Over the course of active addiction, an individual becomes almost unrecognizable compared to the person they used to be. The disease of addiction—classified as a chronic, incurable, relapsing disease that causes a number of structural, chemical, and functional abnormalities in the brain—not only affects one’s physical and psychological health, but also one’s emotional and spiritual well-being. As an addict spirals downward into the depths of addiction, he or she often turns to crime, justified by a degraded moral state and an obsession with seeking and consuming mind-altering substances, in order to sustain addiction. This moral deterioration coincides with less of interest in all those things about which one had previously been passionate. Additionally, addicts often sacrifice their relationships in the name of addiction due to caring more about their drug or drugs of choice than about those who had been important to them previously.
It could be said that addiction has a greater effect on one’s spiritual and emotional wellness than one’s physical and psychological health. Regardless of which functions and systems of being are the most profoundly affected by substance abuse and addiction, it’s common for individuals to experience a kind of spiritual awakening while in recovery. The experience of embarking on a path toward sobriety and health is marked by a number of intense emotions that are often initially uncomfortable as active addiction tends to keep individuals numbed to intense emotions and feelings of spirituality. Even the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous take into account the spiritual nature of recovery, which is accounted for in the Twelfth Step.
However, sometimes the intensity of spiritual awakening can be confusing, leaving individuals unsure of what it is, exactly, that they’re experiencing. For those who are in recovery, this awakening—also often described as a shift in attitude, personality change, an improvement in demeanor and outlook, and an increase of emotionality—is often marked by a number of indicators that tend to be common among many who are in this situation. Here are nine signs that you’re having or have had a spiritual awakening in sobriety.
Changing Sleep Patterns
During periods of emotional intensity, it’s incredibly common—in fact, almost universally common—for individuals to experience a marked change in their usual sleep patterns. There is a particular sleep pattern that seems to be common of individuals who are experiencing a spiritual awakening called the Triad Sleep Pattern. When experiencing the Triad Sleep Pattern, individuals will tend to wake up after sleeping two to three hours, fall back asleep for two to three hours more, and finally repeat the process a third time, sleeping a final two to three hours. It’s also typically for a spiritual awakening to result in individuals needing far less sleep to function than they had previously required.
Sensations On and Around the Head and Spine
A spiritual awakening in sobriety can bring on a number of physical sensations in addition to the emotional ones. Those who have experienced a spiritual awakening often describe a number of sensations—tingling, itching, prickling, or crawling sensations—on and around the crown of one’s head as well as the scalp and spine. It’s often described as if there’s energy reverberating from the crown of the head and sometimes feels like there’s pressure on the top of the head. These sensations shouldn’t be concerning or alarming; they’re explained as occurring due to one’s crown chakra opening itself to divine energy.
Changes in Weight
Despite the nationwide obesity epidemic, the approach of a spiritual awakening is commonly marked by weight gain. Increases in weight occur as a result of suppressed fears to which the body builds a defense by storing and adding mass. As the fears are confronted and integrated rather than suppressed, the body will begin to release the weight that was accrued.
Amplification of the Senses
When experiencing a spiritual awakening, individuals might experience any number of amplifications of the senses. Some have reported blurred vision or seeing auras and glittery particles around people while others have reported a decrease or increase in hearing, improved a sense of taste or smell, and marked an increase in sensitivity to touch. This amplification of the senses should not be cause for fear. If it becomes uncomfortable, meditation and prayer can help to alleviate the discomfort while the body adjusts to this increased sensitivity.
Abrupt and Unprovoked Emotions
Those experiencing a spiritual awakening have often experienced abrupt shifts in the emotional state. This can take the form of sudden bouts of near-manic happiness, sudden and unprovoked crying spells, or sporadic and inexplicable anger. It’s often been described as an emotional rollercoaster. As inconvenient or jarring as these emotional shifts might be, there’s no cause for concern. The best way to handle the unprovoked emotions is to simply let them run their course, which will often result in them fading just as quickly as they came.
Prayer and Meditation Feels Different
Spiritual awakening puts individuals in more constant contact and communication with the spirit or higher power of their understanding and belief. This is the nature of a spiritual awakening, which entails the awakening of one’s spirit so that the individual becomes more receptive to spiritual energies. As a result, prayer and meditation may feel like powerful, intense, or satisfying. However, this only occurs as a result of the more direct connection with spiritual energies on a consistent basis rather than only during times of prayer and meditation.
Vivid, Realistic and Lucid Dreams
After one experiences a spiritual awakening, he or she will often notice changes in dreams. Particularly, dreams become exceedingly realistic to the point of individuals becoming unsure if they’re asleep or awake when experiencing dreams. This often results in individuals waking up confused. What’s more, spiritual awakening can sometimes cause individuals to experience lucid dreaming, which occurs when the dreamer is in control of his or her dreams.
Bursts of Creativity and Innovation
It’s common for individuals who have experienced a spiritual awaken to becoming increasingly creative. In fact, it’s often reported that individuals who have awakened in a spiritual sense will sometimes experience abrupt, brief periods during which they receive innovative ideas, receive innovative images, experience expanded knowledge and thinking, even receive music ideas that can be almost overwhelming. It’s recommended that these individuals attempt to record or document these bursts of creativity as they might be a spirit’s or higher power’s way of guiding individuals toward fulfillment and self-actualization.
Spiritual awakening can be an intense and even confusing time, but despite the occasional discomfort or the fear of such foreign thoughts and feelings, it should be considered a privilege to be so enlightened and receptive to powerful spiritual energies. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and hope to achieve spiritual awakening in sobriety, the Palm Beach Institute can help. Our recovery specialists have helped countless individuals to forge a path from dependency to health, sobriety, and fulfillment. Don’t wait—call us today.