In the last few years, addiction research has gone through tremendous change. What we now know through research is that an addiction affects not just the physical body, but also the mind and the spirit. This is why there are now various treatment tools available that are based on the physical, the psychological, the social and the spiritual. As the country’s oldest alcoholism program, Alcoholics Anonymous has always used a 12 Step program that includes spirituality. “It specifically calls for spiritually based actions such as meditation, prayer, conscious contact with a “power greater than ourselves,” and personal searching.”
The Relevance of Spirituality
Some question whether spirituality is still relevant in the world of addiction treatment. A recent study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse has found that the link between spirituality and addiction remains in place. “This report found that God, religion and spirituality are key factors for many individuals in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse and in continuing recovery, yet spirituality and religion are often overlooked as relevant factors in preventing and treating substance abuse and addiction.”
We know that 80% of people in our country believe in God, or in any other form of higher power. We also know that those who frequently attend religious institutions are less likely to engage in risk-taking behavior, including substance abuse. This is particularly true amongst adolescents.
Spirituality and Healing
There are a number of scientific studies that have demonstrated that spirituality is an important tool to help people recover from addiction. This is why so many programs now include spiritual action and reflection. One example has been provided by Project MATCH. “Spiritually focused addiction treatment programs have resulted in up to a 10 percent greater abstinence rates than other forms of treatment.”
Indeed, this is just one of many studies that have demonstrated that there is a strong link between chemical dependency and religious involvement. Although this is an explanation of why there are more and more Christian rehab centers, at New Directions for Women, we do not focus on a single religion. We embrace all forms of spirituality and encourage our residents to use meditation and other practices as tools for their recovery. We have ensured that spirituality is fully incorporated into our physical, social and psychological programs.
The Roots of Spirit Based Treatment
Spirit based treatment for substance abuse goes back as far as the late 18th century in the United States. This is when Native Americans started to use their spiritual methods to help tribal people to discontinue their consumption of alcohol. In the middle of the 1800’s, six people who were alcohol dependent started their own support group called the Washingtonian Society “ON Thursday evening, April 2, 1840, six drinking buddies gathered, as was their daily customs at Chase’s Tavern in Baltimore. A well-known temperance speaker was lecturing that night, and four of them thought it would be a good joke to go and hear him. As they discussed the lecture later that evening, one of them proposed (still not quite seriously) that they form a total abstinence society, and on Sunday, April 5, while strolling and drinking, the six men made a decision ‘to drink no more of the poisonous draft, forever’.”
One of the agreements they made was to always bring one another to their meetings and this was the birth of what we now know as Alcoholics Anonymous. The founding fathers of this movement strongly believed that their methods should be approved by God and used spirituality in their processes. From thereon, therapists started to incorporate theology into recovery and treatment, with some famous pioneers including Courtenay Baylor and Richard Peabody. They created what was known as lay therapy movements, which are still in practice today.
New Directions for Women is a treatment facility located in California that offers help to women of all ages, pregnant women in any trimester, and women with children. Founded in 1977, our courageous and visionary founders asked for the help of Newport Beach Junior League members to fulfill their vision of a tranquil home-like facility that would treat women with dignity and respect. Our caring admissions counselors are available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have on getting help. Reach us by phone at 800-93-WOMEN. We can help. Stay in the loop with New Directions for Women by connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.