Opioid Addiction Among Mormons
65% of Utah’s state residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). More than one-third of all adults living in Utah were prescribed opioid painkillers in 2014, many of which included members of the Mormon faith.1
One person dies every day in Utah as a result of a prescription drug overdose. The state has seen a 400% increase in drug fatalities since 2000.2 Many of those deaths could be avoided if a drug rehab program and a faith-based 12-step program was presented an an opportunity to a new path.
Mormon Beliefs and Addiction
At a young age, LDS members are taught that they must lead a sober lifestyle. Yet, many Mormons do suffer from addiction to substances, placing them in a very troubling physical, spiritual, and moral situation.
Within the Mormon Church, spiritual standards are set very high. Completely staying away from alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and even caffeine is necessary to receive spiritual and physical blessings.
Many Mormons who struggle with substance use disorders and addiction end up feeling a great deal of shame and depression. They may feel unlovable, become discouraged, and lose hope that recovery is ever possible.3
In the Mormon religion, addiction is looked upon as a battle between good and evil, with Satan providing many temptations and using addiction to steal away free will. Addiction comes from Satan, an evil to steer Mormons off the right path.4
Word of Wisdom
The Word of Wisdom is a health code that LDS members must live by. It prevents members from using alcohol, illegal drugs, and other harmful substances. The goal is to attain physical and spiritual health by avoiding habit-forming substances.5
Book of Mormon Passages on Addiction
Many try to overcome addiction on their own, hoping that sheer willpower will work. LDS preaches humbly turning to God above to get help:
“Preach unto them repentance… teach them to humble themselves… to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.”6
Once one has achieved sobriety in recovery, they still may not think they are good enough to share their success because they believe they’re not a perfect person:
“The Redeemer chose imperfect men to teach the way to perfection.”7
Twelve-Step Mormon Faith-Based Rehab
An LDS addiction recovery program has twelve steps that contain key principles.
Step 1: Honesty
The first step in recovery is admitting that your life has become unmanageable and that you need help to overcome addiction.
Step 2: Hope
Reach out for spiritual help and discover that others have felt the same as you have, giving you hope for recovery from addiction.
Step 3: Trust in God
Make a conscious choice to turn your care and trust over to God by following a faith-based rehab recovery program.
Step 4: Truth
Write an honest, moral review of your life in a personal journal.
Step 5: Confession
Share and admit your sins and wrongdoings with others.
Step 6: Change of Heart
Be willing to undergo real change through the power of God by studying and understanding scripture.
Step 7: Humility
Ask God humbly to take away your shortcomings. Surrender your weaknesses.
Step 8: Seeking Forgiveness
Forgive yourself. Write down a list of everyone you’ve harmed.
Step 9: Restitution and Reconciliation
While engaging in addictive behaviors before recovery, you may have wrecked relationships. Directly ask forgiveness and do what is needed to make amends.
Step 10: Daily Accountability
Examine your thoughts, words, and deeds daily to ensure continued sobriety.
Step 11: Personal Revelation
Meditate and pray to have the power to continue your recovery journey.
Step 12: Service
To remain sober, you must help others by sharing your spiritual awakening.
Hope for Those Fighting Addiction
Although addiction is a disease of the brain, once Satan has taken your free will, it becomes a disease of the spirit. There is hope for those who suffer from addiction; the LDS can refer members to join faith-based rehab programs.
- Thomas S. Monson in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 19; or Ensign, May 2004, 20