Scientific study of recovery process sheds new light on role of spirituality

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK – In a forthcoming article in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, scientists from NDRI explore the role of social supports, spirituality, religiousness, life meaning, and 12-step participation in the process of recovery from addiction. While the path to recovery is challenging, the study reveals markedly improved life satisfaction as recovery progresses as well as a decrease in stress, a critical finding since stress is a key predictor of relapse to drug use.

Supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Grant R01 DA014409) and the Peter McManus Charitable Trust, the authors, scientists from the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) in New York City and Chestnut Health System in Bloomington, Illinois, conducted one of the few comprehensive scientific studies of the recovery process. Over 300 recovering persons recruited for the study in New York City, many of whom were inner-city ethnic minority members formerly addicted to crack cocaine, heroin, and who had used other multiple substances more than twenty years, were interviewed in depth about their addiction recovery experiences.

Dr. Alexandre Laudet, Ph.D is director of the Center for the Study of Addictions and Recovery, principal investigator and the lead author of the study. She has been focusing on the long-term recovery process in her ongoing research. "I was especially pleased that we were able to explore the role of spirituality as a buffer against the pressures and stresses of drug use and attempts to recover," said Dr. Laudet. "We were successful in demonstrating scientifically the way in which quality of life and recovery from addictions is enhanced by social supports, spirituality, religiousness, and participation with 12-step fellowship programs such as Narcotics Anonymous. Our work should give hope to everyone struggling with addiction and to their families, and guide clinicians toward developing individualized programs to maximize the chances of recovery."

Co-author William White adds, "There are religious, secular and spiritual pathways to long-term addiction recovery. Charting the commonalities and distinguishing features of these pathways is enriching our ability to help individuals, families and communities."

"Research on recovery is limited, and this impressive study, using state of the art methodology, a large representative sample, and relevant statistical analyses makes tremendous advances in the field," noted Dr. Bernard S. Arons, M.D., Executive Director/CEO of NDRI, where the research was conducted.

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The website for the Center for the Study of Addictions and Recovery at NDRI is: http://www.ndri.org/ctrs/cstar.html

Reference: Alexandre B. Laudet, PhD, Keith Morgen, PhD, and William L. White, M.A. "The role of Social Supports, Spirituality, Religiousness, Life Meaning and Affiliation with 12-step Fellowships in Quality of Life Satisfaction among Individuals in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Use," IN PRESS: ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY, 26:12, SPRING 2006


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