Church and addiction:

Spirituality in recovery

From the 12th steps to specific faith programs, its clear that faith based rehabilitation holds a large place in the recovery process. Most of the churches have their own church addiction programs within the church, providing services for their communities while also non affiliated alcohol and addiction treatments have a faith basis.

Love and Spirituality in addictions healing

Within the protestants’ faith, Spirituality is in itself a protective force against substance consumption including alcohol and drugs, and/or addiction. Should anyone fall short of abstinence from alcohol or drugs, the church has programs to help get back on track that are willing to stay for the long term.

Being spiritual and attending church helps especially the youth in staying a way from experimenting with substances as they get a strong community within the church and get engaged in community work that keeps them engaged. Most studies show people who are not affiliated with or who do not attend church regularly are at least five times likely to try drinking or engage in drugs. The detail of the Christian faith is much deeper and well articulated by Gerald May in his book, Addiction and Grace.

Peer Pressure and cost of addiction

Peer pressure cannot be underestimated among the youth, especially when it comes to drug and substance use. The church is cognizant of the social challenges and work to get the peer pressure among the youth to be positive and also deliberate in helping them navigate the pressure to start taking substances at an early age.

Alcohol and addiction treatment is not cheap. It’s also a life term program. These makes the church addiction programs attractive in that they normally have compassion in treatment and in most cases offer treatment for free. The church addiction programs also stay with the recovering person for as long as they need.

Alcoholic Anonymous and similar programs

Alcoholic anonymous is by far the longest and most popular alcohol and addiction treatment program that is faith based. The program has becoming popular worldwide with millions of members taking part. The program does not shy away from referring to the “the higher power” and most of the steps in the program identify or mention God. The meetings begin and ends with prayer and in the country includes Serenity prayer almost as an oath of identity.

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

Other anonymous groups have come come up to support the spouses of the addict, for the youth and also the cocaine anonymous. The latter programs, in attempt to be inclusive of the non-believers have tried to work around the mention of “God” and also to separate religion and spirituality. This is mainly to address those that feel that they came looking to get well and they are being sold to Religion. Like the alcoholic anonymous, I think they are all basing the programs on believe and need for a higher power which the Christians name as God, to addressing a problem that is larger than themselves. See details on the religion and spirituality on cocaine anonymous website.

As would be expected, the people who had a past religious belief benefit and respond better to the Christian addiction treatment programs that those who do not have a past religious background or who do not want anything to do with religion. To address all people in need of recovery, some branches of Alcoholics Anonymous are now wording the 12 steps to be less religious to be more inclusive and welcoming people of all faiths.

The role of the church and addiction cannot be underestimated in our

Photo by Martin Sattler

world today in addressing what really is addiction and its spiritual significance. The traditional psychology does not seem to help in addiction.

If you have any questions or any comment, feel free to leave them below. 

All the best,







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *