • To seek retribution and ask for forgiveness.
  • To ask for assistance with a concern or problem.
  • To feel a greater closeness with your higher power.
  • To help clear the mind and relax at the end of a long day.

If you enjoy prayer, you may notice that there are plenty of benefits of praying. For instance, prayer can bring the following benefits into your life:

  • Prayer can be a way of coping with tough problems.
  • Prayer can be a way to relieve stress.
  • Prayer can be a way to cope with pain.
  • Prayer can help a person deepen their spiritual path.
  • Prayer can lift a person's morale and mood.
  • Prayer can give a person a positive outlook on life.
  • Prayer can help a person find inner strength to face an overwhelming life concern.
  • Prayer may be able to help a person sleep at night.
  • Prayer can help a person feel less lonely.
  • Prayer and developing a relationship with a higher being can give a person meaning and purpose.
  • Prayer can teach a person humility.
  • Praying for others can increase a person's compassion.

One study that explored the effects of spirituality in a person's recovery found that one's spirituality tended to influence one's ability to regulate their emotions. Meditation and prayer had the effect of being able to better manage difficult emotions as well as having physiological effects such as lowering blood pressure. It is for these reasons that spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are being used in therapeutic ways. Despite these great benefits of prayer, there are some dangers to consider, such as the following:

  • Some people may come to rely on prayer too much and avoid taking the necessary steps to solve a problem. Prayer alone isn't always effective, especially when there are problems to solve. Or in the case of recovery, there are new behaviors to learn and thought patterns to change. The combination of prayer and taking action is what brings results, especially in recovery.
  • Prayer itself can become an addiction. Because of the emotional and psychological benefits of prayer, some may come to rely upon it too much.

These are both a list of benefits and dangers that can come with prayer. If you're concerned about the dangers discussed above, speak with your drug counselor, therapist, or religious leader more about prayer.

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