“A Sheep Alone Dies.” I was told this once by a pastor friend and I never forgot it. He stated that you can put a sheep in the best pasture, but without companionship it will almost certainly die. That a sheep needs community to thrive.
Throughout the Scriptures God’s children are often referred to as sheep; sheep who have gone astray, sheep being lead to the slaughter, sheep being placed at the right hand of Jesus. We, like sheep, need community. In the story of creation, in the book of Genesis, God declares over and over again that His creation is good. However, the first time he declares something isn’t good; God states “It is not good for man to be alone.” If we are going to live a full, abundant, sober life, we need the support and encouragement of others.
As part of our treatment here at the Road to Freedom, we highly encourage church attendance. Why encourage church attendance as part of comprehensive substance abuse treatment? Outside of the above spiritual reasons to encourage involvement in a church, let’s look at the research. According to the recent research of Kendler, M.D., and Myers, M.S. from the American Psychiatric Association, church attendance is one of the most consistent predictors of abstinence from substance use. The 2009 study compared nearly 2,000 sets of twins for over six years and found that there was an inverse relationship between church attendance and substance abuse. They also found that the inverse relationship grew stronger over time. In other words, as a person’s church attendance became more consistent the less likely they were to abuse substances. Encouraging our patients to become a part of a church home can be one of the best ways we can support their continued sobriety.
Please be reminded today that you can’t fight this battle alone. Each of us needs a community of people to lean on. Find a meeting, find a sponsor, and get involved in a church. Don’t try to fight this disease without the support of others.
Be blessed and stay sober.