When God Becomes a Drug: Breaking the Chains of Religious Addiction & Abuse Hardcover – Oct 1991
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From Library Journal
The author, an Episcopal priest and lecturer on recovery issues, defines religious addiction as "using God, a church or belief system as an escape from reality, in an attempt to find or elevate a sense of self-worth or well-being." Symptoms include refusal to doubt or question authority, judgmental attitudes, eating disorders, using fear, shame, or guilt to control others, and eventual emotional isolation. Booth explores the background of religious addiction, comparing the addict's progress with the stages of alcoholism and citing case histories that demonstrate the consequences of religious addiction on family members, especially children, victims of the addict's religious abuse. Booth recommends counseling and outlines a self-help program for developing a healthy spirituality, using affirmations and exercises based on a rewritten version of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Appendixes give guidelines for intervention and professional treatment. Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton's Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Reli gious Addiction (Nelson, 1991) covers the same topic from a more conservative perspective. Recommended for public libraries.
- Lucille Boone, San Jose P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I grew up in an extremely religious family. Probably, a family where at least one member had some mild religious addiction. So, this book was very fascinating to me. It showed me my family in light of people who had an addiction as opposed to just excessively religious or “scary” Christians (you know the ones. The ones who ask if the devil made you make out with a boy when you are 15 and throw you into therapy because obviously a 15 year old girl who makes out with a boy has something terribly wrong and abnormal going on. Yup, those kind of scary Christians).
I especially loved the chapter on the signs of religious addiction. Some of the ones I could most relate to in my family were:
Inability to question/doubt authority or information
Magical thinking that God will fix you
Believing that sex is dirty and evil
Rigid and obsessive adherence to rules, codes, or guidelines
Basically, there are a lot of people in this world who have deep pain in them and they try to find something, anything to cure it. Some turn to drugs, gambling, sex, or God.
This book is a real eye opener for anyone who grew up in an obsessively religious environment. But, it is also not a book against religion or God. Father Leo Booth reenforces that religion is a wonderful thing to have in your life when used properly. Much like pain pills, when used correctly meet a medical need but when used incorrectly can become a drug addiction.
My main issue with this book was that I thought it would have been better as two books. The first about understanding religious addiction and the second about curing it.
The latter half of the book was about helping yourself if you are a religious addict. I thought the information in the first part was great and something most people (especially children of addicts) could read and appreciate but the latter part of the book was only useful if you were indeed an addict.
Great hearing you in person in Norman, OK at the conference! I love this book and its relevance is so timely in my life. Wish everyone read it. Would be a different world and better understanding of what spirituality really is all about!!! Jeff Webb