Thank you, Susan, for tipping us to this article from the CBC News:

Religious Rehab Sparks Alcoholic’s Complaint

A Winnipeg man who has struggled with alcoholism for decades says he has filed a complaint with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission over the lack of a treatment program that’s free of religious or spiritual elements.

Rob Johnstone said he has battled alcoholism for 40 years and can’t find a treatment program that doesn’t rely on religion or spirituality as part of the recovery process.


Johnstone said the presence of spiritual elements in rehab programs exploit vulnerable addicts.

“We get involved in mood-altering substances and mind-altering substances,” Johnstone said. “That means the person is very vulnerable when they come in and that person should not be subjected to someone else’s religion.”

He’s hoping his human rights complaint pushes the province to create a treatment program that’s free of spiritual or religious elements. The commission wouldn’t comment on the status of his complaint.

“Spirituality … is part and parcel of everyone’s life. For some people, their spirituality is more important than others, but it’s a dimension of all of our lives as human beings,” Goossen said.”When they’re in … programming, we do want them to go look for a grain of something that will be helpful for them and disregard the rest,” Goossen added.

Other people who work with addicts hold a similar view.