Substance abuse can cause physical pain, mental torture, and—for some—a feeling of spiritual emptiness. For struggling addicts and alcoholics with strong faith or religious backgrounds, that faith may come into question.
There are a variety of addiction treatment options that include a spiritual component. Holistic rehabs focus on healing the body, mind, and spirit. The well-known 12-step programs of recovery center around a higher power of one’s own understanding. But, these options don’t always address the deeper sense of faith that some people have.
Perhaps you or someone you know is ashamed to ask for help with substance abuse because of religious beliefs. Perhaps you’ve tried other treatment programs and been disappointed. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, a faith-based rehab can help harness your faith on your road to recovery.
The Philosophy Behind Faith-Based Rehabs
Faith-based treatment focuses on a spiritual solution to drug and alcohol abuse. Their philosophy is that addiction is a result of spiritual emptiness and that drugs and alcohol are used in an attempt to fill that void. The belief is that you can fill that void with the help of God or a higher power, and overcome addiction by strengthening your faith.
What Happens at a Faith-Based Rehab?
There are traditional methods of addiction treatment, which are also used by faith-based rehabs. There are inpatient faith-based rehabs, where individuals live at the treatment facility. They will be safe from any relapse triggers that they might face at home, receive intensive therapy daily, and have access to 24/7 care and support. There are also faith-based outpatient services, where people attend scheduled therapy sessions and groups while maintaining their daily lives.
Clients first go through an intake process, with physical exams and a medical history report. Many facilities offer medical detoxification services, for individuals who need detox to safely remove any alcohol and drugs from the body.
With their bodies and minds clear of mind-altering substances, clients then participate in a variety of addiction therapies—in both individual and group settings. Therapy sessions are geared towards understanding the underlying causes of addiction, so clients can process the different physical, emotional, and spiritual pains that have led them to addiction. Many addicts and alcoholics also deal with mental illnesses and behavioral disorders, and faith-based treatment centers can help with any needed therapy or medications.
Therapy sessions are conducted by licensed treatment professionals. At a faith-based treatment center, you will learn similar tools for staying sober that are taught at non-spiritual rehabs. It’s important for addicts to learn how to manage difficult thoughts and emotions, learn better coping skills, and how to prevent relapse.
In addition to these tools of sobriety, faith-based rehabs have a unique focus on spiritual principles.
What’s Different About Faith-Based Rehabs?
Faith-based rehabs emphasize your relationship with God and its role in your healing, while non-spiritual rehabs focus on a variety of root causes for addiction.
In addition to addiction therapy sessions, faith-based rehabs also provide educational groups that teach spiritual principles and how they can guide your recovery. Clients often participate in religious study together, and there is a focus on prayer and meditation.
All faith-based treatment centers are different. Some will place more emphasis on faith than others. Some will focus on different religious beliefs or denominations than others.
Faith-Based Treatment and Your Religious Beliefs
Each faith-based treatment center is designed for people with a particular religious belief.
For example, a Christian treatment center will approach recovery from a Christian perspective, grounded in Christian spiritual principles. They focus on clients overcoming addiction by strengthening their relationship with Christ.
There are many different options for faith-based treatment—like Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist treatment centers. Each is geared towards different beliefs, cultural practices, and religious backgrounds. For this reason, if you or a loved one is interested in a faith-based treatment center, it’s important to do your research and ensure that the facility’s philosophy will align with your beliefs.
The Benefits of Faith-Based Rehabs
For people with a strong grounding in their religion, there are some major benefits to faith-based treatment:
By choosing a faith-based rehab, you’ll know that the facility will share your values. The therapists and clinical staff will be better prepared to support you because they’ll understand what’s important to you in life. Whether you’re seeking forgiveness or feel ashamed about your addiction because of religious principles, the staff at a faith-based treatment center can help with your spiritual concerns.
In general, there’s a powerful sense of empathy and understanding when you’re immersed in a group of fellow addicts and alcoholics. At a faith-based treatment center, you’ll also share spiritual beliefs with everyone in the program. You can share experiences and build friendships. Through your time at a faith-based rehab, you’ll also see that many people of your faith struggle with addiction—not just you. Some friendships continue even after treatment is completed.
In a faith-based rehab, you may start to see your addiction differently. You will realize that you are not alone in your struggles. You will meet people with stories that inspire you, and you will also inspire other people. Some people of faith embrace this ability to help fellow sufferers, and it gives them a new sense of purpose. This feeling of a purpose or destiny can be useful to maintaining a sober and happy life.
Finding the Right Faith-Based Rehab
With so many different kinds of faith-based rehabs, it’s crucial to know what you’re looking for.
Most important is to find out exactly what religious beliefs the facility adheres to, as well as what religious practices the program requires. You may want a facility with firm religious practices, or you may prefer a broader view of faith. In either case, you won’t feel as comfortable in treatment if you disagree with the rehab’s spiritual foundations.
A faith-based rehab should combine its spiritual foundation with psychological principles, to effectively treat all aspects of addiction. Some faith-based rehabs also have opportunities to participate in recovery support groups, like 12-step groups. Whether you’re interested in these groups or hesitant about them, it’s important to ask the facility’s personnel what they offer.
Lastly, quality treatment facilities will provide options or resources for aftercare arrangements post-treatment. When an inpatient stay is followed by outpatient treatment, chances of long-term sobriety improve. Sober living homes are safe, structured environments where recovering people can live as they transition from the cozy bubble of inpatient treatment back into the real world. If faith-based aftercare options are important to you, ask any rehabs that interest you about what they offer.
Treatment will just be the start of a lifetime in recovery, but you don’t have to suffer any longer. Whether you’re battling addiction or watching someone you love struggle, help is available—and you can find it at a treatment center that incorporates your faith.