How Religion Helps to Fight Alcohol Addiction

In many world countries, alcohol can be purchased in grocery stores, supermarkets, gas stations or even online. The history of alcohol use is very long, and many nations consider wine and beer to be a part of their national tradition. For centuries, drinking alcohol has been nothing more than social activity, the reason for friendly meetings and an essential part of celebrations or gatherings.

Unfortunately, the line between occasional light drinking and uncontrolled consumption is extremely thin. Some alcohol addicts (https://addictionresource.com/alcohol/ find more info here) use these and other social standards as a perfect way to find justification for their heavy use.

Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can be easily spotted, after analyzing how often and how much a person drinks alcohol. Based on the number of symptoms, it can go from mild and moderate to severe range. Over time, the exaggeration in use can create a loop or behavioral pattern where constant preoccupation with alcohol can gradually lead to addiction. In these cases, health and safety are at risk, not only for the users but for their families, co-workers, friends or people around them generally.

In order to help people who have AUD, it’s important to know how alcoholism works.

Any addiction can push a person toward isolation, and attack all aspects of life including emotional, family relationships and carriers. Sudden withdrawal from drinking can produce crises and additional health issues, so it’s of great importance to include experts and institutions into the recovery process and choose the best treatment option. The most recognizable symptoms of AUD are: spending a lot of time drinking, using alcohol in unsafe situations, developing tolerance, being unable to limit the amount of alcohol, feeling strong cravings to drink and more.

For men, unhealthy alcohol use is more than 4 drinks on any day or 14 per week. For women, it’s more than 3 drinks on any day or 7 per week.

Throughout history, alcohol (beer, grape and rise wine mostly) has been used for various religious purposes and had an important role in sacred, ancient ceremonies. For Catholics and Orthodox, wine represents the blood of Jesus while for Judaism, wine is a sanctified and vital part of rituals. Buddhism and Islam completely reject alcohol and blame it for the loss of self-control. Although different religious groups can have different views on alcohol use, they mostly agree on one point. Nearly all religions disapprove of uncontrollable consumption and their teaching against alcohol abuse use cogent words, calling it a sinful, selfish pleasure and morally wrong.

However, it seems that drinking habits can vary, depending on the religion. According to U.S. survey results, published by Pew Research Center, people who attend religious services occasionally or not at all will drink or even binge drinking more often than the ones who do it regularly. The same results also gave an interesting overview of how the number of people who drink alcohol can vary between different subgroups, within the same religious group. Of course, other demographic factors, such as age, education, or gender can affect drinking views and behaviors as well.

People with strong religious beliefs, who struggle with addiction to alcohol, can sometimes be extremely sensitive to the expectations society places on them. The feeling of being unworthy can have a very negative impact on these individuals and push them even deeper into addiction. Thankfully, religious communities, especially the small ones, are usually very good at keeping eye on their members. This way, addicted individuals who are members of these religious groups and have strong faith and connection with their community can search for help before signs of excessive drinking even appear.

Some well-organized religious communities even established small rehabilitation clinics and recovery centers, where they can not only take care of addicts and their families but organize lectures on prevention and aftercare as well. People who run these facilities believe that addictive behavior is often the result of a lack of spirituality which can sometimes create a void in the user’s life. Eventually, in later stages, it can evolve in the sense that battling alcoholism is useless. Many medically-based rehab centers have the same position on reasons for addiction which is an excellent base for treatments, made as a combination of religious approach and traditional recovery program. With professionals leading through this alcohol and spiritual rehab, a faith-based recovery center can help by giving the support and care to those who need treatment for both, body and spirit. This type of rehabilitation program can provide a better chance of full recovery because it strengthens addicts on several different and equally important levels.

Religious practice can, in some cases, protect children and teenagers from drug and alcohol abuse, mainly by reducing risk behaviors. If young people decide to engage themselves in the activities organized by their religious community, the chance that they will embrace healthy behavior and lifestyle is much higher. According to a study published by National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), underage drinking can develop chronic health problems with gastritis, pancreatitis, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, hypertension, anemia, and malnutrition and has proven to have an impact on developments of the brain.

Since we are all different and each case of alcohol addiction is personal and unique, how does faith work for all of them?

Generally, religious beliefs can bring a more optimistic life orientation and aspects of confidence in a higher power as well as trust in oneself and the capacity to achieve change. Believing in ideals and other’s ability to help them to have an alcohol-free life is essential for religious people with AUD and their confidence. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the most world’s widespread faith-based recovery program. Their main purpose is to help people with AUD to remain sober by guiding them through the 12 steps of rehabilitation and help them to grow emotionally and spiritually. Many people, who entered this program, claim that combined with therapy and medication, religion and belief in a higher power provided comfort and guidance and played an important role during their recovery.