Aka: Substance Abuse, Addicts
Addiction is a complex and chronic disease that affects the brain and the behavior of an individual. It can be characterized by compulsive seeking and taking behaviors despite the negative consequences that result from them and comes in many forms like alcohol, drug, sex, gambling, pornography, food and many others. Addiction can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and individual vulnerability. Many times it is not just a medical problem but a spiritual one as well.
Two of the most significant effects of addiction are the impact it has on an individual's health and brain chemistry leading to a range of health problems and issues with memory, attention, decision-making, and impulse control. It can also have a profound impact on an individual's relationships, career, and overall quality of life. Those struggling with addiction often experience social isolation, financial problems, legal problems, and difficulty maintaining employment. Addiction can also lead to a loss of self-esteem and feelings of shame, guilt, and hopelessness. Its effects go beyond the person struggling with it, however, affecting family members, friends, and the broader community through strained relationships, financial burdens, and increased rates of crime and possibly violence.
Treatment for addiction can be effective, but it requires a comprehensive approach that addresses the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the disease. Treatment may include medication, counseling, support groups, and lifestyle changes. As people of faith, we believe that successful recovery from addiction can’t come without the help of God. And that is why we ask for the intercessory prayers of the saints to intercede for us on our behalf.
Who is the Patron Saint of Addiction
The most common saint that comes to mind when you are seeking a Patron Saint of Addiction is St. Maximilian Kolbe. St. Matthias is another less known general saint for addiction. Then there are some others that are related to specific addictions like Venerable Matt Talbot, St. Camillus de Lellis and St. Augustine for alcohol, gambling and sex addiction respectively.
St. Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish Franciscan Friar who was imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. While in the camp, he ministered to the inmates and even volunteered to take the place of a fellow prisoner who was sentenced to death.
Maximilian and 9 other prisoners were stripped naked and put into a 9’ by 9’ bunker where they were starved. Instead of the usual wailing and moaning, witnesses say that heard the whole group saying rosaries and singing hymns. After he survived for a few weeks, the guards decided to inject him with carbolic acid.
It is because he died from an involuntary injection of a deadly substance followed by a period of suffering that he is called upon as a Patron Saint of Addiction. His selfless act of sacrificing his own life for another person is seen as a symbol of hope and inspiration for those struggling with addiction, and he is often invoked as a powerful intercessor for those seeking healing and freedom from their affliction.
St. Matthias was the apostle who replaced Judas Iscariot, whom had betrayed Jesus and then taken his own life. After Jesus' Ascension, Matthias was sent to preach the Gospel. He emphasized the importance of controlling one's physical desires in order to attain inner peace and joy through the Holy Spirit. Matthias believed that the Holy Spirit could help people gain mastery over their unhealthy physical desires and achieve good health in both body and soul. As a result, he is regarded as a patron saint of those who struggle with addiction.
Venerable Matt Talbot was born into a large, impoverished Irish family. His father was an alcoholic who struggled to provide for the family. At the age of 12, Talbot began working as a delivery boy for a beer bottling company, and by the time he was 16, he had developed a serious alcohol addiction. This addiction caused him to neglect his family and work for almost 16 years.
However, in 1884, Talbot experienced a spiritual awakening and committed to a life of sobriety. He attributed his success in overcoming his addiction to his deep faith and devotion to God, which gave him the strength to resist temptation. Talbot led a humble life, working as a laborer and spending much of his time in prayer and acts of kindness. He was known for his piety and his willingness to help others, particularly those struggling with alcoholism.
Talbot's life and legacy have become a source of hope and inspiration for those seeking recovery from addiction. He is revered as a role model and intercessor, with many people praying to him for guidance and strength on their own journeys to sobriety.
St. Camillus de Lellis had a difficult life, marked by periods of gambling addiction and ill health. However, he had a conversion experience in his early 30s and decided to dedicate his life to helping others. Because of his own struggles with gambling, as well as his recognition of the harmful effects of addiction on himself and society, he is considered a role model for those seeking to overcome addiction, and his intercession is often sought by those struggling with gambling addiction. He is known for his compassion and his belief in the power of faith to help individuals overcome their struggles and find healing.
St. Augustine was a renowned theologian and philosopher who lived from 354 to 430 AD. He is considered one of the most influential Catholic thinkers in history and is known for his writings on the nature of God, sin, and grace. Before that, however, he was a slave to lust and sexual promiscuity in his youth.
He even wrote about it in his autobiographical book called Confessions: “…the mists of passion steamed up out of the puddly concupiscence of the flesh, and the hot imagination of puberty, so clouded over and obscured my heart that I was unable to distinguish the pure light of true love from the murk of lust. Both boiled confusedly within me, and dragged my unstable youth down over the cliffs of unchaste desires and plunged me into a gulf of infamy.” In other words, the haze of lust clouded his mind to the point where he couldn't differentiate it from the clear and pure light of love. Those who have knowledge of the neuroscience behind sexual addictions and the journey towards recovery from pornography addiction can understand this state of mental confusion, objectification, and the inability to recognize genuine love.
The example of his mother’s steadfast praying for him during his sinful life is also recognizable my many addicts who also have prayer warriors in their life. Many people who struggle with sexual addiction look to him as a model of repentance and faithfulness and seek his intercession in their journey towards healing and recovery.
Click here for our list of Patron Saints.
Prayers for Addiction
Prayer for Addiction
God of mercy, we bless You in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who come to Him. Give Your strength to (name), Your servant, bounded by the chains of addiction. Enfold him/her in Your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God's children.
Lord, look with compassion on all who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of Your unfailing mercy and strengthen them in the work of recovery. To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
St. Maximilian Kolbe Family and Friend Prayer for the Addicted
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, your life of love and labor for souls was sacrificed amid the horrors of a concentration camp and hastened to its end by an injection of a deadly drug. Look with compassion upon (name) who is now entrapped in addiction and whom we now recommend to your powerful intercession. Having offered your own life to preserve that of a family man, we turn to you with trust, confident that you will understand and help. Obtain for us the grace never to withhold our love and understanding, nor to fail in persevering prayer that the enslaving bonds of addiction may be broken and that full health and freedom may be restored to him / her whom we love. We will never cease to be grateful to God who has helped us and heard your prayer for us. Amen.
God, grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the Courage to change the things we can and the Wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
Related Patron Saint Jewelry and Rosaries
Buy some beautiful St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Matthias, Matt Talbot, St. Camillus de Lellis and St. Augustine jewelry to keep you or your loved one close to the patron saint of addiction and be a symbol of your faith.