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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The 15%

I've looked around on the internet for studies of drug diversion programs that work reliably.  In short, I have only found one study that claimed success: 15% of its participants ended up quitting their (self-reported) drug use-

What's fascinating is that this number is also statistically meaningless when it comes to 'success.'  Let me show you why I say this.

The Russian Orthodox Church has around 150,000,00 members.  It is comprised of a little under 30,300 parishes.  That's just under 5,000 people per parish.  15% of that is about 750 people, which is about average as far as the number of people who are served by a typical parish if you count the rolls.

The number is slightly higher for the US, according to the Krindatch report:

The American numbers are going to be higher because we are in a minority status here in the US with lots of alternatives to Orthodoxy, and so adherents are going to be more active and maintaining their faith, as opposed to other places where it can be largely neglected without losing the 'identity.'

What do the two numbers have in common?  As a whole, less that a quarter of the average population is really interested in spiritual matters.  The number usually falls in around 15%.  The rest vary from casual interest to none whatsoever.

Unless you have a program that can successfully weed out people who are not part of the 15%, then you are never really going to get a better success statistic. If you fall below that, then you have to take into account who you are drawing in and what you are doing with them.  But, then again, recovery programs that boast better numbers (like AA did in its inception) also go to great lengths to choose only people who are 15%-ish.  They are usually referred to as the 'willing.'

The problem of addiction is a spiritual one, and so being disinterested in spiritual matters is a real stumbling block to recovery.  Now, the same can be true of lots of other problems: disinterest in diet and fitness will hamper your ability to get your diabetes under control.  However, being disinterested in diet and fitness does not mean they are not still critical for your health.  It is that you have made a choice to be sick rather than take an interest in your well-being.

People make this decision all the time when it comes to religion and spirituality.  They simply don't care enough to explore the matter, even when it is making them miserable.  Like the obese diabetic with severe arterial sclerosis, they would rather die than change.  We bury people all the time who eat themselves to death.  We also see plenty of social problems that would be cured by spirituality, but few people willing to seek out God.

Since we never really know who the 15% are or when they will 'awaken' (or even whether they will stay awake or not over the long haul), we must share the Message with all people and serve everyone equally and without prejudice.

Even seemingly hopeless cases wake up and see the Light...


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