A holistic and integrative recovery acknowledges and utilizes the power that resides in all four rooms of the human experience: the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual.

The physical room gives us the insight that addiction is a disease, and working from that insight has offered us many powerful tools and approaches. I have benefitted from these insights and tools in my own recovery, but I am not an addiction medicine physician or a psychiatrist. So, I will leave the physical to these health care professionals, and encourage you again to enter this room regularly.

Moving on through the rooms: The mental room gives us the insight that our thoughts and ideas, our assumptions and our worldview, have an enormous role in both addiction and recovery. And the room of the emotions shows us that how we respond to our feelings—whether we are overcome by them, disengage from them, or somewhere in between—is a factor in our addiction. Healing emotional trauma and acknowledging our dependence on old emotional patterns can be a large part of recovery.

My training and expertise, and I suppose my temperament, have led me to focus my attention on the room of Spirit and what it teaches us about addiction and recovery. What this room reveals is that addiction stems from fragmentation; it is a strategy for dealing with the pain of disconnection from our essential self. When we reframe our approach to addiction in this way, we can see that the underlying problem is not the addiction. The problem beneath the symptoms of addiction is spiritual and psychic disconnection, the fragmentation of self. Recognizing this allows us to start to identify and let go of old core beliefs, to let go of those solutions that are no longer working, and to move toward a place of wholeness and perfection.

Thus begins this incredible voyage inward. On this journey, we are not looking for something independent of ourselves, we are turning inward and recognizing that this pathway can lead us to return to the essential self. The spiritual perspective allows us to make an important internal shift. When we move from an outer-focused life to an inner-focused way of being, we can start to recognize and engage our wholeness, our inherent perfection. And when we are willing to look within and do the work of inner clearing, removing the false ideas, perspectives, and stories we have about our lives, we can open to this new way of being.

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