Religious solutions to alcoholism

Many 12 Steppers usually scoff at “religious” solutions to addiction, and
perhaps rightly so due to the low success rate (forgetting that AA has a very
low success rate, too.) Maybe they also think that religious observance is pointless
and is also an “easier, softer, way.” HA!

I think the main reason that religious solutions do not work is that they fail
to directly address the root cause of the addiction: that within each alcoholic
and addict there is something wrong with how the world and environment is perceived
or related to and how to properly react or cope with that. Alcohol addressees that,
although in a bad way.

In AA’s Big Book there is a line towards the end about how AA taught the writer
how to “handle sobriety.” In AA meetings I have heard quite often how the Steps
teach us how to alter or change they way we react to things. I believe that is the
same thing as “handling sobriety.”

I don’t think all the Masses and Rosaries and Divine Mercy Chaplets in the world
will work for anyone UNLESS they also believe in the healing power of Jesus and the
sacraments AND also believe that prayer is a union with God. This also pretty much
mandates Scripture reading. Pondering the Gospels, the NT Letters, the
Psalms and the Wisdom Books (Psalms, Wisdom, Proverbs, Sirach, Song of Songs and
Ecclesiastes) can help in changing how we react to things.

Scripture contains lessons for life and living. AA has their slogans, but the
Bible has more potent “sayings” in Wisdom, Proverbs, Sirach and the rest.

Add in reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and you have another powerful
tool in conversion (for that is what “handling sobriety” and “changing how you think”
amounts to).

This post was inspired by a recent discussion on the Matt Talbot Way of Recovery.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics" and "The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts" (Thank you!!)


  1. Just read this on Matt talbot web site and linked back here. Great article! The only other piece of the puzzle for me, especially I suppose in the first year is fellowship/meeting with other alcoholics. Something about the comeraderie of other alcoholics soothes the soul unlike any nonalcoholic can do for me. Y’all “get it.” And after a life of feeling misunderstood or “different” that fellowship is a wonderful surprise. I did not want the fellowship but came to love and rely on it. I can get “the “Steps through our Church. Thanks Paul! Hope you are well!

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