Faculty Advisor

Weisz, Carolyn

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2017


The primary purpose of this study is to identify themes regarding the role that religion plays in recovery from addiction, specifically for people experiencing homelessness in Tacoma. Fourteen men and from two treatment programs catering toward specifically homeless populations were interviewed. One of the programs was based in Christian faith, the other was not faith-based. In the interviews, participants were asked about their substance use and recovery history, their recovery experiences, the nature of their religious beliefs and practices, their ideas of self, and their community. Using the NVivo qualitative analysis software, interview transcriptions were analyzed based on Glaser’s (1978) grounded theory approach. Interviews were coded for themes, which were then congregated into major emerging categories. From participants’ experiences, three major categories emerged: substance use history, faith in recovery, and success in recovery. Sub-themes under substance use history included losing resources, ideas of self, and motivation for change. Under faith and recovery, sub-themes included trust in God, a sense of purpose, and Christian identity. Under success in recovery, sub-themes included keeping busy, healthy community, and external motivators for sobriety. These emerging themes were compared with existing literature regarding the role of religion in recovery and factors promoting successful recovery outcomes.


University of Puget Sound