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The Role Of Faith In Addiction Recovery

Mar 10, 2008
There is no doubt that believing in something greater than ourselves will lead a person to be more humble and at peace. Faith is never a negative thing, yet the following question remains to be answered. Should Faith alone be the determining means to whether an addict controls the addiction or can other means be used to help the addict take control of his or her life and prevail over the addiction?

The Roots of Faith Based Addiction Recovery

Everyone has heard of A.A. and 12 Step Programs and Support Groups, yet as influential as these groups have been in injecting faith into addiction recovery, the roots of faith based addiction recovery reach much farther back. It is well known that Bill Wilson, the creator and theologian of A.A. and 12 Steps, was originally inspired by the Oxford Groups, a controversial 20th Century Christian Revivalist movement spearheaded by Frank Buchman, but faith based addiction recovery probably reaches farther back into the 1800's.

In the 18th , 19th , and early 20th Centuries there were what historians have classified as six Christian revivals. The 19th Century alone became a century of Christian Evangelical revival and awakening. In the midst of Christian revivalism in the 1800's an off shoot of sorts took hold, impacting the thought of American Christianity. Christian Science, formed by Mary Baker Eddy, espoused healing through religious devotion and connection to the divine. Her work won accolades from the century's Christian thinkers and formed the basis of many Evangelical and revivalist movements of the 20th Century. It is no doubt that Bill Wilson not only was heavily inspired by ideas of Buchman, but came forth with the kernels of A.A. after a long period of revivalist movements, in which Eddy found her voice. This voice, one which espouses health and spirituality no doubt had a heavy influence on the premier faith based addiction recovery program of the 20th Century: A.A.

Spiritual Salvation = Addiction Recovery?

The deeper question of whether spirituality alone can bring the addict out from the grips of addiction depends more on what it's "root-cause" is. A.A. and 12 Step Program supporters believe that the "root-cause" of any type of addiction is a result of a lack of connection and submission to God., thus giving a space for the addiction or "Satan" to take root. On the other hand, current medical research suggests some revolutionary findings in terms of what the true "root-cause" may actually be. Researches have noted that current findings indicate that addiction may well be rooted in "bio-chemical"deficiencies, often times influenced by genetics. If this is the case then it stands that targeted nutritional changes may prove to be much more effective in taking someone away from addiction.

Two Paths That Are Really One

Despite the seemingly great divide between these two paths both are reconcilable and can work in tandem. There is no doubt that genetics and biochemical deficiencies are merely factors that may cause one to have a predisposition to addiction. It is true that one can live their entire life without developing an addiction and yet be genetically predisposed to it. Other circumstances may or may not activate these factors. Such circumstances include psychological trauma and/or a spiritual vacancy. It is obvious there is no magic pill to end an addiction. It is important to note that dealing with one's medical deficiencies doesn't necessarily negate the need for a "spiritual awakening" to fill the void most addicts say they feel.

This joining of these two once divergent paths can be explained by using the metaphor of a cup. It is important to build a strong container or cup in order to develop a vessel that can hold the liquid one chooses to put in it, but after all a cup without any liquid in it has yet to fulfill it's purpose. In this example, the cup is the body, which needs to have it's certain deficiencies addressed and the liquid is the realm of the spiritual and metaphysical, which needs to have a healthy body in order to become fully expressed. It is only by intertwining both the physical and spiritual that the addict can be pulled out of the depths of addiction and find inner meaning and joy in their lives.
About the Author
David Mark writes for numerous websites dealing with information that is helpful to humanity. Learn more about Faith Based Addiction Recovery.
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