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Rosary changes lives of 2 women in addiction recovery treatment

Two entwined rosaries, one black and one brownish red, placed on a slab of granite.

John Touhey | Aleteia

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 10/15/23

“I handed her my rosary, and I said, ‘Let's pray this together. I'll teach you how to pray the Rosary, because it helps me.’”

Today Kelli Davis is a staff member with Catholic in Recovery, sharing hope and healing with those recovering from addictions, compulsions, and unhealthy attachments.

Catholic in Recovery offers in-person meetings all over the United States, as well as in Canada and Mexico. Its mission is to support all Catholics who are interested in recovery from addiction and deepening their relationship with Jesus, helping those in recovery know they are not alone. 

Davis’ passion for this cause began years ago, when she was in treatment herself after a hard battle with alcoholism. It was in that treatment program that she shared the Rosary with a newfound friend and changed both of their lives.

“The Rosary helps me”

Praying the Rosary is an important part of recovery for many Catholics, she explained in a conversation with Aleteia. 

“A lot of Catholics in recovery have a really strong devotion to the Rosary and that helps a lot of people through addiction,” she said, sharing that many people in the community commit to praying the Rosary every night. Catholic in Recovery offers virtual meetings (about 30 each week!) for praying the Rosary with a group.

“The Rosary is really helpful especially for people dealing with anxiety,” she said, explaining that anxiety is often a root cause of addiction. 

Her own experience with its power came when she was in a treatment program for three months. Her roommate in the program wasn’t religious, but Davis’s faith came up in conversation one night when her new friend couldn’t sleep. 

“I remember one night she was really showing a lot of anxiety about what was happening in her life and being in recovery. It was new for both of us,” Davis recalled. “She told me that she couldn’t sleep.”

At that moment, wanting to help her friend, Davis did what came naturally to her. She said, “I handed her my rosary, and I said, ‘Let’s pray this together. I’ll teach you how to pray the Rosary, because it helps me.’”

Teaching her how to pray the Rosary

That moment ended up becoming a long conversation that lasted into the night. Davis explained that it was quite a process explaining the Rosary to someone who had never heard of it before.

“It’s kind of interesting to try to teach someone from not knowing anything at all to actually praying it,” she recalled with a laugh. “You know, she asked, ‘Why do we pray to Mary?’ and things like that. So we got through all of that.”

After that, the two of them prayed the Rosary together every day for three months. “Then she became Catholic, and her whole family became Catholic,” Davis said. “This was years ago, but we still call each other and we pray the Rosary together.”

The Rosary has been a lifeline to both women throughout the years. “It’s evidence of how Our Lady can intercede for us,” Davis said. She added that whether or not a person struggles with addiction, the Rosary can help with whatever problems you face. 

“I would encourage praying the Rosary, especially for someone struggling with anxiety,” she said. 

Certainly her own story shows the power of this beautiful prayer. No wonder so many people love to pray the Rosary every day, finding in it the peace and strength that only God can provide. 

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