I do not know if this has been discussed. If it has please point me in the right direction.
I have noticed that quite a few on "born again" xtians come from a background of some sort of addictive behaviors. Sex, drug, alcohol, gambling etc. seem to be their stock in trade. Is there some correlation between this behavior and "finding" religion. A couple of questions come to mind.
1) Does "feeling the rapture" or whatever they call it have an effect on the same neurotransmitters involved with addiction?
2) We know that an orgasm involves certain chemicals in our pleasure center. So do these people have orgasms during a "rapture" session?
3) Does continual attendance at church create a physical addiction like heroin where the more you get the more you need?
4) Does this also dull the senses like alcoholism?
Lastly, have there been any studies, clinical trials to investigate this?
In my 30 years of pharmacy practice I have seen people with addictive/compulsive behavior go from alcohol to vitamins to marathon like exercise routines and so on. There are so many other ramifications that accompany addictions that involve families, communities, the economy. It would be very interesting if there was actually a public health issue for the discontinuation and possible criminalization of spreading religious practices. So, ideas thoughts.

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1. Yes.
2. None of them have to change their pants unless they crap themselves.
3. No, it's not like that.
4. Sense was dulled in the first place.

They're overly right-brained, underly left-brained fuckwits who wasted away their teens drinking and wenching and now waste their life wenching themselves out to their church. Both sets of behaviors are due to the set of behaviors being a big kanji character sentence (actually more comparable to cuneiform, wherein a single character could potentially mean quite a great deal of text) wherein whatever the inputs may happen to be, the end result is "and you get pleasure from it." regardless of the lack of any rational connection between the inputs and the resulting pleasure. They're effectively the mental equivalent of poor people that won't get a job that pays more than McDonalds does 'cause it'll make them not qualify for welfare anymore, being voluntarily dependent on a system that'll catch them and hold them up while they practice a species of laziness.
Don't undersestimate the entire 12 step program. Referrals to it or very similar programs for all of those problems are regularly made by courts. While it may not be technically a fundy program, the "higher power" in many instances is clearly understood or even directly referenced as Christ and/or God. People in a desperate situation often need an excuse, (their uncontrollable sin via the devil) and a reason they are now OK, (salvation). When you combine all that, 12 step programs that reference God are a pretty good source of converts. This is just my hunch regarding one source for this phenomena.
I've been in AA for years. I finally realized that "higher power" is really anything you want it to be.

For me it's just a genuine acceptance that there is more to this world than my ego.

Getting into almost obsessive introspection is an almost natural outcome that Alcoholics engage in by virtue of all the guilt and shame resulting from the outcomes of ones addiction.

I don't think for a moment that an intervening God has any role in my recovery. But, the recognition that I'm part of nature and this world has served me well in getting past that constant me vs. the world view.

The "God" component in AA has always been a source of contention from the day it was founded.

In very few meetings do I ever hear the kind of religous clap trap associated with typical church dogma.
I would love to see a 12 step program for releaving yourself of the delusion of faith. Ohhhh... an too see commercials relating to faith as a disease, and all the side effects it causes.

I will have to have sweet dreams about it for now though. It's all about the dollar and unfortunately that doesn't sell so well here atm.
I dunno, I think it's more like an under diagnosed personality disorder. An already present penchant for extreme behavior in general, these people are incapable of moderation, period. Also, it has a lot to do with age & group acceptance. I'll use the sexuality angle here. It's easier to claim piousness and say that you're not interested in sex anymore for moral/religious reasons than it is to admit that no one wants to fuck you cuz you're a loser with bad teeth and no job at 40 with addiction issues. So, being born again is a new group where they can find acceptance, and handily comes with a powerful, misogynistic, anti-sex message. It's why born again groups are so obsessed with abortion, birth control, and abstinence-holdover resentment for rejection. So whether it's drugs, sex & alcohol or religion, the fundamental character and behavior is basically the same-extreme, selfish, and destructive.
When I quit drinking and drugging I was desperate for something else to help me find structure and regain control - at least to regain the sort of control I thought I had, which was more a barricade to hide behind than anything that controlled my life. Addicts hide - it's a pathological need and something that religion will serve for as well as alcohol or drugs.

As much as I would like to see addicts learn how to move beyond the need to hide, if they can't face life without intervention of some sort I would rather see them hide behind religion than behind drugs and alcohol.

I was already an atheist when I sobered so I didn't run to church, but I did run to other things to help me get through the initial period of sobriety. I used therapy and my husband very much in the same way that many people use religion. I managed to move beyond this - probably because I'm stubborn, bitchy and way too obnoxious to let anything beat me - but not everyone is able to get to that point. I can understand it - the fear that drives addiction can be all consuming and many addicts are running from things that they can't process.

In my admittedly anecdotal experience over the last 17 years, as sobriety becomes more a part of an addict's life the religious aspect of recovery becomes less and less important. Many people, especially those who remain in 12-step programs for an extended period of time, will give lip service to religion but not really mean it.

For those who are never able to process the internal changes required to remain sober without some sort of restraint the religion will remain. A particular ballplayer comes to mind.

I am not aware of any studies concerning religion as part of the process of recovery. It would be interesting.

I think that condemning people who are attempting, however badly, to break the hold alcohol and drugs has on their lives is wrong. While I am as opposed as anyone on these forums to religion, organized or otherwise, sobriety is difficult enough without attacking those attempting to get there or remain there.
CarolAnn,
There was no intention here to attack those attempting to get straight. I was looking at the overall affect of religion as an addiction and how it might affect people with a predilection for such behavior. Would it not be better if we actually helped these people and not send them into another form of addiction? We should recognize the actual disease process and not stigmatize these people just as epileptics were before we had a better understanding of the brain.
Ronin, it wasn't your question that I perceived as an attack. It was some of the responses.

I agree that it is best for addicts to learn to cope rather than to continue to hide, but it is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, and sometimes there is value in the stops they make along the way.

:)
Thanks for honest and straightforward input to this thread.

I too found that the religion aspect of AA paled in comparison to the recognition of how widespread, and destructive addiction is to people from all walks of life and income.
I am a shameless recovering (at least for today), heroin and cocaine addict, so, don't worry about offending me! lol! Sensitivity never was an option in my former life!

One thing I learned in recovery is that the problem lies within myself, not the drug. Even when I kicked heroin the physical aspects of addiction subsided once the drug was out of my system, although I still suffer psychologically. It is all about the release of seratonin and dopamine and any behavior that causes an excessive release of these chemicals has the potential to become addictive. This includes gambling, sex, extreme sports, narcotics, and even religious fervor.

All of these addictive behaviors have a social impact, to a degree. The social impact of the "religious disease" is well documented and should be dealt with accordingly. We have a war on drugs due to the social ramifications resulting from drug abuse, why not a war on religion for the same reason?

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