A Redemption Story: A Case Study of a Faith-Based Addiction Recovery Process

Thursday, 27 July 2017: 4:50 PM

Chitra Paul Victor, PhD
College of Nursing, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Myers, FL, USA


The purpose of this study is to acquire an in-depth descriptive explanation regarding the role of the faith-based recovery program and the influence of this program on the healing of body, mind, and spirit and the restoration of hope for women recovering from substance addiction.


The researcher used a single embedded interpretive case study design based on the social process theory: Understanding God as Sponsor. Data was collected through observations, in-depth interviews, and the analysis of artifacts. The researcher used purposive sampling to recruit female drug addicts recovered in a faith-based recovery program and their care providers. The researcher used interpretivist approach to explore the perception and the real-world experiences of the faith-based recovery process. The interpretivist approach of case study draws a conclusion of individuals, units, or cases within specific contexts and involves description and exploration (Yin, 2013).The interpretivist approach allowed the researcher to explore how faith is understood and implemented in the reality of day-to-day recovery from addiction and why questions about whether faith-based recovery process are occurring or not. The interpretivist paradigm in nursing research helped the nurse researcher to explore the process, meaning, and qualities of a faith-based recovery process from substance addiction that is not subject to measurement or experiment.


Within the boundaries of the single case of the selected faith-based program, fifteen female participants who underwent the faith-based recovery process and five of their caregivers were interviewed. Rich description of the interview data and the program interventions revealed the case. The data analysis using inductive strategy and coding process revealed five major themes, twelve subthemes, and eight outliers. The major themes include (1) I was Battling with Addiction (2) In You, I Found a Love Unconditional and Divine (3) I know I have a Future (4) New Hope, New Dreams, and New Life (5) I’m a New Person: God created Me to be. The themes revealed participants were subjected to drug addiction because of abuse, low self-esteem, rejection, depression, and hopelessness. Therefore, addiction was perceived as a symptom, and alienation from God was considered to be the root of the problem. However, the findings revealed that the faith-based interventions restored addicts’ relationship with God, which promoted self-esteem. The themes also revealed developing a relationship with God is one’s free will and cannot be forced by discipline or rules. The faith-based program interventions help the recovering addict to complete one step at a time to reach a complete recovery and the healing of body, mind, and spirit. These five steps include (1) Hopelessness, (2) Surrender, (3) Future, (4) Hope, and (5) Healing. Recovery from addiction and the healing of body, mind, and spirit began when the women realized God’s unconditional love and believed God wants to help them to be free from the addiction. When the participants experienced holistic healing through the faith-based recovery process, they developed hope for the future.


Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and addiction lead to significant socio-economic costs due to crime, increased health care, and loss of productivity (Giardano, 2014). The epidemic of SUD is costly and costs the nation hundreds of billions of dollars each year. In the United States, $700 billion is spent on health care and productivity losses related to SUD each year. Many individuals with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) are living without hope because of their repetitive and uncontrolled behavior to use drugs (NIDA, 2014). These individuals need hope for recovery and social acceptance (Timmons, 2012). Holistic healing, the healing of body, mind, and spirit can promote this hope and quality of life. Instilling hope through spiritual faith reconnects the addicts to their recovery and healing. Faith is the powerful factor for promoting hope and is a key concept in holistic nursing (Benefiel, Fry, Geigle, 2014; Miller, & Ewest, 2013).

From the data analysis of this single embedded interpretive case study, five main themes emerged reflecting the success of the program and the process of the faith-based recovery. The influence of the faith-based recovery program on the recovery process was explained by identifying various faith-based interventions. Nursing is a caring profession founded in spirituality and in a religious background that involves a holistic perspective of caring for the mind, body, and spirit of the patient (O’Brien, 2013). In a rapidly changing health care environment, it is imperative to implement cost-effective and holistic interventions to help addicts recover and abstain from Substance Use Disorders.