Erik S. Hines is President of Vertava Health of Tennessee. Erik is and ordained pastor and motivational speaker who has lead numerous small companies, ministries, and organizations to success.
“How Does Spirituality Play a Role in Recovery?”
There is a story of a physician named Dr. Duncan MacDougall, who performed a medical experiment in 1907 with a few dying patients. He took those who were close to death and placed them on a custom made bed that he had built which was also a weight scale sensitive enough to measure two-tenths of an ounce of weight. The purpose was to attempt to measure the weight of the soul of man. The theory was that when someone passed away, that the soul would depart and thus the deceased would lose the weight of the soul allowing Dr. MacDougall to pinpoint the weight of the spirit. His highly sensitive bed was a success! He was able to observe that at the precise moment of death, humans actually lose ½ ounce of weight. Dr. MacDougall became so intrigued by this concept that he also placed dying dogs and other animals on the bed to measure the weight of their spirit, but was shocked to discover that this only happens in humans. Dr. MacDougall’s only explanation to this medical phenomenon was that the spirit of man exists and that it weighs about ½ ounce!
What does this mean?
I believe that this tells us that there is more to man than simply flesh and bone! We are people made up of three parts; body, mind and spirit. Our bodies simply consist of the flesh and bone that we see in the mirror everyday; our mind is simply the thoughts and processes of brain; but our spirit is a much more complicated aspect of our nature that becomes the gasoline for our mind and body.
Our spirit, also known as the heart or soul, is the core of who we are as people. It is our spirit that is the foundational fabric of our nature, character and personality – and without it, we would be like a ship without a rudder. Our spirit, while not often spoken of in daily conversations, plays a massive role in all that we do and why we do it. Our spirit was originally a mirror image of the one who created us, but over time as we have gone through different seasons of life with past hurts, disappointments and experiences, our spirit has been altered to some degree. You see, your spirit is the raw, unedited, uncut version of who you are. Your spirit sets the stage for your thinking and reasoning, and because of this, the mind and body simply go in the direction that has been established by the nature of our spirit. While it is true that the spirit plays a foundational role in our existence, the mind and body also influence the spirit!
Confused yet? Let me explain.
Every person is made up of three parts in one:
(Just as God is three in one: Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
The mind and the heart work hand in hand. You see, our mind filters and deposits thoughts that eventually (if deposited consistently) will begin to contribute to the condition of our heart. Our heart will then set the stage for thoughts to be launched, and start to influence the condition of our mind. It’s as if the heart and the mind each play a role in influencing one another.
Think of it like this: The lifestyle is a direct reflection of the mind, and in turn, the mind is direct reflection of the heart. All the while, the heart’s condition and content is a direct result of the minds perspective of your identity in life.
The differential factor is CONSISTENCY!
You see, your mind can be changed instantly about something or someone, however your spirit change takes TIME and CONSISTENCY to change. For example, if a mother and father told a child for 15 years that he or she was stupid loser, that would become engrained in that child’s heart. The child would believe that he or she is a stupid loser, even if someone they just met told them they were NOT a stupid loser. The only way to change a spirit is to change the consistent deposits that are made by the mind, for period of time.
So, to answer the question: “How does spirituality play a role in recovery?” becomes a simple answer: If what you believe about yourself in your heart/spirit changes, then what you think and how you live will simply follow suit.
Each person’s spirit has Basic Human Needs (BHN). BHN are needs that everyone strives to meet in order to live a balanced life.
The nine BHNs include:
When these needs are met, our spirits are balanced. But when they are UN-met, we unconsciously strive to find an outside source to meet these needs. Addiction become the parasite that catches during our attempts to fulfill our basic human needs. Most people start using and abusing alcohol or drugs because of an UN-met BHN;
- “I simply wanted to fit in with the crowd.” (That’s the BHN of acceptance.)
- “I wanted to try something new.” (That’s the BHN of Adventure.)
- “My drug made me a more outgoing and likable person” (That’s the BHN of security.)
- “I started using when my spouse left me, and I used to mask the pain of loneliness.” (That’s the BHN of love and self-worth.)
At Vertava Health of Tennessee, we guide people to identify their basic human needs, and discover what it takes to fulfill them. We bring people see themselves as VICTORS not VICTIMS. We help them see the truth about their spirits and their identities – and help them to change how they think, and eventually how they live. The bottom line is, not only does spirituality play a role in recovery, it plays the main role in LASTING recovery.