Addiction is a disease that enslaves its victims. Because it changes your brain chemistry and rewires your thoughts, even addicts who desperately want to get clean often can’t do it on their own. You may grow to hate the drug you are addicted to but you keep going back. For the Christian, this might sound familiar. This is similar to the hold sin has over a person. Even the apostle Paul said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
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However, the gospel has an answer to the problem of sin in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He paid the price for sin and has given the gift of salvation to anyone who would accept it. This redemptive message is vital for Christians seeking addiction recovery.
According to recent estimates, about 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 currently suffers from a substance abuse problem, making today’s addiction rates the worst in recorded history. People from all walks of life are losing their health, their jobs, and their families to this disease. And, while those who become addicted to alcohol and drugs experience profound physical, psychological, and spiritual suffering, each addict’s loved ones suffer as well.
When introduced into a family unit, addiction creates mistrust, discord, worry, and resentment, disrupting close relationships.
For anyone who suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction, there are a variety of resources available that can be used to help a person regain mental and physical wellness. Every addict’s needs are different, which is why there are many substance abuse treatment modalities and approaches. However, for Christians, there’s a significant need for faith-based substance abuse treatments offered by Christian rehab centers. But the wealth of Christian treatment options creates another problem: How do you narrow down the countless Christian rehab programs to one that addresses a person’s specific needs?
There are so many options available with few comprehensive resources available to help people choose the right Christian rehab program. That’s why we’ve created this informative guide, which breaks the process of finding the best Christian substance abuse treatment facility down to understandable and easy-to-follow steps while providing the information that’s necessary for you to choose the Christian rehab program you need.
Recognizing You Have an Alcohol or Drug Problem
Determining whether you have a substance abuse problem is the easy part, right? Well, not necessarily.
The lines between substance use, substance abuse, and addiction can be a bit fuzzy, making it difficult to distinguish chemical dependency from chemical abuse.
Although both substance abusers and addicts can benefit from receiving treatment at a Christian alcohol or drug rehab, recognizing whether you or a loved one is a substance abuser or an addict is an important part of choosing the right form of treatment.
Fortunately, there are several behaviors and characteristics that can be used to help distinguish substance abusers from those who have become addicted.
When a person initially becomes a substance abuser, the individual’s substance abuse has not yet been a major imposition on other aspects of life. They continue going to work and fulfill their other responsibilities while only using mind-altering substances during their downtime. By comparison, someone who has become addicted to alcohol or drugs will quickly become unable to meet many of their obligations. They often exhibit reduced performance and attendance at work and become generally unreliable. Additionally, addicts become very easily stressed and overwhelmed, particularly when they are sober. They might even try to use this as an excuse to indulge in substance abuse.
Emotionally, an addict becomes very erratic and unpredictable. People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to exhibit very sudden and seemingly unprovoked mood swings, often going from one extreme to another, such as being happy and suddenly becoming sad or angry. It’s also quite common for addicts to become stressed by things that wouldn’t cause much stress for others. Due to using alcohol or drugs to cope with more and more trivial stressors, addicts become virtually unable to deal with any level of adversity without resorting to intoxicants.
In addition to the physical and emotional effects, there are also spiritual signs that a person has become addicted. The first of these signs is when the person starts to distance themselves from their church because of shame. Generally, there’s a growing sense of guilt when Christians become addicted to alcohol or drugs. They may distance themselves for fear of judgment from their fellow believers.
Have you ever been struggling with a sin or mistake that you can’t seem to shake? You may think that God is angry with you and you are too ashamed to even approach him in prayer. In the same way, the addict may be ashamed to reach out to God or even the church. However, in 1 John 1:9 we are encouraged: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
The family members of a Christian addict will likely notice that the individual has become more withdrawn. After becoming addicted, a person may even begin to avoid loved ones for fear that they may recognize the chemical dependency in some way. Shutting one’s family out may alert them to the presence of a problem, but the idea is that they won’t be able to determine what the problem actually is. When asked probing questions, an addict is quick to become defensive and angry, often deflecting instead of actually answering any of the questions.
Over time, the individual may begin exhibiting behaviors that are very uncharacteristic. In many cases, this will involve dishonesty, lying about where they have been, or where they were going. Meanwhile, other uncharacteristic behaviors will likely be observed. For most people who have become addicted, there is an increase in risk-taking and recklessness, which results from an alcohol or drug problem making an addict feel as though they’re invincible.
In most cases, people who develop addictions soon distance themselves from their social groups. This tends to happen when the addict’s friends don’t abuse alcohol or drugs themselves. Instead of maintaining these friendships and dealing with their disapproval, an addict will typically leave that social circle in favor of one that consists of users.
An abrupt social shift is most apparent when it seems the individual is no longer associating with the people who had previously been his or her very close friends. Although there are many reasons why a person might change their social group, the sudden and seemingly inexplicable ending of multiple friendships—especially when the person is exhibiting other signs of a substance abuse problem—is often a cause for concern.
As addicts get deeper into substance abuse, sustaining an alcohol or drug habit requires more of their income. Once the individual has no more money that can be put toward substance abuse, they will often turn to other options to get more money, even stealing. In fact, an addict’s loved ones are often the victims of this thievery, finding that their money or valuables have suddenly come up missing.
However, over time, this desperate behavior may escalate until the addict becomes willing to break into homes, rob strangers, or even steal from stores in order to supplement their substance abuse funds. This is actually one of the primary reasons why addicts commonly face criminal charges and jail time. While this level of criminal behavior tends to be most common among people who have been addicted to alcohol or drugs for a length of time, it’s important to be aware that addiction is a likely explanation if members of a family begin having money and other valuables go missing.
People who become addicted to alcohol or drugs tend to have a difficult time maintaining employment. Even people who have spent years developing and establishing their careers have lost it all due to a substance abuse problem. Whether it’s because of poorer performance, increasing absences, being intoxicated on the job, or failed drug screens, those who become addicted are typically unable to keep their jobs or find gainful employment. Because of their chemical dependence, they’re often limited to minimum-wage positions and working for companies that don’t screen applicants for substance abuse.
What Is a Christian Rehab Center for Substance Abuse?
When most people think of treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction, they often imagine the sterile, clinical rehabs in which the patients receive an extensive amount of psychotherapy. While it’s true that psychotherapy and counseling often serve as a significant component of addiction recovery programs, there’s much more to it than simply counseling.
In fact, there are a wide variety of treatment approaches intended to address a very wide variety of patient needs. With many Americans identifying themselves as Christians, it makes sense there would be a substantial need for Christian rehab program and other recovery resources for Christians.
However, calling a treatment facility a “Christian rehab” doesn’t really convey what that rehab can offer Christians who are suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction. That is why we now shift our focus to the explanation of what a Christian rehab center is and what types of addiction treatments Christian rehab programs can offer you or your addicted loved one.
As a disease, addiction is unique in that it’s simultaneously physical, psychological, and spiritual. This is what has made the treatment of addiction so complicated. Although there are many techniques that can be used, they tend to only address one aspect of the disease. Therefore, addiction recovery is often broken down into a series of steps, and, for many people, the first step of the process is detoxification.
Not every single addiction requires detox treatment, but it’s recommended to most people who are entering recovery. Substances like alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines are known to cause an intense physical dependency, which means that someone addicted to one of these substances will experience intense withdrawal if they were to abruptly cease substance abuse. In fact, these withdrawal symptoms are one of the primary reasons why addicts fear the recovery process, but detoxification doesn’t have to be a painful or unpleasant experience.
Detoxification is a process through which a person’s body is cleansed of alcohol, drugs, and any other toxins or substances that prohibit a state of optimal physical health. Therefore, the goal of a Christian detox program is to help you to break the physical dependence you’ve had on alcohol or drugs by cleansing your body.
Christian detox treatment is designed to make patients as comfortable and relaxed as possible during the process, which is possible with continuous, 24-hour supervision and personal care. Through combinations of hydration, nutrition, and medication—mild benzodiazepines, muscle relaxants, or sedatives, which help you to relax and aid with sleeping—you will progress through detoxification and achieve a state of physical wellness and stability.
Christian detox treatment takes an average of seven to 10 days, but any patient’s detox could potentially require more or less time than average. Everyone is different and recovers at their own pace, so the main objective of Christian detox programs is to help reach the point of no longer being physically dependent on alcohol or drugs. After completing a Christian detox program, you’ll be ready to transition into a form of Christian addiction treatment.
There are several types of Christian treatment programs for substance abuse and addiction, but inpatient rehab is the most effective and intensive form of treatment for Christian addicts. Christian inpatient rehab refers to a program in which a patient lives on-site at the facility for the duration of the program, which offers a number of benefits over forms of outpatient treatment.
However, what’s unique about Christian inpatient rehabs compared to other rehabs is the Christ-centered approach to addiction recovery. At a Christian rehab center, inpatient programs consist of clinical, evidence-based treatments and therapies combined with the philosophy and teachings of scripture. This form of treatment has proven to be especially empowering as patients are able to strengthen their relationship with God, through the study of his word, especially as it applies to recovery.
After spending an extended period of time in active addiction and feeling profound guilt and shame, patients are able to gain a deep understanding of God’s love and forgiveness, helping them to heal and begin forgiving themselves. Moreover, patients in Christian inpatient rehab can begin to extend that love and forgiveness to others such as people who have wronged them.
In addition to the emphasis on Christian values and ideals, Christian inpatient rehabs provide patients with a safe, alcohol, and drug-free environment in which to adjust to sobriety. Since a person’s social group and environment are often contributors to the development of an addiction, separation from those peers and environments eliminate the possibility that they’ll interfere with the recovery until such a time as the patient can resist that temptation.
Moreover, an inpatient Christian rehab affords individuals with round-the-clock care and supervision as well as much more time to receive treatments. Typically, a Christian inpatient rehab consists of individual counseling, group therapy, relapse prevention training, and a number of other possible supplements. However, Christian rehabs also usually offer religious services, Bible study groups, and other such activities.
Most Christian inpatient programs last between one and three months, but longer-term inpatient and residential programs can be much longer than that, like six months to a year. The length of a patient’s Christian inpatient program is usually determined during the intake process and depends on things like the substance of abuse, length of time spent in active addiction, whether there’s a family history of addiction and other factors.
Although inpatient treatment is considered the most effective form of treatment, it’s naturally not going to be the optimal treatment solution for everyone. Many people are hesitant to enroll in inpatient treatment, either because they’re intimidated by the prospect of residential treatment or because of other commitments like a strict work or school schedule or being a parent or a caretaker that prohibit them from being away at rehab for an extended period of time. However, anyone who’s unable to go to an inpatient Christian rehab while wanting the intensive level of treatment that inpatient rehab offers can choose a Christian partial hospitalization program.
A Christian partial hospitalization program is an attempt to offer the best of both worlds by combining features of both inpatient and outpatient programs. Specifically, partial hospitalization programs for Christian addicts consist of almost the same level of treatment intensity as an inpatient program, but in the form of an outpatient program. This means that patients don’t live on-site during treatment and, instead, are able to commute to and from Christian rehab. For anyone who’s obligations and responsibilities prohibit an extended absence, a Christian partial hospitalization rehab could be an ideal solution.
Typically, a partial hospitalization program for Christian addicts takes place between five and six days per week for between five and six hours each day, although this can vary slightly depending on the facility. Additionally, patients will participate in individual counseling, psychoeducational group sessions, relapse prevention training, and skills-building sessions.
Like inpatient care, Christian partial hospitalization programs emphasize identifying the spiritual and emotional deficits that caused a person to become addicted in the first place, helping them to establish a stronger faith while arming the individual with practical skills and strategies that will allow them to remain abstinent after returning to the community.
Some addictions are less severe than others. While that doesn’t make them much less dangerous or destructive, it can potentially mean that such an addiction wouldn’t require treatment of inpatient-level intensity. For addicted Christians who are otherwise in good physical health, don’t suffer from any comorbid disorders, and have a safe, supportive, temptation-free home environment, a Christian intensive outpatient program (IOP) could be a great recovery option.
An intensive outpatient program is a small step down from partial hospitalization in terms of treatment intensity. Like Christian inpatient and partial hospitalization care, Christian intensive outpatient programs incorporate scripture and Christian ideals into the traditional, clinical addiction treatment curriculum.
This type of treatment program usually takes place three or four days per week for approximately four hours each day. As such, intensive outpatient programs for Christians represent the most flexible treatment option that offers more than basic-level treatment intensity. In fact, many Christian rehabs will coordinate a patient’s intensive outpatient treatments around their work schedule or familial obligations.
Additionally, many individuals use intensive outpatient programs combined with inpatient and other forms of programming. For instance, a patient who enrolls in and completes a Christian inpatient program may choose to immediately follow inpatient treatment with partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. This allows recovering addicts the opportunity to extend their treatment periods and the structure of rehab as they return home or transition into a sober living facility.
For those with mild addictions and a very stable, supportive home environment, Christian outpatient care could be all that’s needed. Outpatient care allows patients to commute to Christian rehabs for each day’s treatments. However, Christian outpatient care is most effective for those who are very dedicated to their recoveries and determined to have a positive outcome. Outpatient care for Christian addicts tends to be recommended to first-timers who have never been in a treatment program before and who have only been addicted for a short period of time.
As is the case with other forms of Christian treatment, Christian outpatient programs have a strong focus on the ideals and philosophies of Christ as well as in incorporating scripture into traditional addiction treatments. With outpatient care offering far fewer hours of treatment than other types of rehabilitation programs, Christian outpatient care will typically entail group sessions and relapse prevention training from a Christian perspective, emphasizing the importance of establishing a strong relationship with God and with utilizing one’s family and congregation as a source of support and inspiration.
Outpatient care for Christians can be shorter in duration with as short as one to two-month programs, but there is also longer-term Christian outpatient care such as Christian support programs and community-based offerings.
Types of Christian Rehab Programs
Christian rehab programs are available in a variety of settings all over the country, from Christian tracks as a part of larger treatment facilities to small and intimate 12-step meetings. The message of the gospel can be of tremendous help to people suffering from alcoholism and drug addictions. There are many types of Christian rehab programs, but here is a summary about the three main varieties:
Christian Alcohol Rehab
Because of its availability, alcoholism has remained one of the most abused substances in the United States. It has permeated our culture to the point that you will probably see multiple alcohol advertisements every day. Plus, binge drinking on a college campus is almost seen as a right of passage.
However, alcohol use disorders can cause a number of health problems with short and long-term use. Long-term use of alcohol has been linked to heart disease, liver disease, and even psychological and cognitive impairments. As an addiction, alcoholism is difficult to overcome on your own, and withdrawal symptoms can be potentially dangerous, including delirium tremens which is fatal around 25 percent of the time without medical treatment.
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Christian Drug Rehab
After AA pioneered the 12-step program and brought the idea that addiction is a disease that requires help and support from something outside yourself to the forefront of society, other organizations applied the program to other addictions. Narcotics Anonymous was formed and brought the message of giving your life over to God (or merely higher power) to addiction to drugs.
Opioids, in particular, are linked to an increased likelihood of crime because of a desperate struggle to placate addiction. In fact, heavy opioid users are more likely to commit crimes than users of other common substances like alcohol and cannabis. Because of the effect drug use can have on a life, there is no clearer example of the need of the redemptive message of Christ on the cross.
The standard 12-step program, which is one of the most common treatment methods, takes a vague approach to the acknowledgement of a higher power. However, today, 12-step programs have an explicitly Christ-centered alternative. Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program variant that was founded by John Baker, a pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.
Celebrate Recovery takes the original 12-steps and employs the same basic principles of AA but specifically seeks to do the will of the God of the Bible, rather than a nondescript higher power. The first of their six core values is that “Jesus Christ is the one and only Higher Power.” Each of the 12 steps is backed up by a verse from scripture.
Financial Aspects of Christian Substance Abuse Treatment
Those who become addicted to alcohol or drugs must become ready for recovery on their own. While in active addiction, there are a number of concerns addicts have that make them hesitant or resistant to the recovery process, one of which is the financial aspect or the cost of treatment.
The perception is that a quality, effective addiction treatment is going to cost much more than the individual is willing or able to pay. However, there is more flexibility with regard to the financial component of recovery than you think.
Anyone in need of Christian substance abuse treatment can either pay out-of-pocket, have their private or government health insurance plans cover treatment, find scholarships and grants for treatment, or look into taking out a loan.
- Out-of-Pocket Payment. The most obvious—and least desirable—option is to pay for treatment out-of-pocket. However, there are many Christian drug rehabs that offer flexible payment options or a sliding scale, which adjusts the cost of treatment based on a patient’s ability to pay.
- Treatment Covered by Health Insurance. Ever since the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (ACA), substance abuse treatment has been included in the essential benefits covered by the majority of private and government health insurance plans. As such, anyone who has some form of health insurance is likely able to have Christian addiction treatments either paid for, either in full or the majority of it.
- Scholarships and Grants. Many don’t know this, but there are actually scholarships and grants intended specifically to pay for addiction treatment. There are some at the state level and it’s common for treatment centers to offer scholarships and grants to incoming patients who can demonstrate the need. The great thing about scholarships and grants is not having to pay them back.
- Loans That Cover the Cost of Treatment. In addition to scholarships and grants, there’s also the possibility of taking out a loan to cover the cost of treatment. This may seem like another undesirable route to go, but there are actually a number of lenders whose loans are specifically for people going to rehab. As such, they offer great rates, often don’t require the first payment until after you’ve been out of rehab for a while, and a number of other perks that make them a competitive, viable option.
Choosing a Christian Treatment Center FAQ
We’ve compiled a lot of information in this guide to choosing a Christian rehab, including how to identify addiction, distinguishing different types of Christian addiction treatments, and defining the rehab payment options that are available. However, when it comes time to choosing your Christian treatment center, here are five specific questions that many people have that will help you to choose the best rehab for your specific needs:
While it’s true that luxury Christian rehabs have more to offer, they’re not necessarily more effective. With a luxury facility, the difference is mostly regarding the accommodations. Patients often have private rooms with private bathrooms, TVs, and luxurious furnishings. However, the treatments that are most beneficial for addiction recovery will be much the same at luxury rehabs and all other rehabs.
This is a very common misconception. Many people in need of treatment assume that inpatient treatment isn’t an option because it would require an extended absence from work that they wouldn’t want to explain. However, there are options available that can help in most instances. For instance, most major companies offer employee assistance programs (EAPs), which allow employees to take a leave of absence while they complete a treatment program without their direct bosses or supervisors being the wiser.
There’s also the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which is a legislation that gives employees the right to take an unpaid leave of absence to take care of family or personal emergencies. Moreover, there’s the possibility of using vacation time to go to rehab as well as executive rehab centers, which offer inpatient programs that allow patients to remain a presence at work through the use of the Internet and webcams.
The cost of a Christian addiction treatment program can be extremely affordable or cost tens of thousands of dollars. For the most part, the cost of a program depends on the features offered by the Christian rehab, which might include close proximity to desirable locales like the beach or having luxury services for patients. However, there are Christian rehabs available to fit just about any budget.
Going to rehab isn’t like going to prison. You’ll not be forced to part with your family until you’ve completed treatment. The number of times you’ll see your loved ones mostly depends on whether you choose to attend a rehab that’s close to home—meaning that they can easily travel to and from your rehab—or one that’s too far away for them to visit often. And while they likely won’t be able to simply drop by whenever they want, there’s always ample time allotted to patients for visitation with loved ones.
Recovery isn’t like most other tasks for which the harder you work, the quicker you can get finished. It’s always a good idea to give your recovery 110 percent, but that won’t allow you to, for example, complete a 90-day program in half the time. If you enroll in a 90-day program, you’ll finish that program in 90 days no matter how hard you work. But again, it’s always a good idea to try your best as it’ll mean having a better chance of achieving indefinite sobriety.
Your Guide to Finding Addiction Recovery Programs For Christians
In your search for an addiction recovery program that emphasizes Christian beliefs and values, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind as you do your research. First and foremost, these treatment facilities have a framework that is based on Christian 12-Step principles. While traditional 12-step principles do touch on spirituality and finding God or the concept of a “higher power” of your understanding. Christian 12-step based recovery program integrate Scripture into step work. This helps to reinforce a strong sense of spirituality and connection to God into the recovery process.
The following is also unique to Christian-based addiction recovery:
- Individual counseling, that addresses the shame, guilt and forgiveness common in addiction.
- Primary group counseling sessions which are led by a Christ-centered and trained counselor.
- Regular bible study to help clients explore God’s Word and apply God’s teaching to recovery.
- Attendance at local church services to build fellowship and community.
- Christian-based family counseling and therapy that helps the family unit heal as a whole.
While these unique features should be present in the addiction treatment programs you are looking for, you should not forget that the best Christian addiction recovery programs also feature those essential services that all treatment centers have. These key services include medical detoxification, options for both inpatient and outpatient treatment based on need, evaluations for dual diagnosis, life and coping skills training, relapse prevention teaching, as well as quality aftercare programs.
Ocean Breeze Recovery Can Help You Recover from Substance Abuse
Addiction is a very serious disease that has destroyed countless lives. Fortunately, there are a number of programs and other recovery resources available that afford anyone who has become addicted with the means of regaining their health and happiness. Living in a state of active addiction causes you to drift further and further away from your loved ones.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and is seeking a Christian-based track for rehabilitation, Ocean Breeze Recovery is here to help. We believe that anyone has the ability to overcome the physical, psychological, and spiritual effects of addiction as long as they are provided with the right resources.