How Faith Can Help in Drug Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery

How Faith Can Help in Drug Addiction and Mental Illness Recovery

  • October 13, 2016
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The following guest blog is from Adam Cook of

It is becoming much clearer that addiction to alcohol and drugs often has a mental illness component to it. In fact, it is quite common for alcoholics and addicts to have underlying mental issues, spiritual troubles, personal problems, and psychological concerns that need to be addressed in treatment. That’s why dual diagnosis addiction treatment has become so popular for people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Because people find strength in their faith and religion, treatment programs with a spiritual component are helping countless addicts.

Find a Method of Treatment that Incorporates Spirituality

For many alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous has helped them recover and stay sober. This support group is grounded in faith and operates on the belief that alcoholism is a “disease of body, mind, and soul.” In fact, an A.A. co-founder says individuals who abuse substances “have not only been mentally and physically ill, (they) have been spiritually sick.”

The twelve steps of A.A. are spiritual in nature and include participants believing that “a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” making a decision “to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Other methods of treatment that are faith-based provide religious principles that serve as a foundation for psychological approaches to treatment. For example, faith plays a role in behavior management as people who struggle with alcoholism and drug abuse believe they need to stay clean to avoid sinning. Some treatments focus on the forgiveness that is associated with prayer and repentance, which helps addicts to move forward with recovery and helps their families to move forward with their relationships with their addicted loved ones.

Still other treatments focus a great deal on prayer. They join families together in prayer to help their addicted loved one feel the love and support of family members and God. These support groups and treatments tout prayer as a way to strengthen the spirit and create an intimate relationship with God so that addicts feel healthy and loved enough to turn away from alcohol and drugs and turn to God and prayer.

Understand the Place for Spirituality in Recovery

Many families become frustrated when treatments fail to help their addicted loved ones. Medications and routines may help in the short-term, but faith and spirituality have proven to be long-term solutions for addiction.

Others believe that spirituality and faith provide addicts with a brand new or renewed sense of purpose. Spiritual health helps addicts find a reason to get and remain sober, especially as they develop a relationship with God or the higher power in which they believe.

For many addicts who struggle with mental illness, faith-based treatments are helpful in recovery because they help them discover who they really are. Spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation put people in touch with themselves and their innermost thoughts and feelings and help those who struggle with addiction to follow a personal journey toward mental health and sobriety. Prayer and meditation also help people cope with daily struggles in healthy ways rather than turning to drugs and alcohol. These spiritual practices reduce stress, provide serenity and happiness, and help people become less likely to relapse.

Overcoming alcoholism and drug addiction takes time and proper treatment. For some people, the proper treatment involves faith and spiritual practices that give them a foundation and a purpose. Faith and spiritual practices also help family members of addicts find strength and hope while coping with the effects of addiction.

Image via Pixabay by mleonascimento0

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