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Using the Five Pathways to Nature to Make a Spiritual Connection in Early Recovery from SUD: a Pilot Study

Abstract

Spirituality is a broad concept and open to different perspectives. It is associated with a sense of connection to something larger than oneself and a search for life’s meaning. Many people find this meaning through a connection with nature, but less is known about how to create a connection for those who are actively seeking one. Individuals in early recovery from addiction are encouraged to engage in 12 Step programmes (TSPs). However, the spiritual nature of the programme with references to the word “god” can serve as a deterrent. Nature connectedness through the five pathways provides a potential opportunity to introduce the concept of a higher power (HP) through a connection with nature. In this pilot mixed-methods study, a group of participants (n=12) in outpatient treatment for SUD were exposed to the five pathways and compared to a control group. Semi-structured interviews were conducted following the initial intervention. Drawing upon nature as a higher power through the pathways led to significant increases in nature connectedness, well-being, quality of life, and spirituality compared to a control group. The pilot study indicates that nature through the five pathways to nature connectedness provides a potential alternative for a higher power to draw upon within Twelve-Step.

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Correspondence to Christine Rhodes.

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Rhodes, C., Lumber, R. Using the Five Pathways to Nature to Make a Spiritual Connection in Early Recovery from SUD: a Pilot Study. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-021-00565-4

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Keywords

  • Addiction
  • Recovery
  • Spirituality
  • 12 Steps
  • Nature connectedness