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I had the honor and privilege of studying Spiritual Psychology when I was 6 months sober. It was a 2 year Master’s Degree program that catapulted my recovery into full gear. By learning the principles of Spiritual Psychology, I was able to change my thinking and transform my life. Though there are 22 principles of Spiritual Psychology, I have handpicked the 5 fundamental principles that supported me in finding my footing and going all in with my recovery and healing journey.

1. I’m a spiritual being having a human experience.

It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to heal that I actually did. The truth is that I felt unworthy of healing, unworthy of love and unworthy of support for a very long time. I didn’t think I deserved recovery. I thought I was the sum of all my bad choices in life. I truly believed that my poor judgment, unstable emotions and past choices defined who I was on the inside. Therefore, I concluded that I wasn’t worth saving. A deep shame was getting in the way of me allowing the healing process to happen. When I heard, I’m a spiritual being having a human experience, I was freed from mental bondage. I realized that I had thought my truth was in my humanness (or ego) versus knowing my truth comes from my spiritual being (or Authentic Self). This realization started a shift within me. I didn’t have to identify with my ego any longer. It was time to learn to connect and live from my Authentic Self. My awakening had begun.

2. Personal responsibility is the foundational key that opens the door to Freedom.

Once I started to see myself as a spiritual being having a human experience, I was able to take personal responsibility about my current life scene. I stopped finger-pointing, blame-shifting and started to own my part of the current mess that was my life. Recovery became a discovery process for me versus a shaming process. I was so filled with self-judgment that it became important to take a stance of curiosity and compassion so I could lovingly look and make the necessary changes while dropping the judgment, resentments and old story I had become so attached to for self-identification. It was time to write my new story. The one where I was fully capable, living my potential and sharing my unique gifts with the world. The process of responsibility became about owning my reactions and responses and took me deep within to my own thoughts and feelings. I had never learned how to to manage and work with my feelings and thoughts. I was starting to have dominion over my inner experience. As I change within, so did my external reality.

3. Unresolved issues are not bad; they are just part of your spiritual curriculum you are here to complete.

Once I started to feel again and be able to manage the feelings and thoughts that arose within me, I had to do the deeper work to resolve what had led to my destructive behavior in the first place. I took a good hard and honest look at what caused me upset. Anything that causes upset is an unresolved issue. I had tons of them. However, I knew that to have peace of mind I had to look at all the things that disturbed my peace. Needless to say, I had pages worth of self-judgments, resentments and old beliefs that I evaluated. I didn’t run from these things, I didn’t hide from these things, I didn’t avoid these things. I welcomed them graciously knowing that resolving them was the key to inner peace. I asked myself do I want to hold onto this for the rest of my life or do I want to be free? I chose freedom.

4. Judgment is self-condemnation. Self-Forgiveness is redemption; and Compassion, Acceptance, Peace and Joy naturally follow.

I didn’t even know I could live another way. My mind, body and soul had been so connected to despair and suffering. I thought I would live in mental and emotional instability for my entire life. You can image my relief when I learned a self-forgiveness technique that would support me in releasing deep-seated beliefs at the core of my being. Not good enough, undeserving of love and unworthiness plagued me as I bought into these misunderstandings as my truth. I did know that self-judgment was eating away at my spirit, and I had to do something differently. I was so critical of myself, always pushing to be better, to do more so that I could justify valuing myself. Self-judgment is unrelenting while self-forgiveness offers liberation. And the more and more I practiced self-forgiveness, the more my heart opened to receiving compassion, peace and acceptance into my life. Healing happens through applying love. Healing does not happen through self-criticism.

5. Loving, Healing, and Evolving are all the same process.

I committed myself to evolving. I knew I had potential inside of me and my work became uncovering my truth one unresolved issue at a time. I clearly knew that using substances and other destructive behaviors was an indicator that I wasn’t loving myself. As humans, we will always connect more with what feels good to us. I had to diligently redirect my thinking to feeling better about loving, healing and evolving then giving into the resistance, denial and avoidance I received through destructive behaviors.

Everyday I choose loving, healing and evolving. It’s a conscious choice. It’s intentional effort. And there’s nothing more important to me! It’s what’s supported me in learning to love myself, creating an incredible sober relationship with my husband and expressing my voice through my work as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor and Recovery Life Coach. I remain committed, diligent and of service to my Authentic Self while supporting others in doing the same.

Beverly Sartain 1Beverly Sartain got sober in her twenties and understands the challenges of dealing with substance use, mental health and trauma. Beverly’s firm boundaries, commitment to self-love and devotion to self-care are unmatched. Beverly is the go-to support for anyone looking to create an Alternative Recovery Plan (outside of 12 step recovery). For more information please visit Beverly’s website and coaching page Recovery Life Management.