Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Michael Castro

Second Advisor

Alan Meyers

Third Advisor

Michael Kramer


This project examines the power of religious addiction and addiction in general. Statistics show that addiction, in some form, effects over 95% of the population and has silently become one of the largest and most pressing social dilemmas of our time.

The research of modern behavioral specialists like Diane Fassel and Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse supports this conclusion. Anne Wilson Schaef, a leading researcher into addiction and author of When Society Becomes An Addict, argues that the context of our society is the fact that the entire system in which we live is an "Addictive System." Schaef describes this deadly system as a living organism possessing all the characteristics of an individual alcoholic or drug addict. Only by letting go of this system and moving into what Schaef calls the Living Process System can society rebound and recover. Schaef's Addictive System and Living Process System are stepping stones into the study of the world of addiction and serve as reference points throughout the project.

Fully understanding religious addiction and the addictive process requires a knowledge of human motivation. Human motivation equates to the "why's" of human behavior. This is a logical starting point into the study of addiction and subsequently precedes the chapters on addiction in this project.

Religious addiction is a disease. Like any disease, it evolves through numerous stages. These stages are outlined in an attempt to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy spirituality.

Fortunately, addiction offers the option of recovery. Recovery is a difficult process and requires a daily commitment from the addict. The steps to recovery represent the final section of the project. Identifying the attitudes and behaviors that comprise these steps will be the true value to the reader and the most important message of this paper.

Included in

Religion Commons