Faith Based vs Secular

Faith Based Addiction Treatment

Importance of Alignment Between Faith Beliefs and Treatment

Yes, believers get caught up into alcohol or drug addiction, too.  Drug and alcohol dependency does not discriminate between people based on their religious and spiritual beliefs—or the lack of them.  Addiction is addiction, period, but treatment programs that specifically tailor their message and methods around a specific set of beliefs are an important option for many.

The solace that one’s religion or spiritual practice provides in times of difficulty is particularly important to an individual battling a drug or alcohol addiction.  The spiritual aspect of the battle can be addressed in a faith based addiction treatment program, which is an important supportive element in the recovery process.

 Spiritual vs Secular Addiction Treatment Programs

Choosing an addiction treatment rehabilitation program should be done with utmost care.  When basic philosophical views are taken into consideration in the selection process, a better treatment outcome can result.  For example, some individuals bristle at the suggestion of a Higher Power or God or Jesus within a 12-step program, where others are deeply offended at the absence of a spiritual element.

Since there are so many options available now for addiction treatment programs, why not make this important distinction for the facility where a month or more will be spent.  There are different faith based treatment programs that specialize in Christianity, Judaism, Catholicism, LDS (Mormon), and holistic (i.e. New Age) philosophies, to name a few, so the first step is to select one that fits one’s personal religious beliefs.  Other things to consider when evaluating the various faith based addiction rehab options include:

  • The program’s spiritual principles, and how they are integrated.

Not all faith based addiction treatment programs are the same.  For example, Christian-based programs can incorporate Christianity into their programs in different ways.  One may include prayer meetings, prayers at meals, visits from a pastor, and a Christian 12-step program (versus the vague “Higher Power” verbiage in AA’s program), whereas another may emphasize Christian music, Bible studies, and include a weekly church service.  Knowing the specifics of a program with regard to the integration of the spiritual component will help an individual find a good fit that aligns with their spiritual comfort level.

  • Is the psychological counseling also faith based?

The field of psychology is a secular one, but there are clinical psychologists who are believers and therefore incorporate religious beliefs into their therapeutic program.  Some will begin and end a therapy session with prayer.

  • Faith based versus secular treatment elements

In many addiction treatment facilities today, adjunct therapeutic elements are available to reinforce and broaden the treatment program results.  Some of these practices may be in opposition to certain belief systems.  For example, yoga is often included in secular addiction treatment programs, but this would not be a practice that some believers would approve of, based on the eastern religious philosophy yoga encompasses.

Faith-based After-Care

Once discharged from a faith-based treatment center, it is important to seek continuing fellowship and support in recovery with others of a similar set of beliefs.  Even selecting a sponsor, if that is part of the post-treatment strategy, should be done with care.  A sponsor who does not value the same set of spiritual beliefs may do more harm than good.  Some of the faith based addiction treatment program options include:

  • Recovered Through Christ. This program states clearly its principle beliefs right there on its home page.  This program uses the basic 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, but fine-tunes the Higher Power language to specify Jesus Christ and God in its steps.
  • Celebrate Recovery. This program was formed at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church by a lay pastor named John Baker about 25 years ago.  Celebrate Recovery merges the 12-steps of AA with biblical citations.
  • LDS 12-Step program. This program was formed by the LDS (Mormon) Family Services in 1993.  It also bases its program on the steps of AA, but adapted them into a framework of the doctrines, principles, and beliefs of the Latter-day Saints.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous. This popular program first formed in the 1930s and has about 2 million members worldwide, and is a spiritually-based program.  These days the 12-steps use the terms ‘Higher Power,’ or ‘God as you understand him,’ but the program was originally Christian.  Still, its 12-steps are based on biblical principles and each meeting ends in a prayer.

Let Us Connect You to a Faith-based Program. Learn about Faith Based vs Secular Treatment.

The Treatment Specialist can guide you to the leading faith based addiction and recovery program based on your personal spiritual beliefs.  Our team will assist you in matching you with a program that best aligns with your value system.  Contact us today for a free confidential assessment and insurance verification at (866) 644-7911


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