Renaissance Ranch

What Role Does Religion Play in Recovery?

Mar 10, 2022

Social media, TV shows, and movies provide “What would you do?” moments in their plots or stories. So, why not ask yourself if you knew a way to help maintain your substance addition recovery, would you do it? Even if the method is not a part of your routine or belief system? If you answered yes to both questions, then here is why you should incorporate religion or spirituality into your sobriety: they work.

Religion and Spirituality

People have turned to their faith for thousands of years. Followers of religion often do so because their faith brings them comfort, hope, and a community of like-minded people. Likewise, those who follow their spirituality find comfort and support in their belief. Yet, to understand religion and spirituality’s impact on substance addiction recovery, you should know the difference between the two.

  • Religion – The religions of the world share common traits. All religions outline or require certain behaviors with doctrinal, social, or denominational components. Regardless of what type of religion you follow, you share a style of worship and belief. For instance, Lutherans, Protestants, and Catholics share the ideas found in the Bible. The availability of options to practice religion can cause you to return to or begin your relationship with a higher power. A healthy connection with a higher power and its traditions can provide comfort to you. It can also give you access to resources to address or protect a person from substance addiction or relapse.
  • Spirituality – Spirituality focuses on the transcendent. This entails asking and addressing questions regarding the meaning of life. Spirituality believes that there’s more to life than what you see or understand. The fundamental value in spirituality is inclusive, universal, and subjective. You can choose how you practice or include your form of spirituality within yourself or your state of religion.
  • Religion and Spirituality – Religion and spirituality can overlap. Both include social, behavioral, existential, cognitive, or rituals specific to the form of spirituality or religion you practice. 

The Power of Religion and Spirituality

Think about how you construct your life. There is a meaning behind your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. When something happens, you find meaning in it. The act of finding meaning in events can affect your psychological wellness. Why? Because when you have a purpose in life, you have consistency. With coherence comes the ability to cope with obstacles or difficulties. 

The roles of religion and spirituality in troublesome times are integral to your mental well-being. Your faith acts as a buffer, mediating the effects of life stressors or unfortunate events. One study reported a link between religion’s impact on teens’ initial level and growth rate of substance use behaviors. Religion provides the following protective qualities:

  • Avoidance of drugs
  • Social support discourages the use of substances
  • Activities that leave little time for substance use
  • Social values include living a drug-free life

Religion, Spirituality, and Substance Addiction or Recovery

Numerous studies have looked at the relationship between religion, spirituality, and substance addiction. The connection between religion or spirituality and lower substance use, as well as your increased perceived quality of life, is vital to maintaining your sobriety. Your perceived quality of life affects how you think about your life and yourself. Religion or spirituality asks you to allow something meaningful to come into your life. A higher power or spiritual belief gives you over to something with purpose.

When Bill W. authored the Twelve Steps, he believed that giving yourself over to a higher power was fundamental in addressing an alcohol use disorder. As science and research increased the understanding of substance addiction, the role of a higher power faded. Yet, some addiction professionals are beginning to embrace religion or spiritual belief in recovery again.

The growing interest in the role of faith in substance addiction treatment is something you can benefit from. Several studies report: 

  • Spirituality is an integral part of maintaining your recovery
  • Successful recovery can increase with involvement in religion

The Provocative Effect of Religion and Spirituality on Recovery

There is a science to the importance of religion or spirituality and recovery. Researchers discovered the correlation between faith and a substance use disorder (SUD). They found that as the number of Americans who identify with a religion decreases, the number of those with SUD increases. The findings are troublesome because millennials are the highest number of those reporting they do not practice religion, as they are also the group with the highest number of people who have a SUD. 

What Works for You

So, after reading this, ask yourself, “What would I do to maintain my sobriety?” Maybe you lost your connection to your faith along the way. Given the correlation between religion or spirituality and maintaining sobriety, would you consider reconnecting? Put aside the science behind recovery and faith, focus on the positive benefits faith can bring. Faith can give you a sense of peace, belonging, and support. There are times when that is precisely what you need.

The increased attention to the positive effects spirituality or religion have on your mind, body, and spirit may pique your interest. Faith is a way to connect with others, create structure, or begin to find answers within and outside of yourself. Spirituality or religion offers you a safe space to reflect and be mindful. Both faith and spirituality can help protect you from the harmful effects of depression or anxiety. Faith-based organizations or social groups provide the network required to support you in your recovery. The activities, values, and friendships they afford you can create a successful recovery. A substance addiction treatment center that incorporates the teachings of spirituality and religion can provide the foundation necessary to maintain your sobriety. Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers includes a 12-Step approach with spiritual or faith-based principles. Our enduring commitment to your treatment and recovery is what makes us confident we can meet your treatment needs. Call us at (801) 308-8898.