Getting clean and sober isn’t easy. Staying that way can be even harder. You can’t do it alone, but help is available. Options range from 24/7 residential inpatient care to outpatient recovery programs where individuals attend classes and participate in group therapy sessions.
There are also Christian-based recovery programs based on spiritual principles that support the overall program structure.
What Is Christian Drug and Alcohol Treatment?
Faith in a Higher Power is the bedrock of Christian alcohol and drug treatment. Twelve-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are examples of how spirituality can help those with addictions live clean and sober lives.
In AA, clients recover with the help of “a power greater than ourselves.” For most people, that power is God. However, a Higher Power can be whatever you think it is. It can be Buddha, Allah, Jesus or even thin air.
Studies reveal that faith-based treatment programs like AA can help people in recovery to get sober and stay that way. Christian-based rehab is even more effective when it’s combined with traditional science-based drug and alcohol treatments.
What Are Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
Researchers tell us that 50% of individuals with an addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder. A co-occurring disorder must be treated separately from a substance use disorder (SUD).
There are 12-step programs for people with co-occurring mental health disorders. Co-occurring disorders include depression, impulse-control disorder, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
With a dual diagnosis, knowing which condition came first is impossible. Did the mental health issue cause the addiction, or did the addiction cause the mental health disorder?
The two disorders tend to feed off each other. Without treatment, one condition can easily make the other condition worse.
There are mental health conditions that increase the potential for addiction. Drugs and alcohol may be used to relieve the symptoms of a mental health disorder. Over time, a full-blown drug or alcohol addiction can develop.
When someone develops a mental health disorder, changes in the brain predispose that person to develop a SUD. The substances used to self-medicate a mental health disorder can cause additional changes in the brain that predispose a person to develop a mental illness.
Researchers now believe that SUDs can cause mental health disorders, while unresolved trauma can cause feelings that trigger cravings for substances.
Benefits of Christian-based Treatment Programs
Christians in recovery value being with others of like mind who have similar beliefs, goals and challenges. A strong support system, whether at church, AA, or both, is essential for long-term sobriety.
Researchers have found that attending 12-step meetings after treatment for a SUD increased abstinence by about 33%. A study conducted by Baylor University found that religious practices can reduce the use of drugs and alcohol.
The importance of a like-minded support group cannot be overemphasized. People who try to stay sober on their own usually don’t stay sober. Joining a Christian AA group and connecting with others after treatment reduces the potential for relapse.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a “we” program. Members help each other to stay sober. However, the only way we can stay sober is with a Higher Power’s help.
Some people who enter treatment and attend 12-step meetings say that they “can’t get this God thing.” That’s not usually the case in a Christian drug and alcohol rehab.
Helping others is an important part of recovery. Individuals who have found their Higher Power can help others to do the same.
What Happens in a Typical Christian Rehab?
When a new client arrives at the facility, a team of experienced professionals will assess that person’s case. They can then create a personalized treatment plan that’s carefully designed to help the client make the most of their time in treatment.
Traditional Evidence-based Addiction Treatment
Science-based treatments for addiction are listed below. Most Christian treatment centers also offer supervised medical detox, medication management and family counseling.
Trauma resolution therapy
Many treatment professionals believe that addiction is caused by unhealed trauma. If trauma remains untreated in rehab, an individual is unlikely to stay sober.
Clients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have special needs in recovery. A Christian treatment center offering trauma resolution therapy can have a transformative effect on traumatized individuals.
Individual and group therapy
Talking therapy may be the most important treatment component of all. Whether it’s group therapy or a one-on-one session with a therapist, the goal is to provide a safe space where clients can get to the heart of addiction.
When clients feel safe, it’s easier to relax, open up, share and trust the process. Individuals quickly learn that they are not alone on the recovery journey. Many other people have the same problem.
Group therapy helps newly sober clients to bond with each other and to establish a support group as soon as they enter rehab.
Christian life coaching
Prior to leaving rehab, clients are encouraged to develop long-term goals, identify triggers and cravings, learn about relapse management techniques and connect with support groups outside of the treatment facility.
That could mean joining a church, locating the nearest 12-step meetings or participating in a Bible study.
The spiritual model of addiction cites a disconnection from God or from a Higher Power as the basis of all addiction. Those who experience this separation suffer because they are no longer operating in accordance with God’s will, guidance or direction.
Spiritual counseling aims to help clients reconnect with God or the Higher Power. Working on the 12 Steps is an excellent way to reactivate this all-important connection.
Addiction damages the soul. Spiritual counseling helps clients to reconnect with their fundamental Christian values and to behave in ways that reflect those values.
The spiritual life means relying on the strength and power of God instead of relying on ourselves. Making a commitment to live according to spiritual values and scripture is a powerful way to launch a new life of sobriety.
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
ACT is a mindful type of psychotherapy that helps clients to remain in the present moment and accept their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Clients learn to move gracefully through challenging emotional states and to focus on healing instead.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
CBT is an effective method for treating both SUD and emotional trauma. Clients are challenged to modify their thoughts and behaviors, realign their self-perception and redefine how they perceive others.
Program participants learn to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. This practice helps to recover people develop emotional sobriety and experience an overall sense of well-being.
This treatment approach encourages clients to rewrite the negative things they tell themselves. The goal is to expand awareness by perceiving yourself and your life in a more positive way.
Prayer and meditation
Prayer and meditation are the meat and potatoes of a 12-step program. Most meetings begin and end with a prayer. Usually, the Serenity Prayer opens the meeting, and the Lord’s Prayer closes it.
In Step 11, we “sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Rather than studying everything that goes wrong in life, positive psychology is the study of everything that goes right. Instead of focusing on failure, positive psychology focuses on success.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes people happy. What makes their work engaging? What causes people to thrive? What gives their lives meaning? How do they generate positive emotions? What makes them happy in close relationships?
Perception is everything. When clients replace a negative perspective with a positive one and live as though it is true, they are more likely to experience feelings of joy, gratitude, fulfillment and freedom.
How Much Does Christian-based Rehab Cost?
Many Christian-based recovery programs receive funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Christian community programs also receive SAMHSA grants to assist Christians with drug and alcohol addiction treatment costs.
Christian-oriented treatment centers and recovery programs are located throughout the country. Besides doing a Google search for Christian drug and alcohol rehabs near me, you can consult with your church’s pastor or any other minister you feel comfortable with.
Christian community leaders can usually suggest affordable addiction treatment options. They can also recommend faith-based recovery groups in the area. Some state-funded rehab programs provide financial support for people with low incomes. The cost of treatment may also be covered by insurance.
At Long Island Interventions, we can provide referrals for clients seeking additional information about faith-based drug and alcohol treatment. Call us if you have any questions. We are always happy to help.