Substance abuse/drug addiction is causing huge problems to our society.
These include unemployment, violence, crime, and a strain on the law
enforcement and health services. Public funding is being spent in prevention,
education and treatment, and great effort has been made to stop the rising tide
of addiction. Spirituality is one factor that may be effective in this area.
Unfortunately very little research has been done to assess how effective
spirituality can be in moderating and treating drug abuse. The purpose of this
study was to explore spiritual beliefs and practices in the context of twelve
step programmes, and to discover what effect if any they have on the quality
of life of members. Semi structured interviews were conducted with two
groups, one in Dublin, the other in the Northwest. The results showed that
spirituality did have an impact on quality of life, and the impact increased in
proportion to the length of abstinence. Some of the changes the participants
made to their lives were dramatic. The study suggests that a spiritually based
programme aimed at schools and colleges could be effective in preventing
substance abuse in young people