A drug addict or alcoholic should, of course, be told that the taking of drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden in Bahá’í law, and he will have to do whatever is necessary to break himself of the addiction. You may find it necessary and helpful to put him in touch with organization which specialize in helping such cases. If a case is severe you may have to warn the person that if he does not overcome this problem within a reasonable time you may have to consider depriving him of his voting rights.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 74)
Bahá’ís in Recovery Fellowship is a group of Bahá’ís who, as individuals, share a belief in the Bahá’í teachings and the 12-step process (similar to the methods of Alcoholics Anonymous) of recovery from substance addiction. Although “BIRF” is not sponsored by any Bahá’í institution, the National Assembly is aware of its activities and has no objection to individual Bahá’ís working with it. Thus, while the National Assembly does not endorse the ideas or methods of BIRF, it recognizes that individual Bahá’ís and Assemblies may find the services it offers useful in dealing with the problem of substance abuse.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, September 11, 1991).
Cleanse from your hearts the love of worldly things, from your tongues every remembrance except His remembrance, from your entire being whatsoever may deter you from beholding His face, or may tempt you to follow the promptings of your evil and corrupt inclinations. Let God be your fear, O people, and be ye of them that tread the path of righteousness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 275)
Food, drink, shelter and a degree of material comfort are essential, but human beings cannot and never will find fulfillment in these necessities. Nor is contentment to be found in the somewhat more intangible material attainments such as social recognition or political power. Ultimately, not even intellectual achievement satisfies our deepest needs.
(Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Oct, Turning Point For All Nations)
O ye, God’s loved ones! Experience hath shown how greatly the renouncing of smoking, of intoxicating drink, and of opium, conduceth to health and vigour, to the expansion and keenness of the mind and to bodily strength. There is today a people [possibly ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was referring to the Sikhs; the description appears to apply to them] who strictly avoid tobacco, intoxicating liquor and opium. This people is far and away superior to the others, for strength and physical courage, for health, beauty and comeliness. A single one of their men can stand up to ten men of another tribe. This hath proved true of the entire people: that is, member for member, each individual of this community is in every respect superior to the individuals of other communities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 150)
Place not thy reliance on thy treasures. Put thy whole confidence in the grace of God, thy Lord. Let Him be thy trust in whatever thou doest, and be of them that have submitted themselves to His Will. Let Him be thy helper and enrich thyself with His treasures, for with Him are the treasuries of the heavens and of the earth.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 234-235)
The National Spiritual Assembly was very pleased to learn of your plans for the Bahá’ís in Recovery Programs, and hopes that you will continue to be able to provide such loving and understanding support to Bahá’ís suffering from alcoholism.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States to an individual, 19 May, 1987).
There is no objection to Bahá’í being members of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is an association that does a great deal of good in assisting alcoholics to overcome their lamentable condition. The sharing of experience which the members undertake does not conflict with the Bahá’í prohibition on the confession of sins; it is more in the nature of the therapeutic relationship between a patient and a psychiatrist.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1993 Feb 7, Issues concerning community functioning)
When a person enters the Faith with a known substance addiction, the role of the Faith is to provide spiritual support and opportunities for transformation. There are a variety of approaches to overcoming addictive behaviors and believers should be encouraged to avail themselves of private counseling, public agencies and other means.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 6)
Whenever we recall His Sayings and read His Writings, hope springs in our hearts and gives us the peace that no other material comfort can give.
(Custodians, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 106)
While the problem of addiction to alcohol or other substances can, indeed, have a medical component as such addictions normally require medical treatment to overcome, as far as the Bahá’í Faith is concerned substance abuse also involves issues of morality and Bahá’í law. There is no moral distinction drawn in the Bahá’í teachings between the social use of alcohol and drugs and the abuse of those substances by individuals who have become addicted to them. The method of treatment may be different, but the prohibition against the use of such substances applies equally to both the casual user and the addict. While the medical aspect of the recovery process is left to the expertise of competent medical and mental health professionals, the Bahá’í institutions do have a responsibility to counsel the individual about the Bahá’í laws and to protect the good name of the faith. This sometimes requires that an individual suffering from alcoholism or abuse of other substances will be deprived of his or her administrative rights.
(From the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to a Local Spiritual Assembly, October 18, 1990.)