Blog | Drug Abuse

Fighting Drug Addiction with Religion

A great deal of drug addiction treatment research is focused upon different ways to fight off relapse during and after drug rehab.[i] Therapeutic treatments, talk and behavior therapy, support groups, individualized therapy, exercise, meditation, medical treatment are all part of well-rounded, holistic drug treatment programs. Religious focus during treatment can come in the form of a spiritual focus or a guideline for living based on a specific religion. No matter your denominational affiliation or lack thereof, adding a spiritual/religious component to you or your loved one’s drug treatment program can produce positive results.

12 Step Treatment and Religion

12 step treatment programs have as their foundation a recognition for the need of a Higher Power in life.[ii] The second step in the 12 step treatment program aimed at eradicating active drug and alcohol use and addiction speaks for itself: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

12-step groupThis Power is generally defined as God, but many keep it vague. They choose a Higher Power to which they give up control based on any number of things. Some who are raised in Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism opt for God simply because God is powerful in these religions. Others choose the Earth or evoke the Goddess in favor of a more maternal power. Still others have a comical take and assign their Higher Power the name of a favorite childhood super hero or fictional character. The point is not the name but the idea that you are no longer in control of your life; that when you took over control, you ended up “hitting bottom” due to drug addiction. The hope is that your Higher Power wants you to be healthy, happy and emotionally stable. Giving up control to this entity rather than trying to do end your addiction alone is helpful during all stages of recovery.

Drug Addiction Recovery and the Moral Treatment of Self and Others

The religious aspect of 12 steps and traditional treatment generally goes beyond the Higher Power and includes a focus on giving back.[iii] Volunteering your time and energy to help others is advised, as is working your way through the steps so that you can become a sponsor and help someone else work their way through the steps.

The idea is to focus on something beside you. The act of living with a focus on other people’s needs gets you out of your own head and allows you to build self esteem by making choices that are meaningful to others. When you realize that you are valuable to others, you begin to treat yourself and your body more valuably, making you stronger against the temptation of relapse.

Religion and Life after Drug Rehab: A Guideline for Living

One of the benefits of drug rehab is that there are others there who understand your struggles and are there to help you make each and every decision. From what to eat to when you eat it, how to spend your free time, what to focus on during treatment, and how to fight off relapse when you return home, you have a team of people coming alongside you at every step of the journey. When it’s time to go home, however, many feel lost without that same level of guidance. Religious principles and a continued focus on growing in your faith can provide extended support and guidance to help you stay committed to your new life free from the control of drugs and alcohol.

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.


[i] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment Approached for Drug Addiction,” July 2016. Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

[ii] Alcoholics Anonymous. “The Birth of A.A and Its Growth in the U.S. and Canada,” Copyright 2017. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/historical-data-the-birth-of-aa-and-its-growth-in-the-uscanada

[iii] Michael Miller, M.D. FASAM. “The Relevance Twelve-Step Recovery in 21st Century Addiction Medicine,” American Society of Addiction Medicine, February 13, 2015. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.asam.org/magazine/read/article/2015/02/13/the-relevance-of-twelve-step-recovery-in-21st-century-addiction-medicine