religion recovery

Religion and Recovery

In the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups, members are encouraged to find a God (or higher power) of their own understanding, something greater than themselves. This is considered an important part of personal recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism; many alcoholics and addicts struggle with the idea of control and ego, and acknowledging that there is a power greater than them teaches them acceptance and humility.

Many people who first join AA, or NA, or any other 12-step fellowship are either avowed atheists, or have abandoned the religions they were brought up in. The central fact remains that everyone, regardless of his or her religious upbringing, can be afflicted with the disease of addiction. It does not discriminate, whether one is Jewish, or Catholic, or Hindu.

For someone entering into treatment for addiction, it can be an opportune time for figuring out where they stand both spiritually and religiously. Many treatment centers encourage their clients returning to their religious roots or branching out into new religions. Depending on what treatment center you enter into, they may have a chaplain on staff, or take the inpatient clients to Sunday services, or to sober Shabbat dinners. Members of AA or other 12-step programs often take the opportunity to rediscover their original religious beliefs, or to forge a new religious or spiritual identity during their process of recovering from drugs and alcohol.

For those who suffer from drug addiction or alcoholism, but whose faith hasn’t been shaken due to the disease, there are specialized programs and institutions that cater to their particular religious beliefs. So if you are a devout Christian and need a type of treatment that reflects your beliefs, there are treatment centers and programs that specifically cater to your beliefs. If you belong to a religion that has certain dietary restrictions, it is important that you talk to someone who can answer your questions about treatment centers that can accommodate your religious beliefs or practices. Some inpatient programs provide prepared food or have cafeterias for their clients, while other inpatient programs take their clients grocery shopping, have housing that include kitchens, and allow the clients to prepare their own meals. So if you keep Kosher or Halal, you may need a treatment center that allows you to control your diet or provides proper dietary alternatives to the regular fare.

Faith can be such a valuable asset to hold on to regardless of what faith it is, when an addict or alcoholic is going through the tumultuous period of early sobriety. 12-step programs emphasize the idea that addiction and alcoholism is a spiritual malady, that when the addict is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is the be-all and end-all of his or her life, and there is no room for God in that equation. So your faith during the time of recovery is something to be cherish, held on to, and nurtured in these hard times. Faith can be an invaluable tool in the process of recovery from drug addiction or substance abuse, but sometimes that faith needs to be supported by professional help from someone with an understanding of the disease of addiction.

It is highly suggested that you contact a qualified representative with knowledge of specialized programs for Christians or people of other faiths suffering from substance abuse issues, who can help guide to the right form of treatment and is sensitive to your particular needs.