Religion, Addiction, and Sobriety
Religion relates to spirituality, which is embracing a higher power and allowing that power to help us through life’s struggles. Spirituality is something that’s with a person wherever she is, and at all times supports her. Sometimes, religion plays a role in addiction recovery because even religious people can become addicts.
From Futures of Palm Beach:
“There is no race, belief, nor any amount of wealth or knowledge that can prevent a person from becoming dependent on a substance… Religion, however, can play a substantial role in recovery for some people.”
AA: a Faith-Based Organization that Promotes Sobriety
More than one million people are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members. The group attempts to keep its members sober, and the methods they use are based on a solid belief in God.
AA uses a 12-step program, and that program asks participants to recognize that addiction cannot be controlled, and only a higher power can restore sanity. Addicts are asked to call upon God to help them find the strength and will to change, understand, recover, and eventually move forward with their life. AA is for alcoholics, but there are sister groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), that offer support for other types of addictions.
Spirituality and How it Can Help with Sobriety
AA maintains that it’s not a typical religious organization, but rather that it promotes spirituality (however the group member defines their spirituality). AA was founded by a deeply religious man, Dr. Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister. Dr. Buchman didn’t call his group AA, and it wasn’t about treating alcoholism. At its start, the group was about resolving all conflicts in a sinner’s life.
It wasn’t until later that the group’s name was changed to Alcoholics Anonymous, and the group almost immediately began accepting an individual definition of God. The only firmament is that one must believe in a higher power in order to work the program, and become successfully sober.
This spirituality helps with sobriety because it teaches the newly sober to call upon their God for strength, wisdom, insight, and help. In dark moments, addicts can ask God for help and strength. They can ask God to keep them clean and sober, and with God’s divine assistance, they can provide help and assistance to other addicts. A relationship with God helps addicts rebuild their relationships with family members and friends.
Religion gives peace, hope, strength, and comfort, which is why it’s often a fundamental to sobriety. It teaches addicts that everything happens for a reason, and that getting sober is part of God’s plan for them. It can help the addict to learn from his mistakes, and move forward with his life in a positive and beneficial way.
Religions that Provide Addiction Support to their Members
Religion can help a person deal with addictions, but that person must make the conscious choice to embrace their God and work toward sobriety. Christianity provided the foundation for AA, but it’s not required to believe in the Bible to attend meetings. Christianity is the single most popular religion in the US, and according to Futures of Palm Beach, it’s “the majority leader of religiously affiliated treatment programs in America.”
Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism are all very forgiving toward addicts. These religions promote health and kindness, and provide different tools for getting clean and sober. For example, yoga is a part of Hinduism and can be used to build a healthy exercise routine. Unfortunately, the Islamic religion, or Muslim religion, is not so supportive of addicts. In the Middle East, addiction is something to condemn despite the million people or so who are admitted addicts.
If you need help, you don’t have to turn to God, but you can. Religion isn’t a requisite to get better, but it can be very helpful. If you want to learn more, get in touch with an recovery specialist, and inquire about the options available to you.