We recently ran across an article that we found to be incredibly inspiring. U.S. News and World Reports published a piece from Rhode Island, which highlighted a special anti-addiction event involving several different religious leaders. Held at a Baptist Church in Providence, the gathering is set to include representatives from the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Mormon faiths (among others) in a movement to build awareness about the city’s drug and alcohol issues.
Titled United: An Evening of Hope and Remembrance, the special service will allow each of religious representatives to speak and share how addiction has affected their community. The event also intends to highlight acceptance, with the hope of comforting people who are experiencing shame.
Another portion of the ceremony will include naming parishioners from each faith who have succumbed to an overdose or alcohol-related death. Resources will be given out beforehand and all attendees will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from their religious organization.
“The drug war and inadequate access to treatment continue to disproportionately destroy the lives of the poor,” Catholic representative, Rev. Dr. Don Anderson, told the Providence Journal in a statement. “All faith traditions are called by their higher Wisdoms to address preventable suffering with compassion and ingenuity.”
One of the reasons we were so moved by this piece is because of its honesty. The truth is, addiction affects people of all faiths. It doesn’t matter what your spiritual beliefs are, a serious opioid dependency (for example) is often times beyond your physical and mental control.
We know that deeply religious people may have a hard time turning to recovery. And we know that, in some people’s eyes, admitting to an addiction may seem like a shameful act or a “sin.” Well it most certainly IS NOT. And it’s great to hear that these Rhode Island religious leaders are validating that.
For the record, Valley Recovery Center has always been a non-denominational treatment facility. We have the utmost respect for all faiths and understand how important spirituality can be during the recovery process. We, ourselves, are closely connected to multiple spiritual leaders throughout the community and can offer referrals during treatment, if someone feels the need to speak with someone from their faith.
The most important thing of all (as the above leaders referenced) is healing and wellness. This Rhode Island gathering is meant to be a sign of inclusion, which is what we emphasize as well. Don’t be in fear that an addiction goes against your religious beliefs. Accept what is happening, get treatment and use your experience to help others.