Addiction Rehab and Spirituality: Can or should the two be separated?

by John McAlister
Categories: Blog
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salvationarmy-addictionsA Winnipeg man who has struggled with alcoholism for decades has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission because he can’t find a treatment program that doesn’t rely on religion or spirituality as part of the recovery process.

Rob Johnstone, who has filed the complaint, says the presence of spiritual elements in rehab programs exploits vulnerable addicts.

The Salvation Army is committed to excellence in working with individuals, families and communities whose health, relationships and social well-being have been damaged by misuse of and addiction to harmful substances. The Army places a high priority on education, treatment and counselling that offer spiritual, emotional, mental and physical healing for persons affected by addiction.

While spiritual counselling is available upon request through Salvation Army addiction treatment programs, the Army doesn’t force clients to participate in its religious beliefs.

Laura Goossen of the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (not affiliated with any organized faith) says spirituality cannot be separated from recovery.