Christian based rehab centers have become a popular resource for those struggling with drugs and addiction.
It’s not just Christians recovery centers that people flock to recovery, there are many other faith based recovery programs and spiritual rehabilitation options available nowadays.
In January 2001 president George W. Bush signed an act called the Access to Recovery program (ATR).
This executive order was designed to allow faith-based organizations to apply for federal funds that gave them ability to provide addiction treatment, among other faith-based social services.
Since this expansion, faith based organizations have been able to spread and even provide free programs for addicts in need. (Today about one half of all federal addiction treatment funds go to faith-based organizations.
Faith based drug rehabilitation methods have evolved to harness both the power of faith and new found cutting edge medical sciences to apply together in helping address America’s huge nationwide societal issues involving alcohol and drug use. There is a serious effort to help individuals and their families overcome and conquer substantial hurdles to their wellbeing caused by drug use.
Currently, the largest faith-based organizations that receive this funding are:
- The Salvation Army
- Lutheran Social Services
- Catholic Charities
There are also many smaller private recovery centers – both inpatient and outpatient – that operate under a faith based recovery protocol. Many were created after president Bush signed the ATR mandate. These smaller programs can be targeted to specific issues – for example there are some facilities that just focus on Christian alcohol rehab and recovery. Of course, there is also the ever popular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Program, which has become very popular here in the West.
As with the treatment of all illnesses, there is a place for spiritual and faith-based approaches.
When properly integrated with proven treatment methods, faith-based approaches can enhance treatment and improve recovery rates.
It must be emphasized that spiritual counseling should not be used alone, as addiction is a very tricky thing to address.
Many addiction programs have realized this, and are actively combining previously proven as well as new and innovation methodologies to maximize recovery rates that help drug users going through recovery to maintain their recovery.
If faith-based addiction treatment programs are to succeed, they need to be held to the same standard as all other addiction programs. And this has been acknowledged by the major forces in spiritual recovery, as many have followed suit with other non-faith based recovery protocols by requiring processional licensing and accreditations for their programs.
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2.) Common Tenants of Modern Faith Based Addiction Recovery Models
Addiction is a bio-psychosocial illness that causes serious spiritual problems. To improve ministerial effectiveness, it’s important for faith-based recovery programs to carefully examine their basic beliefs about addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Recent medical and scientific research shows that addiction is a multidimensional problem requiring a broad base of multidimensional treatment intervention.
Addiction is not primarily a moral or spiritual illness. Many good people with strong spiritual programs can and do become addicted. Many addicts, especially in the late stages of their disease, are physically debilitated, psychological impaired, socially dysfunctional, and spiritually bankrupt. Spiritual approaches are important, but by themselves are insufficient to produce and sustain recovery.
Addicts are sick people who need to get well. They should not be chastised as sinners who need to repent, bad people who need to become good, or criminals who need to be punished. Addiction is a illness that can afflict any individual and needs to be treated as such. Christian inpatient rehabs must remember this when housing patients of addiction.
Quality treatment needs to be assured in all forms. Faith-based treatment programs should all be held to the same standards for facilities, clinical program, and staff credentialing as other treatment programs.
Spiritual Addiction Treatment should be available to all – regardless of monetary status. There are many free christian based drug rehab centers available that provide support to those in need who cannot support themselves. This is a fundamental tenant of most spiritual traditions to support all humans in need regardless of societal status.
Christian or other spiritual addiction recovery is a long term process, just like any other form of addiction recovery. Cathartic spiritual conversion may be a first step, but without a progression of specific steps in recovery – relapse is likely to occur. This should be remembered and remain a constant reminder, regardless of recovery methodology.
When addicts start to recover they are usually physically ill among their other ailments. All successful treatment programs should be based upon the principle that people get well “from the inside out.” In other words, physical healing must come first, then psychological healing, then social healing. While christian and other faith based drug rehab programs might carry a stronger emphasis than others on spirituality and filling the religious void in peoples lives – the body and it’s physical form should be emphasized in addressing an initial approach to a cure.
3.) Properly Addressing the Spiritual Crisis and Accompanying Needs of the Addict.
With true addiction comes a loss of meaning and purpose in a life.
Addicts often believe that they have lost all of their personal power, and that there is no higher power that can help them with the crisis. They are alienated from the God of their understanding of personal salvation.
In other words, most addicts who are experiencing a motivational crisis have consciously rejected the idea of God. They don’t believe that God can or will help them.
With A Christian or other religious approach to addiction treatment, this skepticism is addressed with a call to embrace a religious approach in exchange for helping to meet their survival needs.
The challenge is privately many people still often feel manipulated and exploited. As a result, most will leave the program as soon as possible, usually to relapse. The hopes of most spiritual programs is to address this underlying skepticism and bring it down to low enough levels that the therapy can progress.
A common method of recovery centers is to first offer the addict a strong dose of unconditional Christian love – without any expectation or manipulation strung to it. This is a breathe of fresh air for many addicts, as most are used to more abusive and coercive interaction with people, especially from those who have tried to help them in the past.
4.) A Strong Emphasis on a Drug Abusers “Powerlessness” Over Drugs.
This is one of the more controversial methodologies that some faith based recovery programs focus on.
The theory goes that addiction is an incurable disease and we do not have control over.
The goal is to help the addict to see that whenever they put alcohol or drugs in their body, they do things that make their problems worse, not better. And that the actual choice to use these drugs is beyond their ability to regulate, so they must turn over their will to God and have him decide.
Many people take to this approach well. But some don’t.
Particularly challenged by this method are teenagers. Many already struggle with growing up and to hear that they are less powerful than they may have already thought…
Even when they hear this from a supportive faith based rehab center – they can still get really down on themselves.
But when an individual surrenders, it can help. There are plenty of individuals who have given up drugs for decades after making this decision to surrender themselves to God’s will. And they’re lives are now spent helping others to do the same.
What’s most important to remember in this model is:
- The things we do have control over. how to manage our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We also have the power to work in a rational and systematic way to solve problems and to develop effective and loving relationships with others.
- And the things we don’t – the ability to control people, places, things, or events.
We have to focus our energies upon doing things that are within our power, and then turning over everything with faith believing that all will be as it should, and knowing that we couldn’t do anything about it anyway.
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5.) Relaxation and Prayer
The ability to consciously bring relaxation to the body and mind is paramount in learning to gain self control.
With self awareness we can become accustomed to the feelings coursing through us that usually lead one to turn to abuse.
Through pray and breathing practices one can welcome their discomfort – instead of running from it. The uncomfortable feelings that usually lead to overwhelming mental self talk can be addressed directly – without a person spinning out into disarray.
Mediation is the process of reflecting upon yourself as a spiritual being and the your relationship with the God of your understanding. Once in a meditative state, prayer becomes possible.
Prayer is the process of putting oneself into an active dialogue with the God of your understanding. It involves dialogue – mentally reviewing important issues in your life and asking God to open you mind and heart and to help you see how they should be handled.
With these efforts of establishing a non-controlling awareness of what is going on around us can can become free of the grip that our sensations previously had over us.