The Role of Faith in Healing

“Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” –Matthew 9:22a

“An addict loses the capacity to make choices with regard to the behaviors of offense associated with their affliction. The addict is literally too sick to sin. Faith’s job is to get us well enough so we are capable of it once again.” 

-The Late Father Bill Hultberg

Since the beginning of time, faith communities of every variety have insisted that all types of brokenness be met with faith in order to obtain complete healing. Whether it be faith in God, faith in a power greater than one’s self, faith in certain principles, faith in the power of mind over matter, faith in positive thinking, or faith in love and care of others. 

This page is an exploration of those aspects of faith most helpful in the treatment of addiction in all its forms.  It is also a place to reflect on how faith communities could play a larger role in the healing process and the saving of lives.

Consider the following facts from the Journal of Religion and Health*:

Adults who do not consider religious beliefs important are:

  • One and half times more likely to smoke
  • Three times more likely to binge drink
  • Six times more likely to smoke pot
  • Nearly four times more likely to use an illicit drug other than marijuana

Adults who never attend religious services are:

  • Three times more likely to smoke
  • Five times more likely to use an illicit drug other than marijuana
  • Nearly seven times more likely to binge drink
  • Almost eight times more likely to smoke pot


* J Relig Health 2019; 58(5):1713-1750 

Research proves that faith makes a difference in addiction prevention and recovery

Although religious people still struggle with various addictions, these statistics illustrate the significant impact of faith in lowering the risks of addictive, self-destructive behavior. 

 If the church knew more and taught more on the subject, it could play an enormous role in prevention. Family programs that introduce addiction awareness to families, have been highly effective in reducing the incidence of addictive behavior. 

  • In the field of addiction treatment, nearly every successful approach to treatment encourages an element of faith and spirituality. Research  shows that those who incorporate spirituality into their recovery display lower levels of anxiety, higher stress tolerance, more optimism, and greater perceived levels of social support than others (Center for the Study of Addictions and Recovery).  Focusing on spiritual matters brings relief in physical, mental, and emotional struggles for all kinds of human ailments, including addiction.
  • Fully acknowledging the positive role of religion and spirituality in helping people, is not merely historic trivia or wishful thinking. Evidence based research reveals that faith makes a difference! There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates the power of a faith-based approach in preventing and treating substance abuse.
  • The particular mechanisms by which faith produces such potent results in treatment, recovery, and ongoing sobriety are continually being studied.  The benefits provided by faith and spirituality to empower an effective recovery are well-known and undeniable. Science and religion are not opposing forces in the world. However, by fully understanding both science and religion, and their respective intersections, we can better address the issues of addiction and recovery.

The Center of Addiction & Faith seeks to explore these intersections. Theology is complex and diverse. For faith communities to better understand and address addiction, they must better understand the underlying theology.

The Center of Addiction & Faith offers this place to consider, reflect, and think deeply about understanding the spiritual nature of addiction, and how it should be treated from a spiritual standpoint.

We ask for your prayerful engagement and participation. We invite you to sign up for our daily devotional, delivered directly to your inbox, automatically.