Uncovering the Spiritual Dimension in the Treatment of Addictions

Millions of alcoholics and addicts recover through spirituality. In The Soul of Recovery: Uncovering the Spiritual Dimension in the Treatment of Addictions, author and journalist Christopher D. Ringwald tells how and why they seek and achieve these transformations.

Ranging as far back as the Washingtonian Total Abstinence Society in 1840, Ringwald discusses the use of spirituality within a wide range of treatment options — from the famous Twelve Step-style programs to those tailored to the needs of addicted women, Native Americans, or homeless teens not ready to quit. Focusing on the results rather than the validity of beliefs espoused by these programs, he demonstrates how addicts recover through practices such as self-examination, meditation, prayer and reliance on a self-defined higher power.

Ringwald travelled across the country to visit dozens of programs and interview hundreds of addicts, alcoholics, counsellors, family members, doctors and scientists. Many share moving stories of suffering, survival, and redemption. Ringwald also examines the controversies surrounding faith-based treatment and the recovery movement, from the conflict between science and spirituality, to skepticism about the “new age” brand of spirituality these programs encourage, to constitutional issues over court-mandated participation in allegedly religious treatment programs.

  • “An impressive, straightforward synthesis of diverse and controversial issues.”–Library Journal
  • “An encouraging, well-researched book on an important topic.”–Publishers Weekly
  • “A sober and well-documented look at some of the unquestioned claims of the burgeoning recovery movement. What makes ‘The Soul of Recovery’ stand out from the pack is the way Ringwald approaches the recovery movement as a journalist, not as an evangelist or protagonist. He understands the power of spirituality in treating substance abuse, yet still asks some hard questions.”–San Francisco Chronicle
  • “An articulate and extremely well-reported exploration of how nurturing spiritual beliefs can help addicts recover. As such, The Soul to Recovery is a much-needed and welcome antidote to the prevailing medical paradigm that chalks up troubled human behavior to ‘abnormal brain chemistry,’ amenable to a pharmaceutical solution. Ringwald shows that the paths to addiction are many, and that the most successful treatment programs are those that help heal the mind and soul.”–Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
  • “The Soul of Recovery captures beautifully the role of spirituality in the treatment and recovery of people with addictions. Not only is it immensely informative, but the writing style is captivating, passionate and powerful.”–Harold G. Koenig, co-author of the Handbook of Religion and Health
The Soul of Recovery: Uncovering the Spiritual Dimension in the Treatment of Addictions by Christopher D. Ringwald

Related Reading:

Stepping Out of Denial into God's Grace Participant's Guide 1: A Recovery Program Based on Eight Principles from the Beatitudes (Celebrate Recovery)
CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2014 (LANGE CURRENT Series)
Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave: Finding Hope in the Power of the Gospel (Resources for Changing Lives)