A Faith-Based Approach To Drug Rehab | Pros & Cons
Faith-based drug rehab programs use religious faith to help people recover from alcohol or drug abuse. They encourage people to admit powerlessness over their addiction and to ask God for help. The premise is that substance abuse stems from an internal emptiness that only God can fill.
Research shows that Christian faith-based rehab works, but not for everyone. There are pros and cons to every addiction treatment program, and learning about them can help you decide if faith-based rehab is right for you.
Pros Of Faith-Based Drug Rehab
Most Christian rehab programs follow the 12 steps to recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These 12-step programs require you to believe that a higher power is in control, your life is unmanageable without God, and you need to make amends for your wrongs.
The 12 steps were written in 1939 and have helped many people break free from addiction. They give you a clear path to recovery. Christian treatment programs take away the burden of willpower—you don’t have to be strong enough to heal on your own.
Faith-based drug rehab may incorporate other positive and effective methods:
- Prayer allows you to connect with God and communicate your emotions. You may find strength through believing that God hears you and will help you if you ask.
- Church services allow you to worship God along with others, which can strengthen your faith that He will help you through addiction.
- Devotions are daily readings that focus on how God works in your life. They remind you that God is in control, which can be comforting in recovery.
- Meditation is the practice of reflection on God’s teachings, often in the form of prayer. It can help you discover God’s purpose for your life without drugs or alcohol.
- Support groups, which bring you together with other people who share your beliefs and struggles.
Studies show that recovering individuals with more religious faith tend to be more optimistic and resilient to stress, have less anxiety, and feel more supported by others.
If you’re a religious person, attending Christian alcohol or drug rehab may be vital for your recovery success. For some people who aren’t religious, faith-based addiction recovery may give them the fresh perspective they need to stop substance abuse.
Cons Of Faith-Based Drug Rehab
Faith-based drug rehab views addiction as a moral issue, not a disease. Modern research advocates the disease model of addiction as a treatable problem that isn’t your fault.
Some people feel guilty in faith-based rehab, thinking they aren’t good enough or didn’t try hard enough to avoid addiction. This negative self-image can be damaging to the recovery process.
The belief that addiction is a moral issue also means you can’t overcome it on your own. While relying on God can help, self-reliance and believing in yourself are valuable skills that a faith-based program may overlook.
Some Christian drug rehab centers only offer 12-step-based care with few or no other treatment options. Their programs are one-size-fits-all.
Research shows that the most effective addiction treatment approach includes personalized care and a variety of evidence-based therapies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a foundational therapy for alcohol and drug addiction that may not be available at a faith-based treatment center.
Christian recovery programs depend on your belief in God. Some people may not benefit from treatment that requires faith because it doesn’t align with their values.
While addiction treatment for other religious affiliations is available—such as Refuge Recovery for Buddhism—they can be more difficult to find. The lack of availability may leave you with a limited selection of locations and treatment options.
Is Faith-Based Drug Rehab Right For Me?
Recovery is a physical, mental, and spiritual process. Choosing a program that considers your personal beliefs gives you the best chance at recovery.
This might mean that you go to a Chrisitan treatment facility because you believe in God. Or you don’t because you aren’t religious. But it might also mean that you go to a faith-based treatment program because nothing else has worked.
Whatever you decide, be sure to research a recovery program before enrolling to ensure that it will meet all your needs—not just your spiritual ones.
Substance abuse treatment should address your physical and mental health with things like exercise and behavioral therapy.
You may need to undergo detoxification (detox) before treatment, especially if you’re addicted to alcohol or opioids. Once you’ve completed a recovery program, you may benefit from aftercare.
Whether you choose an inpatient or outpatient recovery center should be based on the severity of your addiction, your relapse history, and the treatment plan you create with a mental health professional. If you have a co-occurring mental illness, that should be considered in your decision as well.
That’s a lot to think about when searching for a drug or alcohol rehab center for yourself or a loved one. At Ark Behavioral Health, we work with you to ensure your needs are met in recovery so you can live a life free from addiction. Contact us today to learn more.
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Belief, Behavior, and Belonging: How Faith is Indispensable in Preventing and Recovering from Substance Abuse
National Library of Medicine - Religious faith and spirituality in substance abuse recovery: determining the mental health benefits
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