Relapse Prevention Tools
Prayers & Mantras to Bolster Recovery

Addiction recovery is a unique and personalized process, and the recovery tools that work well for you might not work as well for someone else. Part of the fun of recovery is exploring what bolsters your sobriety and adds meaning to your life. You might find a daily yoga practice does wonders for your spiritual health, or carving out an hour every week to volunteer at a local homeless shelter helps you keep things in perspective while fostering a deep sense of gratitude. For many people, engaging in prayer or reciting a mantra on a daily basis is an important part of the recovery process.

Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American author and alternative medicine advocate said, “What you give attention to grows. If your attention is attracted to negative situations and emotions, then they will grow in your awareness.” On the other hand, if you focus your attention on the positive — on your personal recovery goals — then you are giving power to continued self-betterment. Choosing a prayer that resonates with you or developing a personal recovery mantra and reciting this prayer or mantra on a daily basis can vastly improve your overall quality of life while helping you keep your focus and attention on personal growth.

At Guardian Recovery Network, utilizing prayers and mantras for addiction recovery is just one of the many techniques we teach our clients while they are actively engaged in treatment. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of recovery-related prayers or mantras, or if you would like to learn more about our addiction recovery program as a whole, contact us today.

What are Prayers & Mantras?

There is a clear distinction to be made between prayers and mantras. When compared, prayers tend to have a more religious connotation while mantras have a more spiritual connotation. However, you do not have to be religious to recite a prayer, and you do not have to have deep spiritual roots in order to develop a personalized mantra. If you are at all familiar with the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, you know what a prevalent part of the program prayer can be. Most meetings open and close with the Serenity Prayer, and some meetings incorporate other prayers which are featured throughout the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Prayer is also featured in the 11th Step of AA, which reads, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” If prayer is not really your thing, not to worry — it is entirely possible to get and stay sober without putting too much of an emphasis on prayer. However, it is a good idea to have some practice in place, which is where the development of a mantra might come into play.

What is a Prayer

Prayer is considered a deliberate communication with a higher power of your understanding. When you pray, you are essentially speaking directly to God (or whatever your personal higher power might be). There are many different types of prayer, and the way you choose to pray will be heavily dependent on what resonates with you. Some people get on their knees every morning and thank their higher power for keeping them sober, communicating their current desires and outlining their objectives for the day. Other people might pray while stuck in traffic, saying, “Please help me stay level-headed and refrain from flipping the bird.” There is no right way to pray — and there is no wrong way to pray. Many people who enter into a program of recovery have no personal background with prayer, and develop their own practice over time.

What is a Mantra

A mantra is a repeated word, sound or phrase, typically utilized to aid in the practice of meditation. Mantras have origins in Buddhism and Hinduism, and in this context are sounds or vibrations used to help focus the mind and deepen meditative practice. Mantras can be thought of as a tool used to energize an intention — when you focus your attention on one specific thought, you give this thought power and it ultimately grows. When you utilize a mantra in addiction recovery, you might choose a mantra that resonates with what you want to focus on or gain in the immediate future. “I am worthy of recovery,” could be a mantra you repeat to yourself over and over throughout the day. “I am confident in my sobriety,” could be another, or even, “I am happy.”

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Benefits of Prayers & Mantras for Addiction Recovery

Both prayers and mantras can serve as important spiritual tools when it comes to the maintenance of sobriety. What are the distinct benefits of reciting a prayer or a mantra on a regular basis?

The Power of Positive Thought

The power of positive thought has been studied for decades; focusing your attention on the positive is a scientifically proven mood booster. If you wake up in the morning and immediately shift to a place of gratitude, you are setting the stage for a positive and productive day. If you wake up and recite a mantra like, “Today is going to be a good day,” you are training yourself to change your perspective, and soon feeling grateful and optimistic will become second nature. On the flip side of the same coin, if you wake up in the morning and immediately think, “Oh boy, here we go again,” you are subconsciously dictating how the remainder of your day will go. Focus on the good and develop a practice which reinforces positivity in recovery.

Building a Relationship with a Higher Power

Developing a spiritual connection is important to the overall recovery process; however, this also happens to be a major hurdle for many people who are new to addiction recovery. Many people mistakenly believe that a higher power is a religious concept, and if a person has any pre-existing aversion to religion this resistance might mean the difference between continued sobriety and relapse. If you practice prayer, even if you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you recite a mantra, you are actively building a relationship with a higher power. It might feel strange or forced at first, but over time you will settle into a practice which makes sense for you.

Building Structure & Routine

If you begin every day with a prayer or with the development of a personalized mantra, you are actively building structure and routine for your daily life. You might choose to pray first thing in the morning, right when you roll out of bed. You might spend 15 minutes journaling or reading the Daily Reflection, and develop a daily mantra based on what seems to stand out. Starting off your day with a positive and self-serving routine will help set the stage for the remainder of the day. Again, building a routine is all about trial and error at first. Over time, you will settle into a structured routine that feels right to you.

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Prayers for Addiction Recovery

We have included several prayers for addiction recovery below as an example, but there are countless others to choose from. Find a prayer that resonates with you.

Prayers and mantras for addiction recovery and other recovery tools

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

The Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee …
to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help
of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against
us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

The Eleventh Step Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, that to be comforted. To Understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen.

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Mantras for Addiction Recovery

A mantra can be a phrase you say to yourself, an addiction recovery slogan, or a single word you repeat to yourself on a regular basis. Beneficial mantras for addiction recovery include:

  • I am worthy of recovery.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • I am in control of my own life.
  • I choose to be sober today.
  • I choose to be happy today.
  • I am right where I am supposed to be.
  • I am not alone.
  • I am stronger than my addiction.
  • I can and I will.
  • I am strong and capable.
  • I like the person I am becoming.
  • I am on the right path.

If none of these mantras resonate with you, we encourage you to develop your own. You can choose a mantra at the beginning of the week or choose a new mantra every day. Make your personal practice your own, and experiment as much as you want to. Your spiritual journey can be as fun as you make it!

Additional Tools to Maintain Sobriety

Prayers and mantras are a beneficial component of any spiritual toolkit. However, in order to stay sober long-term it is a good idea to be equipped and ready with several other tools. At Guardian Recovery Network we teach our clients a range of effective techniques and various ways to bolster their recovery. In addition to prayers and mantras, we teach our clients to quiet their minds, focus their attention and expand their spiritual connection through:

  • MindfulnessMindfulness refers to the ability to stay grounded in the present moment. We teach a variety of mindfulness techniques, geared towards alleviating anxiety and depression and helping clients stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Meditation – Prayer and meditation go hand-in-hand — prayer is the practice of speaking to a higher power and meditation is the practice of listening. We teach our clients a range of meditative techniques, including mindfulness meditation.
  • Developing a Yoga Practice – We offer yoga therapy as part of our comprehensive addiction recovery program, and many of our clients choose to continue with a yoga practice once treatment concludes. Yoga teaches mindfulness and mind-body connection, and fosters spiritual growth.
  • Affirmations – An affirmation is similar to a mantra. Affirmations involve positive thinking and self-empowerment, and are often utilized to help overcome self-defeating thought patterns. For example, say you struggle with the misguided belief that you are not worthy of addiction recovery. An appropriate affirmation might be, “I am deserving.”
  • Journaling – Writing in a journal on a daily basis not only helps build a structured routine, but it fosters self-reflection and introspection. This is a great technique for working through uncomfortable emotions and delving deeper into personal challenges. We encourage our clients to keep a journal during and after treatment.
  • Engaging in Self-Care – Taking care of your mental and emotional needs is a great way to work toward spiritual fitness. Pay attention to what it is you need to feel happy and whole. Are you overworked? Do you need a break? Would you benefit from speaking with a therapist or carving an hour out of your day for yoga and meditation? Self-care is a crucial component of the addiction recovery process.
  • Creative Work – Engaging in certain creative practices like art therapy, making a vision board or simply painting a picture can help you on your personal spiritual journey. Tapping into your creative side might help you process feelings and emotions you cannot easily put into words.

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    Guardian Recovery Network provides a licensed, individualized and integrated recovery program to people of all ages who have been struggling with addictive disorders of all types and severities. We offer a personalized curriculum of clinical care, designed to help our clients make a smooth and seamless transition from medical detox into the next appropriate stage of their personal journey of addiction recovery. In addition to medical detox services we provide residential rehab, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment and personalized aftercare planning. We understand how difficult it might seem to choose the best drug and alcohol rehab for your unique personal needs or for the needs of your loved one. Fortunately, we are available to help make the decision easier. The moment you contact us, either directly through our website or over the phone, you are put in touch with one of our experienced and compassionate Treatment Advisors. They ask a short series of questions, ultimately helping you determine which level of care is the most appropriate for your unique case. If we believe our program is a good fit we conduct a free, no obligation insurance benefit check and facilitate local travel to one of our recovery centers. Contact us today to begin.

    Reviewed for accuracy by our National Director Of Clinical Services:

    Tommy McGee
    LMHC, CAP


    Tommy has more than 16 years of experience in the mental health and addictions field working in supportive, clinical and administrative roles. He has experience working with clients from various ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. He has worked with clients with co-occurring disorders, both adult and adolescent persons, Native American groups, and in programs with a focus on treating clients of ultra high net worth.

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