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Spiritual Steps to Recovery
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director,
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox and Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

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Spiritual Steps to Recovery
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counseling CEUs and Specialty Certificates
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

– Define spirituality
– Explore why the following spiritual principles are important to recovery and how to develop them
– Honesty
– Hope
– Faith
– Courage and Willingness
– Discipline
Define Spirituality
– Spirituality can be thought of as:
– Spontaneous joy and wonder and a sense of fascination, mystery, awe and delight at the universe.
– Recognition of connectedness between all things.
– Honesty builds trust
– Dishonesty with self causes many people to
– Deny or ignore their own needs, wants and feelings
– Stop trusting their instincts
– Dishonesty with others creates relationships based on false principles and destroys trust.
– To please self
– To please others
– Activity:
– How does dishonesty affect you, your relationships and your environment-
– How does honesty affect you, your relationships and your environment-

Honesty With Yourself
– Get honest about what you need want and feel through mindfulness
– Activity: Keep track of these things 3 times a day for a week
– What did you learn about yourself-
– What do you need to start doing differently to meet your needs-
– Get honest about the reasons you are not honest
– Activity: Think of 3 times you were not honest with yourself and 3 times you were not honest with someone else
– Why were you dishonest-
– What past experiences made you think dishonesty was a better choice-
Honesty With Yourself
– Eliminate excuses
– Justifying your own behaviors
– To yourself often avoids addressing the real issue
– To others to elicit sympathy often also leads to a loss of respect and still avoids addressing the real issue
– Justifying other’s behaviors
– To yourself may minimize feelings of anger or anxiety but may cause you to miss signs of an unhealthy relationship
Honesty With Yourself
– Eliminate excuses
– Activity
– Be mindful for a week of how often you make excuses
– Why did you do it-
– What would have happened if you were honest-
– Is this based on facts or feelings-
– How likely is this-
– Is this prediction based on the present or past experiences with others-
– How can you deal with rejection or someone getting mad if it happens-

– Deal effectively with conflict
– Avoidance of conflict can lead to ignoring your feelings and needs
– Why do you avoid conflict-
– Do you avoid conflict only with certain people-
– What needs to change so you can effectively deal with conflict-
– What would it look like to successfully resolve a conflict
– Mentally rehearse this prior to the situation.
– Deal effectively with conflict
– Ineffectively dealing with conflict can take the form of:
– Seeing only how you are right
– Seeing only how the other person is wrong (ignoring their perspectives and feelings)
– Activity
– Think about situations in your life in which there is conflict.
– What are your feelings and needs in the situation-
– In what ways are you right-
– What might the other person’s perspective be-
– In what ways is the other person right-
– How can you create a win-win-
– Develop Self-Esteem
– Many times fear of rejection or someone getting mad at you will keep you from being honest.
– You: “It really disappointed me when you broke your promise.”
– Fear of rejection—If I tell her this she will think I am being stupid or get mad at me.
– Activity
– Think about 3 times when you were not honest with someone for fear of rejection.
– How likely is it that they would have rejected you-
– How did it affect your relationship because you failed to address it-
– How did it affect you and your self-esteem because you didn’t address it-
– Develop Self-Esteem
– A powerful internal critic may also keep you from being honest with yourself about your needs.
– You: “I really need to take a break.”
– Internal Critic: “You are so lazy.”
– Fear of rejection: I am not lovable if I take a break
– Identify your strengths
– Stop trying to control the uncontrollable
– Activity: Identify 3 things that caused you distress in the last week.
– What parts were within your control-
– What did you do well-
– What could you have done differently-
– What parts were out of your control-
– How can you accept that-
– Be mindful of yourself and your intentions
– Give yourself permission
– To have needs and wants
– To make mistakes
– Make a commitment to honesty, even when it is hard (Explore the benefits of honesty)
– Think before you speak
– Consider the long-term consequences
– Make your actions match your words
– Be consistent
– Be open to feedback
– Honesty about what you need may change if the information changes
– I need to stay in this relationship or I will be alone forever.

Hope and Faith
– Hope is the belief that things can (and will) get better.
– The more strongly we believe in positive possibilities, the more hope there is
– Lack of hope leads to lack of motivation. “What’s the point-”
– Faith is the belief that:
– If you do the right thing your hopes will be realized
– Other people will do the right thing

– Conduct a hope audit of your life.
– What do you have to be grateful for in your health, work, relationships-
– What have you done that has made a positive difference-
– Identify 3 people who have encountered similar situations and it has worked out well.
– Spend 20 minutes identifying all of the things you are currently hoping for.
– Rank them in order of importance
– Identify what you need to do to make them happen (if anything)

– If worry is anxiety about what hasn’t happened yet, Hope is a belief that positive things will happen.
– Think about three things that caused you anxiety over the past week
– Instead of saying “I am worried that…” say “I hope that…”
– How does that change your stress levels- Your outlook-
– Practice mindfulness by identifying 3 positive things that happened each day

– Identify things you feel discouraged or hopeless about.
– What is the ideal resolution to the situation-
– Relationships: Get along all the time and be completely in love
– Opiates: Nobody is addicted to opiates anymore
– Animals: All healthy animals have loving homes
– What is a smaller, more manageable goal-
– Relationships: Get along most days and have positive feelings
– Opiates: Everyone who contacts me wanting help gets it, and the epidemic is slowed.
– Animals: Save as many animals as I can and reduce overpopulation
– Things you feel hopeless about…
– What can you do to impact the situation-
– Relationships: Be more mindful of myself, communicate effectively and honestly, make an effort to use his love language
– Opiates: Make myself available in the community and on social networks to people wanting help, provide free, easily accessible prevention education
– Animals: Foster, increase the number of fosters, educate about affordable S/N resources and benefits of adoption, assist in tending feral colonies.
– What parts are out of your control-
– How can you accept that
– Develop a description of what you envision as a rich and meaningful life
– State your goals in realistic terms.
– Identify what you need to do to achieve that…
– This week
– This month
– In the next 6 months
– Monitor progress to see incremental changes & increase hope
– Keep a log each day of your progress
– Compare how you are doing this week with last week
– Remember that a bad day is just that…a day…it doesn’t necessarily mean things aren’t changing.
– Maintaining Hope
– Set and prioritize clear and attainable goals.
– Develop multiple strategies to reach those goals.
– Stay motivated to use the strategies to attain the goals, even when the going gets tough.
– Use failure as a learning experience
– Reflect on times of success
– Find meaning in what you do
– Contribute value to the community
– Invest in positive relationships

– Courage means having the internal strength and belief that you can do things which may not be immediately rewarding or that are threatening/scary.
– Activity
– Reflect on what you have accomplished in the past
– Identify your supports that can help you
– Remind yourself that failure is always a learning opportunity
– Willingness means being willing to actually do them.
– Once you have the goal, the plan and the courage it is a matter of getting started.
– Activity
– What keeps you from getting started on tasks-
– How can you increase your motivation-
Putting it Together
– Get honest with yourself and others about your goals (Needs and wants for rich and meaningful life)
– Develop hope by identifying the steps you can take to achieve your goals
– Increase faith that you will be able to achieve your goals by reflecting on prior successes and getting feedback on your plan.
– Muster the courage and willingness to get started
– Regularly reflect on your actions and your progress to maintain hope and motivation

– Honesty with self helps people
– Be more aware of and effectively meet their needs and wants.
– Identify roadblocks to achieving their goals
– Honesty with others
– Develops healthier relationships
– Enhances trust
– Dishonesty takes many forms including justifying, lying, or simply ignoring.
– Many people who struggle with depression (hopelessness and helplessness) often also struggle with a lack of honesty, hope and faith.