Addiction Research

Abstract

A Pilot Assessment of a Spiritual Retreat Program for Homeless Adults in Recovery: Finding One’s Self in a Safe, Sober, and Sacred Place

Joseph R. Ferrari, ShayLin Excell, Matthew A. Pardo, Kendall A. Crum, Trina N. Dao, Angela Dao, Taylor Hamilton, Alyssa L. Luby and Erin Mortenson

Many adults engage in annual spiritual retreats, where they explore their relationship with a higher power. However, few homeless adults (especially those recovering from substance abuse) enjoy this personal service. In the present study, 66 homeless adults (45 women, 20 men; M age = 47.16 years old; SD = 9.98), who reported a history of substance abuse, engaged in a weekend long spiritual retreat program and completed at the end of the weekend reliable and valid measures on self-esteem, loneliness, and hope. Results indicated that there was significant gender difference on loneliness and hope/agency, such that women compared to men reported less loneliness and higher hope-agency (the belief that one has the willpower to change). There were no significant differences for marital status, religion, or housing residence. Taken together, these results suggest that spiritual retreats may impact differently for homeless adults in recovery based on their gender and their race, but not in comparison of other demographic variables. Implications for recovery programs for homeless adults are discussed.