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Special Issue "Religion & Addiction"

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A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Health and Psychology of Religion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Chris Cook

Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University, Abbey House, Palace Green, Durham, DH1 3RS, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 0191 334 1047
Interests: spirituality; theology & health; addiction
Guest Editor
Dr. Wendy Dossett

Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Chester University, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 4BJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 07837 958468
Interests: religious studies; buddhism; addiction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is extensive empirical research evidence to suggest that affiliation with faith communities protects against addiction, and that spirituality/religion can play a part in spontaneous recovery and in formal treatment programs. However, there has been little written from the disciplines of theology or religious studies concerning comparative perspectives on how spirituality/religion influence understanding of addiction or how they inform programs of recovery. The special issue will take a broad view of the ways in which religion and spirituality contribute to our understanding of addiction, and will examine a range of specific different religious/spiritual traditions, as well as addressing general issues. Alongside the teachings of some of these traditions, consideration will be given to the “secular” spirituality of the 12 Step Programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and the other Anonymous Fellowships.

Prof. Dr. Chris Cook
Dr. Wendy Dossett
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • spirituality
  • religion
  • addiction

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Sin and Addiction: Conceptual Enemies or Fellow Travelers?
Religions 2015, 6(2), 614-625; doi:10.3390/rel6020614
Received: 26 December 2014 / Revised: 9 April 2015 / Accepted: 29 April 2015 / Published: 11 May 2015
PDF Full-text (209 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The addiction recovery metaphor of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the sin/salvation metaphor of Protestant heritage have a lot more in common than people realize. On the surface, of course, it seems that the addiction recovery process is quite the opposite of what is
[...] Read more.
The addiction recovery metaphor of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the sin/salvation metaphor of Protestant heritage have a lot more in common than people realize. On the surface, of course, it seems that the addiction recovery process is quite the opposite of what is assumed to be a religious approach to addiction. Many assume that religion takes a moralistic or judgmental attitude to addiction, focusing on intentional wrong-doing, lack of will power, or sin, i.e., offending God, self and others. Instead, from a theological perspective, sin and addiction are not the opposites generally assumed. The identification of alienation from God, and the focus on spirituality and healing are core issues for both concepts. Understanding this congruence can facilitate a very productive conversation between theologians, religious believers, and recovering persons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Distal and Proximal Religiosity as Protective Factors for Adolescent and Emerging Adult Alcohol Use
Religions 2015, 6(2), 365-384; doi:10.3390/rel6020365
Received: 7 January 2015 / Revised: 16 March 2015 / Accepted: 24 March 2015 / Published: 2 April 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Data from emerging adults (ages 18–29, N = 900) in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study was used to examine the influence of childhood and emerging adult religiosity and religious-based decision-making, and childhood adversity, on alcohol use. Childhood religiosity was protective against early
[...] Read more.
Data from emerging adults (ages 18–29, N = 900) in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study was used to examine the influence of childhood and emerging adult religiosity and religious-based decision-making, and childhood adversity, on alcohol use. Childhood religiosity was protective against early alcohol use and progression to later abuse or dependence, but did not significantly offset the influence of childhood adversity on early patterns of heavy drinking in adjusted logistic regression models. Religiosity in emerging adulthood was negatively associated with alcohol use disorders. Protective associations for religiosity varied by gender, ethnicity and childhood adversity histories. Higher religiosity may be protective against early onset alcohol use and later development of alcohol problems, thus, should be considered in prevention programming for youth, particularly in faith-based settings. Mental health providers should allow for integration of clients’ religiosity and spirituality beliefs and practices in treatment settings if clients indicate such interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Reconstructing Sikh Spirituality in Recovery from Alcohol Addiction
Religions 2015, 6(1), 122-138; doi:10.3390/rel6010122
Received: 7 January 2015 / Revised: 15 February 2015 / Accepted: 17 February 2015 / Published: 4 March 2015
PDF Full-text (200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper situates Sikh identity, spirituality, and recovery from alcohol addiction within a nexus of complex social, psychological, and cultural factors. The way in which affected people in Sikh communities in Britain are able to locate and utilize unofficial recovery trajectories, often successfully
[...] Read more.
This paper situates Sikh identity, spirituality, and recovery from alcohol addiction within a nexus of complex social, psychological, and cultural factors. The way in which affected people in Sikh communities in Britain are able to locate and utilize unofficial recovery trajectories, often successfully alleviating suffering, presents both academic research and service provision with potential puzzles. While Sikh communities have been long settled in the UK, there is still a dearth of extensive, multi-method, and analytically rich research investigating the role of spirituality and Sikh identity. We present existing models of recovery process and locate them against an individual psychological and sociological backdrop, so that through the use of spirituality, recovery along this route is interpreted as having both otherworldly as well as materially grounded formations. It is this duality, we argue, that is prominent socially, culturally, and psychologically as important in the recovery from addiction. The multi-factorial nature of this mechanism of change raises important questions for not only addiction recovery, but also notions of continuity and change in Sikh identity. We aim to contribute to this growing body of work in order to re-situate the role of spirituality and identity in alcohol addiction recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Recovery Spirituality
Religions 2015, 6(1), 58-81; doi:10.3390/rel6010058
Received: 19 December 2014 / Revised: 6 January 2015 / Accepted: 15 January 2015 / Published: 27 January 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (273 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is growing interest in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and other secular, spiritual, and religious frameworks of long-term addiction recovery. The present paper explores the varieties of spiritual experience within A.A., with particular reference to the growth of a wing of recovery spirituality promoted
[...] Read more.
There is growing interest in Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and other secular, spiritual, and religious frameworks of long-term addiction recovery. The present paper explores the varieties of spiritual experience within A.A., with particular reference to the growth of a wing of recovery spirituality promoted within A.A. It is suggested that the essence of secular spirituality is reflected in the experience of beyond (horizontal and vertical transcendence) and between (connection and mutuality) and in six facets of spirituality (Release, Gratitude, Humility, Tolerance, Forgiveness, and a Sense of Being-at-home) shared across religious, spiritual, and secular pathways of addiction recovery. The growing varieties of A.A. spirituality (spanning the “Christianizers” and “Seculizers”) reflect A.A.’s adaptation to the larger diversification of religious experience and the growing secularization of spirituality across the cultural contexts within which A.A. is nested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle A Latter-day Saint Approach to Addiction: Aetiology, Consequences and Treatment in a Theological Context
Religions 2015, 6(1), 1-13; doi:10.3390/rel6010001
Received: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
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Abstract
This article explores the theological underpinning of the nature, aetiology and treatment of addictions within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first section outlines the “plan of salvation” and how this provides the theological framework for the source and solution
[...] Read more.
This article explores the theological underpinning of the nature, aetiology and treatment of addictions within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first section outlines the “plan of salvation” and how this provides the theological framework for the source and solution to addictions. The final section explores addiction against this background in terms of its aetiology, types, consequences and treatment in a Latter-day Saint context. In so doing it builds on the recognition by the Church in recent years that addiction is a problem in the lives of some of its members and that treatment programs coherent with its teachings and beliefs are necessary. The article concludes by suggesting that while addiction may be more openly discussed within a Latter-day Saint context there is a need to keep this dialogue moving forward. This article does not examine Latter-day Saint teaching within the wider context of psychotherapy and other definitions of addiction; rather it explores the place of addiction as understood within the theological and ecclesiological context of Mormonism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Walking in Balance: Native American Recovery Programmes
Religions 2014, 5(4), 1037-1049; doi:10.3390/rel5041037
Received: 25 August 2014 / Revised: 16 September 2014 / Accepted: 28 September 2014 / Published: 20 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (186 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article reviews Native American ritual practices, frameworks and key concepts employed by several substance abuse treatments centres in the U.S. and Canada. It also examines the way Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Step programme has been modified to attract and serve the needs of
[...] Read more.
This article reviews Native American ritual practices, frameworks and key concepts employed by several substance abuse treatments centres in the U.S. and Canada. It also examines the way Alcoholics Anonymous’ Twelve Step programme has been modified to attract and serve the needs of Native Americans and First Nations and its potential impact on the ritual practices. Native concepts of wellbeing are highlighted and linked to the idea of living in “balance”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Buddhist Approaches to Addiction Recovery
Religions 2014, 5(4), 985-1000; doi:10.3390/rel5040985
Received: 31 July 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2014 / Published: 9 October 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Buddha recognized addiction problems and advised his followers accordingly, although this was not the primary focus of his teachings. Thailand and Japan, which have long-standing Buddhist traditions, have developed Buddhist influenced responses to addiction. With its emphasis on craving and attachment, an
[...] Read more.
The Buddha recognized addiction problems and advised his followers accordingly, although this was not the primary focus of his teachings. Thailand and Japan, which have long-standing Buddhist traditions, have developed Buddhist influenced responses to addiction. With its emphasis on craving and attachment, an understanding of the workings of the mind, as well as practices to work with the mind, Buddhism lends itself as a rich resource to assist addiction recovery. The twelve step movement has been an impetus to making use of ideas and practices from Buddhism. In particular, mindfulness, has started to be used to support addiction recovery, with promising results. Exploration of other areas of Buddhism is beginning, and may provide additional benefit in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Finding God through the Spirituality of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
Religions 2014, 5(4), 948-960; doi:10.3390/rel5040948
Received: 13 May 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (80 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has provided relief for individuals recovering from alcoholism for over 75 years. The key to the recovery process is a spiritual experience as the result of practicing the daily discipline of the 12 Steps, a process
[...] Read more.
The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has provided relief for individuals recovering from alcoholism for over 75 years. The key to the recovery process is a spiritual experience as the result of practicing the daily discipline of the 12 Steps, a process which evokes a psychic change sufficient to recover from this disease. Although a relatively new spiritual discipline, the 12 Step program is built upon a foundation of much older and more traditional paths to God including devotion, understanding, service and meditation. Recent research provides insights into the 12 Step program. Specifically, the path of recovery is highlighted by the reduction of resentment and the promotion of forgiveness which are key factors of recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Addiction: Alcohol and Substance Abuse in Judaism
Religions 2014, 5(4), 972-984; doi:10.3390/rel5040972
Received: 30 July 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 16 September 2014 / Published: 29 September 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (66 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article outlines a history of rulings and beliefs about addiction in Judaism, covering alcohol and substance use and addiction, in the context of a brief account of the development of the status of addiction. It examines the prevalence of alcohol and substance
[...] Read more.
This article outlines a history of rulings and beliefs about addiction in Judaism, covering alcohol and substance use and addiction, in the context of a brief account of the development of the status of addiction. It examines the prevalence of alcohol and substance use and abuse among Jews, including a discussion of some of the difficulties in estimating prevalence and of factors involved in changing patterns of use and abuse. Community beliefs and attitudes are examined, using published material and interviews with community leaders and members. Some conclusions are suggested about the impact of religious rulings and of other factors on addiction among Jews. Attention is given to the phenomenon of denial. Therapeutic practices and organisations are described. The scope for further research is identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives on Drug Addiction in Islamic History and Theology
Religions 2014, 5(3), 912-928; doi:10.3390/rel5030912
Received: 31 July 2014 / Revised: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 18 September 2014
PDF Full-text (80 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
How does Islam view substance addiction? What happens to the soul of the person suffering from addictive disorder? What happens to his relationship with God? These are some of the questions that this article tries to answer. Three models on drug addiction from
[...] Read more.
How does Islam view substance addiction? What happens to the soul of the person suffering from addictive disorder? What happens to his relationship with God? These are some of the questions that this article tries to answer. Three models on drug addiction from an Islamic theological perspective will be explored here. Two of them are preventative models based on an understanding of society rooted in shame-culture, while the third model, called Millati Islami, practiced in the USA, is founded on the Islamic understanding of tawba (repentance). Furthermore, drugs and addiction in scripture, as well as medieval Muslims society’s attitude towards them are explored. As a whole, the models discussed in the article demonstrate that Islamic theology possesses the intellectual and theoretical tools to develop fully-fledged theological models of addiction, and a suggestion to explore one model is made in the conclusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Spirituality and Quaker Approaches to Substance Use and Addiction
Religions 2015, 6(2), 385-403; doi:10.3390/rel6020385
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 30 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
PDF Full-text (203 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has held a consistent testimony of abstinence and moderation regarding alcohol and other substances. This paper outlines the historical background, and describes modern Quaker understandings of moderation. It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the
[...] Read more.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has held a consistent testimony of abstinence and moderation regarding alcohol and other substances. This paper outlines the historical background, and describes modern Quaker understandings of moderation. It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the only study to date about Quaker behaviour and atttitudes regarding substance use. The association between low substance use and religiosity is established in the literature, but the role of spirituality is less defined. This study methodology allowed an unusually detailed analysis of different aspects of spirituality. Results generally support Miller’s suggestion that idiographic spirituality may have a role in resilience to higher substance use. However, spiritual practice through prayer/meditation emerges as having a more consistent role in the Quaker sample—a finding that is of interest and potential significance in considerations of resilience and recovery. The community dimension of shared spiritual attitudes towards substance use, and the spiritual values that underlie the interpretation of testimony, are also explored. The congruence that some Quakers find with the spiritual approaches of Alcoholics Anonymous is also discussed. It is concluded that spirituality is a significant factor in a Quaker balance that can mitigate immoderate use and support recovery from addiction, without, in general, excluding those who use at higher levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)

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