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Spirituality and Quaker Approaches to Substance Use and Addiction

Director of Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs, 21 Church Street, Tewkesbury GL20 5PD, UK
Academic Editors: Chris Cook and Wendy Dossett
Religions 2015, 6(2), 385-403;
Received: 16 February 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 30 March 2015 / Published: 8 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion & Addiction)
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 It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the only study to date about Quaker behaviour and atttitudes regarding substance use.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. View Full-Text
Keywords: spirituality; religion; Quaker; alcohol; substance use; addiction; liberal belief culture spirituality; religion; Quaker; alcohol; substance use; addiction; liberal belief culture
MDPI and ACS Style

Chambers, H. Spirituality and Quaker Approaches to Substance Use and Addiction. Religions 2015, 6, 385-403.

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