Christianity is the most prevalent religion in the United States, with an estimated 75% of Americans claiming Christian association. Although this is down from the 80% claiming Christian affiliation in 1980, it is still, by far, a vast majority of Americans.
Considering the prevalence of drug abuse and addiction in the country, Christians make up a large swath of those who are struggling.
Christianity and Addiction Background
The history of substance abuse and Christianity is complex, as the religion has historically classified addiction as a series of sinful choices. Christianity, like Catholicism, considers the misuse of alcohol and drugs in an addictive manner, to be a sin, as it is tantamount to not putting God first in one's life.
One of the major tenants of Christianity is to not worship false idols, and the behaviors of addiction do just that; place addiction itself as the idol, to which an addict is beholden.
While there are several similarities between Christianity and Catholicism on the views substance abuse and addiction, there are some key differences in the ways in which Christian addiction treatment approaches the healing of addiction.
Christian belief is, through God, all things all possible, and that includes the affliction of addiction. Although there is a recognition that addiction is partially physical, the root concept is that addicts still cling to addiction because they are refusing to put God first in their lives, which inhibits their relationship with God, and the potential to heal them of their illness.
In the eyes of many Christians, especially those involved in the addiction treatment industry, the process of recovery is two fold; establishing sobriety, and returning to a life of placing God first, and devout prayer.
Perhaps, one of the most well-known connections between Christianity and addiction treatment is the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, in Akron, Ohio in 1935. Alcoholics Anonymous was conceptualized and built on the idea that alcoholism was a malady of mind, emotions, and body. The understanding that alcoholism and addiction in general, are diseases, was not widespread knowledge at the time, but the introduction of Alcoholics Anonymous was the beginning of the massive amounts of research and various approaches to addiction that have been established in today’s world.
Developing from Alcoholics Anonymous, is the 12-step program, which is the most commonly used approach in addiction treatment. It’s guidebook, The Big Book, was introduced in 1938, and distributed to the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. Although the manuscript has several references to a "higher power”, and can be directly linked to Christianity, it is used by countless addiction treatment programs today, regardless of religious affiliation.
Although the 12-step program is used in a non-religious way for many recovery efforts, its base in Christianity makes it an appropriate resource to be used in conjunction with scripture in a Christian drug rehab program.
Christian Drug Treatment ComponentsChristian drug rehabilitation is very similar to traditional drug treatment programs, with the added component of Christ-centered counseling. Like Catholic drug treatment, Christian programs also understand and agree that addiction cannot be prayed away. While they do stress an importance for addicts to return to a life of God, there is a complete understanding of the need for evidence-based methods, such as medically assisted detoxification, and evidence based treatment.
Some of these methods involved in Christian drug rehab programs include the following:
- medical detox from drugs like alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, and stimulant drugs
- Individual therapy
- group therapy
- 12-step program implementation
- dual diagnosis treatment
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- family workshops
- relapse prevention
- chronic pain management
- court liaison assistance
All of the above components are relatively typical in the majority of treatment programs, and Christian drug rehab embraces these methods, which have proven to contribute to successful recovery.
Christian treatment programs aim to bring sobriety and education to their clients, but also provide tools and resources for each individual to get back to his or her spirituality, and a life of placing God first in all that they do.
The belief is that, so long as God is always placed first in a Christian's life, the potential for relapse is far less, than for those who complete treatment without a firm and devout relationship with God.
Some of the Christian based components which are implemented as support in these rehab programs can include:
- pastoral guidane
- bible study
- worship services
- Christian based12-step
Addiction creates a disconnect between the individual and his or her connection with God, which is a direct threat to the salvation of an individual’s soul.
Similar to Catholic rehab programs, the emphasis of a return to the practices of one's devout faith, is the center of a sustained recovery and fulfilled life.
Finding Christian Drug Treatment Programs
It is not uncommon to find religion-based treatment programs, which offer several different religion tracks within one facility, such as Catholic, traditional 12-step, and Christian, allowing individuals to decide which faith, and how intensely immersed in it, their program will be.
There are several other addiction treatment programs which are strictly Christian based, with no other religious affiliation. Within those programs, there may be even more choices, such as men only or women only. While it is more typical in Catholic rehabs, the separation of men and women in a religious treatment setting can be beneficial in avoiding sexual distractions, and remaining focused on faith and recovery.
As with any addiction treatment program, it is important to to research, and understand exactly what each potential program is offering, its certifications and credentials, and the population of the environment itself. For some, an exclusively Christian rehab center is preferred, while others may choose to have a less traditional environment in which they can reconnect to their spirituality and relationship with God in a more informal manner.
No matter how you, or a loved one may have come to a place of disconnection from God, Christian drug rehabilitation programs are available throughout the country, to help re-establish that connection, while providing evidence-based addiction treatment. There is healing in faith, and we can help you to find the program which best speaks to your unique path back to God. Please don't spend another day endangering your soul, mind and body, and call us now. We are here to help.