Substance abuse and addiction can wreak havoc on all aspects of life, including your faith. Researchers conducted a study that examined the effects of addiction on faith. One study, titled “A Focus-Group Study on Spirituality and Substance-Abuse Treatment,” examined the toll of addiction on Christians and their faith. Participants were asked how their addiction to drugs or alcohol affected their faith. Some admitted they attended church and prayed, despite being under the influence of a substance. Even though they were compelled to stop using, they felt powerless and sought prayer and/or church as ways to seek help. One study participant admitted going to church while high on drugs.
This study also found that many Christians felt as if they lost faith and let their addiction replace their worship of Jesus. In other words, instead of God being the most important part of their lives, drugs or alcohol were. These individuals invested their entire beings – minds, bodies, and souls – in their addictions and became completely dependent on them. Drugs gave them an odd sense of purpose.
Individuals who tried to maintain their relationship with God said they only prayed when they needed help with their addiction, when they needed to find drugs, or when they had a run-in with the police. Still other participants attempted to justify their addictions as being moral, despite feeling ashamed and guilty about them. The shame and guilt made them feel weaker, which led them to rely on substances to ease their feelings and make them feel better. For some Christians, rage and resentment toward Christ is what fueled their addictions Even though they felt let down by their God, they still believed in him.
Many people involved in this study still believed that spirituality offered them a sense of hope, and as such, deemed their faith as a healthy way to seek sobriety and recovery. Their beliefs in their savior were still intact, with hope that God was trying to present himself or herself so they could achieve sobriety. Sadly, the life-altering complications caused by drug and alcohol abuse made it hard for them to focus on their Christian beliefs and gain control of their addictions.