Silhouette of a man with outstretched arms as sunsets over fluffy clouds

Faith and alcoholics – Happy Bedfellows?

Mike Mather

Comfort, hope & support for sobriety

Let us look at faith in spiritual practices and realisations – in particular, faith and alcoholism. Faith is defined by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso as a “virtuous mind that opposes faults and views its object as pure and holy”, such as enlightened beings and teachings. Faith is crucial because without it, spiritual knowledge will not help in reducing problems and negativity, and may even increase delusions.

Practice and Realisations

In the case of recovering from alcoholism, the knowledge that you are alcoholic does not keep you from drinking, but a faith in a Higher Power can. My strong faith will bring benefits even if there are mistakes made during my practice.

Faith should be cherished as precious, and is a fundamental aspect of all our virtuous states of mind.

Beige on beige meme saying Faith and Prayer both are visible, but they make impossible things possible
Photo courtesy of Buddha Daily


Faith, Community and Recovery

For a recovering alcoholic, like me, faith can play an important role in recovery and my spiritual journey.

Having faith in a higher power, or a belief system, can provide a sense of comfort, hope, and purpose during the challenges of recovery. Faith can also help to reduce feelings of fear, anxiety, and suffering that often accompany addiction and recovery.

Additionally, having faith can provide a sense of community and support, which can be crucial for the success of recovery. By relying on the teachings and guidance of their faith, a recovering alcoholic can gain strength and encouragement to continue on their path towards sobriety and a better life.

Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

The Three Jewels

The Three Jewels of Buddhism have a parallel in the 12-Step Recovery movement. Buddha, Dharma and Sangha are like the Higher Power, Big Book and Fellowship that AA provides for the suffering alcoholic.

Having a Sangha to access during the journey of spiritual development provides much needed reassurance and companionship.

Faith in Buddha’s teaching if required to stay on the path and wishing to rely upon Buddha when times are tough is like accepting that we are powerless. With ‘good orderly direction’, faith and companionship, we can follow the steps necessary to maintain our goal.

Enjoy more at

About the Author Mike Mather

Mike was born in 1963 which technically makes him one of the youngest of the Baby Boomers. An Australian with Indigenous and European heritage, he has been an avid and required student of Buddhism and alcoholism since 2008.

Enjoyed this article?

Find more great content here: