Narconon Arrowhead, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment center in Oklahoma, has added bible study classes to its already unique and highly successful program. In a move that acknowledges the vital importance of addressing individual spirituality when attempting physical healing, the thrice-weekly bible study classes at Narconon Arrowhead are quickly becoming popular among the program participants.
So Help Me God: Substance Abuse, Religion and Spirituality
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University conducted a two-year study regarding the power of religion and spirituality in preventing and promoting recovery from substance abuse problems. The study analyzed data contained in National Household Surveys, Teen Surveys and General Social Surveys and found that both adults and teens who placed importance on religion and attended weekly religious services were far less likely to smoke, drink or use illicit drugs. More specifically, the study found that:
– Adults who did not attend religious services at all were three times more likely to smoke, five times more likely to use illicit drugs, seven times more likely to binge drink and eight times more likely to use marijuana than adults who attend weekly religious services.
– Teenagers who did not attend religious services at all were twice more likely to drink and smoke, three times more likely to use marijuana and four times more likely to use illicit drugs than teenagers who attend weekly religious services.
Furthermore, the study also found that individuals who attended spiritually-based support programs while receiving substance abuse treatment were more likely to achieve and maintain sobriety. Joseph Califano Jr., President of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, says, “If ever the sum were greater than the parts, it is in combining the power of god, religion and spirituality with the power of science and professional medicine to prevent and treat substance abuse and addiction.”
Since the combination of religion and spirituality with physical treatment of substance abuse had proven so successful, one may wonder why it is not more broadly known or used. The study found two key problems to the successful integration of these methods: 1. Many clergy see substance abuse problems in their congregations but only twelve and a half percent of clergy reported receiving substance abuse training as part of their theological studies, 2. Health care professionals largely ignore the importance of God, religion and spirituality when addressing substance abusing and addicted individuals – where ninety-five percent of Americans believe in God, more than half of all mental health professionals do not believe in God. “Too often, clergy and physicians, religion and science are ships passing in the night. When we separate the worlds of medicine and spirituality, we deny effective help to a host of individuals with substance abuse problems,” says Califano.
In order to help prevent substance abuse and addiction and aid individuals on their road to recovery, the study recommends that clergy be trained in recognizing the signs of substance abuse and how to help individuals address these problems, medical professionals be trained in recognizing the vital importance of spirituality in physical healing, and further research be undertaken to strengthen the relationship between religion and physical healing.
Doing Their Part
With its detailed, thorough and very successful program that addresses the mental, emotional and physical causes and effects of drug use, Narconon Arrowhead is well-aware of the relationship between spirituality and physical healing.
“Studies show that people with strong religious beliefs are healthier, heal faster and live longer than those without them, regardless of their individual spiritual faith or spiritual practice,” says Susan Foster, Vice President of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. It can be said, then, that Narconon Arrowhead’s choice to offer pastor-delivered bible studies to its clients is one more way it helps individuals successfully battle substance abuse problems and win.