Getting Sober: Religious and Spiritual Approach
Addicts need all the help they can get in order to successfully get sober. Many may find the support they need by turning to faith-based groups. These groups often view recovery not as a matter of chemical dependency but as a matter of moral sinfulness. They see substance abuse as a ”vice,” whereas the medical community views it as a matter of brain chemistry and chemical dependency. Recommended treatments from faith-based groups will involve bettering your relationship with Jesus. Not all Christian groups have the same relationship to alcohol, however. Catholics, for instance, often drink wine as part of their celebration of mass. Some branches of Protestant faith, however, often avoid any drink in their celebration the Eucharist or they substitute grape juice.
Most time-tested 12-step recovery groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, reference God frequently in their meetings and philosophy. It’s possible for an atheist or non-Christian to participate in these programs, but it will require some creative thinking. These approaches has been successful in large part because of the way they tackle addiction from a multi-pronged standpoint, as a disorder of mind, body, and soul.
Determine the Cause of Addiction
There are also special faith-based treatment centers that help addicts getting sober and rebuild their relationship with God and with their Christian community. They seek to replace the addictive behaviors with prayer and meditation. Many people who choose this particular recovery approach became addicts because they experiences a loss of faith. If you turn to substance abuse because you have begun to question God’s benevolence in the face of losses you have suffered, then to undo your addiction, you might seek a faith-based approach. However, if your addiction has nothing to do with a loss of faith in God, then this approach may not work for you. Addicts need to be honest with themselves in many ways. Perhaps, the most important element of truth needed for recovery is seeing the underlying issues that led to addiction.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that God will just magically make your addiction go away. As Christians like to say, “God helps those who help themselves”. Or, as Lao Russell wrote, “God will work with you but not for you”. The reality is that if prayer alone could cure someone from addiction, then there would probably be no more addicts. Replacing drugs/alcohol with God may have short-term positive benefits, but it doesn’t address the underlying issues of addictive personality. It just redirects the obsession to a more acceptable subject.
After nearly two decades of drinking and destroying just about every relationship in my life, I decided to get help. I didn’t know what to expect (and in some ways, I still don’t), but getting sober has been the most rewarding, fulfilling decision I’ve ever made. In the years since I entered treatment, secured an AA sponsor, and forged friendships in sobriety that rival all the others in my life, I feel like a completely different person. It’s as if I woke up in another person’s life. I’m a married father of three young children who lives in Columbus, Ohio, along with a bossy cat named Dr. No.
Most of my recovery has been spent writing about my experiences, and I’ve been fortunate to have my work picked up by The Fix, AfterParty Magazine, The Literary Review, and The Live Oak Review, among others. I want to help others find meaningful, lasting sobriety in any way that I can, which is part of the reason I’m so committed to Genius Recovery. More than that, though, I sincerely believe in the vision, aims and purpose of Genius Recovery. I’m as passionate about recovery as I am about discovering levels to my life that I didn’t know existed. After all, addiction recovery is about hope as much as it is about possibility. Through my writing, I hope to guide others to discover what’s possible for them, too.– Paul