Are religious/spiritual elements necessary in recovering from addictions? - VeggieBoards
View Poll Results: Do you think spirituality is inseparable from addiction treatment programs?
Yes 3 7.32%
No 38 92.68%
Undecided 0 0%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 Old 08-16-2010, 02:36 AM
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A Winnipeg man who has struggled with alcoholism for decades says he has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission over the lack of a treatment program that's free of religious or spiritual elements.

. . . He said he was encouraged by the AFM to find strength in God or a higher power in order to recover, but couldn't stomach it and was asked to leave.

. . . However, officials at the AFM remain resolute that recovery relies on at least some element of spiritual — but not necessarily religious — belief. The AFM is not affiliated with any organized faith.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/st...#ixzz0wl9AyiPW

Please read the article and/or video first.

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#2 Old 08-16-2010, 03:05 AM
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http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-r...thout-religion
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#3 Old 08-16-2010, 03:26 AM
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No, the strength of ones own tenacity, guts and/or those corporeal things that he/she treasures in life can be enough to overcome addiction.

Also, admitting that you have a problem.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#4 Old 08-16-2010, 03:55 AM
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I found the article was really vague on what was meant by "spiritual" elements. I definitely don't think religion or religious beliefs are necessary in overcoming addiction, but without knowing what kind of spiritual practices they're talking about it's hard to say whether they are necessary.
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#5 Old 08-16-2010, 04:25 AM
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No, they are not. Why would they be?

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#6 Old 08-16-2010, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

No, they are not. Why would they be?

Bingo. This poll question is a question of fact [the mere existence of one atheist who overcame addiction would factually answer the question] but it's phrased as if the issue were one of opinion.
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#7 Old 08-16-2010, 04:52 AM
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#8 Old 08-16-2010, 04:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthling View Post

I found the article was really vague on what was meant by "spiritual" elements. I definitely don't think religion or religious beliefs are necessary in overcoming addiction, but without knowing what kind of spiritual practices they're talking about it's hard to say whether they are necessary.

+1.

I know of alcohol treatment programmes where spirituality is not discussed but I know some of them encourage spiritual or religious growth as a way of fighting an addiction. I think it is because your life can seem empty without your drug of choice and joining a religious or spiritual group can provide an activity for you.
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#9 Old 08-16-2010, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bonn1997 View Post

Bingo. This poll question is a question of fact [the mere existence of one atheist who overcame addiction would factually answer the question] but it's phrased as if the issue were one of opinion.

A more interesting question is perhaps why and to which extent spirituality-based and non-spirituality-based programs are successful.

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#10 Old 08-16-2010, 05:44 AM
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I don't think it's necessary to believe in a deity or supreme being in order to recover from an addiction, and here in the US there are rehab programs available to non-Christians, atheists and other non-believers.

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#11 Old 08-16-2010, 12:16 PM
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I think spirituality is a part of all aspects of life. Whether we choose to believe in God, money, pure logic, toaster strudels, or nothing, it's a value-judgement on our part. Free will and choice is a function of spirituality. Everybody makes choices. Even the guy in the article who's complaining says, "I have my own beliefs and I'm happy with them." It's sort of like the number, zero: it represents nothing, but it's a part of mathematics, anyway. It takes faith, to believe in nothing. That's spirituality.

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#12 Old 08-16-2010, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

I think spirituality is a part of all aspects of life. Whether we choose to believe in God, money, pure logic, toaster strudels, or nothing, it's a value-judgement on our part. Free will and choice is a function of spirituality. Everybody makes choices. Even the guy in the article who's complaining says, "I have my own beliefs and I'm happy with them." It's sort of like the number, zero: it represents nothing, but it's a part of mathematics, anyway. It takes faith, to believe in nothing. That's spirituality.

I think my head just exploded a bit.

Also, I'm an atheist who has overcome a few addictions without belief in a higher power. It's very possible.

"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" - Edgars Mission
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#13 Old 08-16-2010, 01:36 PM
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Wow! That's disgusting. I'm angry about this. Probably, I'm considered pretty religious but this is absolute discrimination. If anything the starting point for programs needs to be that everyone is welcome. Genuinely welcome, which means not getting into spirituality, religion or other belief systems which require membership. Religions or belief systems can get their own funding for programming which is religious or spiritual in nature.

And this is publicly funded. HELLO!!!
I find it strange people who say they are secular will often support this, and I am not secular and I do not support this. In fact even when I refer people who need food or other necessities to mosques, I prescreen the mosque first to ensure they won't preach in exchange. That's just not right. I then "check in" on them after the fact.

Here is the problem I see with the mantra "find strength in God or a higher power in order to recover". This effectively puts the person who is trying to recover from something addictive in a position of "proving" they have done what they need to do in order to succeed. I'm not sure if I can explain my view right (because I'm livid and anger is distracting) but I'll try.

If "belief" in spirituality is a requirement, then if you do not stay sober, it can be blamed on your lack of "faith" so to speak, rather than in the fact they are not providing helpful services. Not to say they must guarantee, but if the focus is essentially religious and that person is not a club-member, it's barricading him from the helpful tools he needs. Religion must be a choice, not imposed.

This article helps me understand some people I've known in my work that have gone to these programs and can't get out of their addictions. Sometimes I would ask them what they were taught, and could not understand how it was helpful, then see they faulter, but this article shows the tip of the iceberg of the problem. They may be focusing on false or distracting beliefs or concepts which keeps them from action on their goals.

I really hope he wins and better programs are created.

This is like the nonsense they wanted to bring back to school children in "public" schools to say a prayer, any prayer, no way, I don't care, that excludes children, some of whom were raised with no religious affiliation or some who have decided on their own to have no affiliation.

When society tells people they "must" believe in God for success they are actually demonizing or belittling those who don't. "So religious/spiritual" of them. hrrumphf

Religions place is one of choice not to trick someone into thinking they did not do well enough because they lack faith.
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#14 Old 08-19-2010, 11:52 AM
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I voted no because I don't agree with people who want to relate everything to God, I mean, I believe in God and I think he's in everything beautiful, but not everything. For example: I think God is there when you want to make a baby with your beloved one but I don't think God's there when you're having oral sex just to have a good time with your beloved one. I mean, no. So I definitely not think spirituality is necessary for addictions treatments; it can be a great aid (if you want to embrace it) but not a necessity.

As I say, I live and let live, I have a very special relation to God but I won't judge anyone for not having it, as long as that lack of spirituality don't hurt anyone else

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#15 Old 08-19-2010, 12:28 PM
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I am a lifeskills counsellor and have worked with individuals with addictions for a number of years. Although spirituality can help some individuals, I am extremly wary of religious programs and services as they tend to move clients away from their own power and deflect it onto 'God.'

Example: Billy is a heroin user. He was a foster child and was subjected to neglect and feelings of alienation. He left his small town to make it in the big city, but failed at his job. He started to hang out with another employee who was also laid off, and they frequented parties and met dealers. He eventually became addicted to heroin to the point where he stole for his habit, burned bridges, and got a criminal record.

If Billy was in a God-Centred program he would be subjected to the following:

"Give up the disease to God!"
"GOD gives you the power!"
etc....etc....

The nature of addiction is to deny personal responsibility and not recognize your own power to recover, and thus, the above thinking does not assist an addict. Having worked with hundreds of people, I have yet to see successes come out of the doors of the 'missions' in my local area. In fact, many of my clients laugh because the only 'payment' they have to give for food there is to pray, and they really don't give a ****, they are just hungry and know what they need to do.

However, when someone says the following, and truly believes it, more can occur:

I have the ability to conquer this addiction and I need to make peace with the past. I need to develop a support network (doctors, advocates, and re-stablish family ties) so that I can move forward from the past. I CAN do this.

The difference here is one of personal responsibility. In addition, I have recently informed the local mental health unit and doctors of church-run services encouraging people to give up their meds uin favour of prayer. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen prayer alone assist a schizophrenic.

Spirituality can help....but it's by no means a cure. IMO these faith based programs should be required by law to have QUALIFIED professionals working with these populations, instead of a guy with a theology degree (if that).
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#16 Old 08-19-2010, 12:30 PM
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I think my head just exploded a bit.

Also, I'm an atheist who has overcome a few addictions without belief in a higher power. It's very possible.

Congrats, you have saved yourself a lot of time and praying
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#17 Old 08-19-2010, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Alicia Avocado View Post

However, when someone says the following, and truly believes it, more can occur:

I have the ability to conquer this addiction and I need to make peace with the past. I need to develop a support network (doctors, advocates, and re-stablish family ties) so that I can move forward from the past. I CAN do this.

The difference here is one of personal responsibility.

I have been on the "anon" side of an AA type 12-step program for several months. In my experience, the above is indeed a huge part of the program and you are completely correct in stating that taking personal responsibility is critical!

I think one of the problems is that addicts tend to lose focus on the fact that the required spiritual work is really only in about 4 of the 12 steps. The other steps include taking personal inventory, admitting faults, taking responsibility for hurting other people, making amends and commiting to social service. You can't just expect the "God of your understanding" to do all the work!!

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#18 Old 08-21-2010, 11:32 AM
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My mom's best friend is very non-spiritual, and he's a recovered alcoholic.

ÂIf man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.  Mark Twain
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#19 Old 08-21-2010, 11:35 AM
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I think it's sad when people use religion for a crutch because they're not strong enough to do things on their own.

/unpopular opinion.

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#20 Old 08-21-2010, 04:45 PM
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I had to vote undecided. Because what will work for one person from recovering might not help another.
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#21 Old 08-21-2010, 04:51 PM
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As I understand it, there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that that faith-based recovery programs (such as AA) are any more successful than any other method. Publically funded options should not discriminate based on religious belief or lack thereof.

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. -Confucius
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#22 Old 08-22-2010, 09:56 PM
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A lot of groups, Native Americans for example, would go to AA only to return to alcoholism because AA is Christian based yet they have traditional native beliefs.

“May all sentient beings be free of pain and suffering.  May all sentient beings experience eternal joy and happiness.  gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.”
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