Is Religious Faith Necessary And Helpful In Recovery?

Is Religious Faith Necessary And Helpful In Recovery?

Praying during support group meetings

Numerous famous alcohol recovery programs, including the most known one Ė AA Ė utilize religious faith as a tool for the transformation of the former addict into a person who can cope with the harsh realities of life without booze. However, when my friends and family urged me to go into rehab, I had one condition: the program I would subject myself to would be a secular one, where every patient had a say about whether or not religion has to be part of the recovery process.

I am ready to admit that I was and still am a bit biased about the subject, but in my view, praying to the deity of a religion that is arbitrary chosen based your geographical location and the nationality of your parents canít really be all that helpful for all cases Let me elaborate.

Why I Donít Think Religion is for Everyone

A few years ago, I wasnít really the drunk in my friend group. In fact, I would constantly be laughed at for always leaving the bar hopping session first. A fellow named Dan had the greatest reputation of stomaching copious amounts of beer, vodka, and whiskey. Naturally he would pass out and get carried to a taxi by three other guys (Dan was a bit on the large side).

Dan eventually lost his job and his wife due to his binge drinking so, in a moment of clarity, he decided to seek help. None of us saw him for years. It was like he vanished from the face of the Earth, until I accidentally bumped into him at the supermarket.

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A New Dan

The Dan I used to know and even think about as a friend was gone, he had become unrecognizable. It took me a good minute to realize who just greeted me so warmly. Dressed in plain black, with several Ė Iím not kidding Ė crosses hanging around his neck and another cross on his bracelet, Dan began to tell me how he had traded in the bottle for the Bible. He told me about the AA, his newfound faith in the Lord, and how he managed to remain sober for five years. I was just about to make up an excuse to leave when he cordially invited me to have dinner with him and his new wife. I accepted.

The Dinner ďPartyĒ

During the drive, we had to listen to a local religious radio station that was blasting out sermons interrupted only by brief pieces of advice on how the church thinks we should conduct ourselves. When I walked through the front door of Danís home, a potent smell of incense nearly knocked me off my feet. The house was almost entirely decorated with religious statuettes, crosses hanging in every entryway and myriads of posters with saints. Iíve personally seen churches with subtler decors. In regards to the dinner conversation, Iíll just leave it to your imagination. Itís safe to say that from that point on I started shopping at a different market.

Religion and Addictiveness

Iím not by any means suggesting that religion is a negative influence. Everyone should be allowed to practise their faith and abide the rules set by it. For some of us, prayer could constitute a source of strength in the tough moments that await post rehab. On the other hand, itís important to be aware that addictive personalities are susceptible to trading in one dependency for another, like what happened to Dan. Remember, religion is a tool for self improvement, donít let it turn into a lifestyle that you have to oblige to.

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