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Reconnecting the Broken Link Between Spirituality and Treatment

San Diego, California – WEBWIRE

Author Rose Ann Forte published a book aiming to holistically address alcohol dependency and help those suffering from it to reclaim their lives. The Plans He Has for Me is a 12-week devotional guide for people feeling lost and unable to find a way out of their vices. The book supplies readers with a day-by-day reflection through Biblical passages and prayers to inspire people to take a step toward change and create life-changing habits.

However, with its nature, many might question how it can achieve its objective when all it provides are spiritual motivations through biblical application rather than concrete interventions.

For so long, there’s been a division between medicine and religion and spirituality, with some people believing the latter isn’t necessary to heal what can be treated through scientific and medicinal care. Perhaps, it’s non-rational to believe that prayer or faith alone can heal what science has extensively researched and tested for. Medical ethics have historically sought to distance itself from religion and spirituality, given they’re two distinct sectors, and pointing out religion’s irrelevance to health.

However, as recent as October of 2020, the National Institute of Health (the nation’s medical research agency) has formed something called “Religion, Spirituality, and Health Scientific Interest Group” to foster more communications about health outcomes as they related to faith.

This is because so many studies have reported an association between spirituality and positive health outcomes, including alcohol abuse. People who experience a decline of faith can develop an inclination to alcohol dependency, a scenario that may lead to damaging outcomes or, worse, death. As a matter of fact, according to an article published by the Journal of Religion and Health in July of 2019, “hundreds of evidence based studies demonstrate the positive impact of faith on health and well-being.” More specifically the article quotes that “……84% of scientific studies show that faith is a positive factor in addiction prevention or recovery…” (Journal of Religion and Health July 29, 2019: Belief, Behavior, and Belonging: How Faith is Indispensable in Preventing and Recovery from Substance Abuse)

Religion and spirituality in healing is powerful. It serves as a structure or a solid concept and source of wisdom people believe in, giving them purpose and strength amidst the world’s challenges. Hence, it’s no surprise that people who lose touch with their religion and faith can develop a sense of hopelessness and emptiness, which may push them to seek comfort in alcohol. In fact, mortality related to the lack of religion and spirituality related to alcohol dependency has been prevalent in the US since the 1990s. People started calling any event related to this a “death of despair.”

There exist various medical and non-medical treatments catered specifically to alcohol dependency. Yet, despite these advancements and newly developed interventions, many still end up relapsing. It’s not a question of excellent treatments but a problem of coping. The relief experienced during these treatments may not endure afterward when they enter into the real world without a continued support system and structure to stay the course.

Stress, Unhealthy Environment, Anxiety. Triggers are pervasive in society, making the possibility of a relapse persistent and ominous. Unless the root cause of the problem is addressed, every treatment might as well be considered a band-aid solution.

Instead of focusing on only changing the behavior, healthcare professionals should consider influencing and changing these people’s beliefs that they’re alone or hopeless. Rather than only taking a stimulus (alcohol) away from them, they should be introduced to an encouragement that can get them going and stay on track, regardless of where they are and what they’re facing.

This can be achieved through a faith-based support system.

Countless studies suggest that an individual’s spiritual connection can reduce suicidal tendencies and alcohol dependency. Faith helps people by presenting it in a non-imposing but supportive way. Compared to how it has been traditionally presented when it comes to behavioral modification, as a means of scaring people from their habits, faith can be a guiding force to a better life.

Rose Ann Forte designed her program to become an outlet for these people, a journal, as they might prefer to call it. Instead of providing them strictly with don’ts and limitations, The Plans He Has for Me allows these people what they can do instead to keep them going forward in their journey. Through interjections of prayers and God’s Words, people who have struggles with alcohol can feel empowered to move along a path of persistent change. Instead of only reminding them to stop drinking, Rose Ann reminds people that they aren’t alone in this journey. Someone is always there with them, listening to their grievances and constantly motivating them to stay the course and reap the benefits.

While this might not mean someone will be there physically, the book ensures that people realize that God will always be with them. The choice to drink or not may still be entirely up to these people, but the feelings of loneliness and despair will be hindered by God’s Word reminding them of their purpose.

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 Rose Ann Forte
 The Plans He Has For Me
 Alcohol Dependency
 Devotional Guide

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