Most people have at least heard of the disease concept of addiction, but they’re often unsure of what, exactly, it means when someone calls addiction a disease. Based on the research that has accumulated over the past century, we know that addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease, characterized by altered structure and functioning. These physical and functional changes cause a person to become obsessively fixated on seeking and imbibing self-destructive behavior, even in spite of the negative consequences that result from such behavior. In other words, addiction is a brain disease that causes people to behave in ways that actually at odds with what’s in their best interests.
Before we amassed extensive addiction research, the consensus was that those who exhibited problematic substance use were consciously choosing not to control themselves, causing others to see them as being bad or immoral people who clearly lacked a close relationship with God. As a result, most addicts were confined to prison or asylums since it was thought this would force them into sobriety while the threat of additional punishment was supposed to discourage them from continuing their substance; however, many of those who were punished for their substance abuse quickly returned to their former substance abuse anyway. Clearly, there was something more to substance abuse than it seemed, some sort of underlying process that forced people to behave so irrationally.
Since then, rates of addiction have climbed at an alarming rate. It’s estimated that there are approximately 25 million Americans over the age of 12 who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, amounting to about one in ten, or 10 percent, of the U.S. population. And although many people associate substance abuse and addiction with immorality and a lack of faith, the fact that at least 83 percent of Americans identify as Christian would imply that a significant number—perhaps even the majority—of addicts would likewise identify as being of the Christian faith. Therefore, it follows that there would be a high demand for Christian-based addiction treatment programs, and when you consider how ubiquitous twelve-step programs have become as well, the incorporation of both Christianity and the twelve-step method into an addiction treatment program could be the perfect marriage of ideology and methodology for achieving long-lasting sobriety.
The effects of addiction are numerous and diverse. Although it originates in the brain, its effects attack the rest of the body as well as the mind. In fact, it even affects all the people in an addict’s life. As such, overcoming an addiction requires finding some way to addresses these numerous effects. We know that the disease can’t be cured, but there are treatments and therapies available that have proven to be highly effective in alleviating many of this disease’s effects. However, not every form of treatment is optimal for everyone who develops an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Another resource that’s been highly effective is the twelve-step method.
Created in 1935, the twelve-step method was conceived as the blueprint for mental, physical, and especially spiritual recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous and, years later, the many derivative programs that would emerge. A person who joined a twelve-step program was encouraged to find a sponsor who would serve as the individual’s tutor and mentor. The twelve step method is so-named because it consists of twelve individual steps that serve as the stepping stones between the point of active addiction and the point of sobriety. However, while clinical addiction treatment programs have tended to focus on the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, twelve-step programs make spiritual healing a priority.
There has been a recent trend of incorporating the twelve-step methodology into clinical addiction treatment programs in an effort to make treatment more comprehensive and to address the spiritual effects of addiction that are important to many people. Although the twelve-step method has traditionally had a non-denominational focus on spirituality, it’s also a versatile form of recovery that has lent itself well to being adapted for various demographics and systems of belief. In particular, the twelve-step method and Christianity are very complementary with many of the steps being analogous to Biblical scripture. Therefore, twelve step-facilitated Christian addiction treatment programs offer a Christian-based approach to clinical treatment that has incorporated the highly effective twelve-step method. These programs still offer what are widely seen as the core or essential components of an effective addiction treatment program—psychotherapy, psychoeducational and interpersonal process group therapies, relapse prevention training, support for dual diagnoses, and other such clinical treatments—but with the inclusion a twelve-step method that has been adapted to be Christ-focused rather than simply and generally spiritual. As such, twelve step-facilitated Christian treatment programs address the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of addiction while also having a strong emphasis on resolving feelings of guilt or shame, reconnecting with Christ, and returning to a state in which Christian ideals and values take a central place in one’s daily life.
It’s estimated that there are approximately 25 million Americans over the age of 12 who are addicted to alcohol or drugs, amounting to about one in ten, of the U.S. population
of Americans identify as Christian would imply that a significant number—perhaps even the majority—of addicts would likewise identify as being of the Christian faith.
In a standard addiction treatment program, recovery occurs when a person is provided with the sufficient emotional and behavioral tools to not only become sober, but also remain abstinent. With most clinical programs having a cognitive-behavioral perspective at the center of its treatment model, helping a person to become abstinent for an indefinite amount of time is achieved through behavioral means since this requires the breaking of one habit—substance abuse—and the learning or adoption of a lifestyle that is alcohol- and drug-free. This has been an effective format for many, but with a significant number of addicts being of the Christian faith, it’s likely that this behavioral approach wouldn’t be sufficient. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help a Christian to identify bad habits, but it’s less helpful when it comes to feelings of guilt or shame that often push Christians into substance abuse in the first place.
Therefore, a Christian addiction treatment program is better able to address the emotional and spiritual issues that may have contributed to the development of an addiction, which is similar to psychotherapy helping individuals to overcome the past experiences and developmental issues that can sometimes be at the center of an addiction. Moreover, most people of faith report that their relationship with God becomes a major source of strength that helps them to persevere during times of difficulty. Additionally, satisfying one’s spiritual needs as part of the recovery process tends to have a much greater effect on a person’s overall outlook, helping them to feeling more fulfilled and optimistic or confident about the future.
Conquering spiritual emptiness is made even more possible by the incorporating of the Twelve Steps into a treatment program. Over the course of the Christ-focused Twelve Steps, a person accepts powerlessness to alcohol or drugs, submits and appeals to God for the strength to overcome addiction, and begins looking further inward, identifying any defects of character and appealing to God for help in overcoming them. In effect, many of the Twelve Steps are things that a person would do over the course of Christian-based recovery, but through a series of sequential steps that are to be completed in a very specific, deliberate way. Progressing through these steps, Christian addicts will begin identifying anything they might have done to others while in the throes of active addiction and attempt to make amends for them. In Christianity, a person repents and attempts to right his or her wrongs in order to show the strength of his faith and to prove his love of God and others. In fact, exoneration and redemption are overtly Christian concept that’s communicated at countless points throughout the Bible and, therefore, would obviously be an important part of recovery for any Christian addict.
Addiction is a progressive and complex disease, and in order to successfully address and overcome substance abuse you need to seek professional help. For many who are caught in the tight grip of drug addiction, the tools, support and encouragement that are found in drug & alcohol treatment programs will give them the best chance of experiencing a meaningful long-term recovery. There is no doubt that addiction treatment programs are a foundation for a successful recovery, but trying to find the perfect drug rehab that fits your unique and specific needs can be a frustrating challenge. With all the treatment options that lay before you, knowing where to turn and who you can talk to can be difficult.
There are many different forms of treatment—and even many different types of Christian treatment—because everyone who develops an addiction has his or her own specific needs. In other words, every addict’s ideal treatments or program is different. And even though there are a variety of different forms of recovery programming, there’s also much potential for customization on a program-by-program basis. However, when it comes to recovery needs of the spiritual- or faith-based variety, a twelve step-facilitated Christian addiction treatment program has a number of components that are completely unique to this type of programming. And while almost any addict would find some level of benefit from this type of treatment program, there are certain people or certain needs that would benefit from twelve step-facilitated Christian programming the most.
If you’re someone to whom their faith or being a Christian has been an extremely important part of their life, a Christian addiction treatment program is ideal. All faith-based treatment centers operate according to the same Christian principles that are likely to be important to you as well, using faith as the foundation upon which the rest of the program rests. In such a program, you’ll be encouraged to talk about your faith and spiritual needs while professionals with demonstrated experience in Christian recovery programs will help you to return to a place of spiritual fulfillment and meaning. Many people turn to substance abuse as a response to being in a spiritual deficit, which refers to feeling like one’s relationship with God has weakened or been broken altogether. In a Christian program, restoring one’s connection with God is an important aspect of recovery that will facilitate the success of most other types of treatment.
There are many benefits of enrolling in a program that not only offers a Christian emphasis, but also uses the twelve-step method as a template for your addiction recovery. Millions of people have found the Twelve Steps to be an instrumental part of their recoveries, and this method would be made exponentially stronger when combined with the belief system and Christian values that are important to you. Additionally, the twelve-step method emphasizes personal growth and self-improvement as well as community and fellowship, all of which have shown to be instrumental to a lasting recovery. If you’re someone who feels that deeply-rooted personal issues could threaten future sobriety, a twelve step-facilitated Christian treatment program would help you to actualize your potential as a healthy and spiritual being.
There are many benefits of a twelve step-facilitated Christian treatment program.
If you’re still wondering whether a twelve step-facilitated Christian addiction treatment program is right for you, consider the numerous benefits that this form of treatment has to offer. Perhaps most importantly, attending a twelve step-facilitated Christian program offers the opportunity to receive detox treatment prior to beginning actual treatments. It’s important to break the physical dependence that you might have to alcohol or drugs before beginning the therapeutic curriculum so you could begin treatment free from the withdrawal symptoms that are associated with the abrupt cessation of substance abuse. In the detoxification phase of recovery, you’re afforded a period of time—generally between a week and ten days—during which you can relax and receive round-the-clock care by physicians and detox technicians who want only to make you as comfortable as possible. By the end of detoxification, your body will have been cleansed of alcohol, drugs, and any other harmful toxins, and in this physically stable state you’ll be able to thrive in recovery.
Another major benefit of twelve step-facilitated Christian programs is the emphasis on community. In twelve-step programs as well as the Christian faith, a person often feels a strong bond to those around him or her due to having come from similar backgrounds, had similar experiences, or a similar system of belief. Therefore, enrolling in a twelve step-facilitated Christian treatment program offers each patient a built-in support network of encouraging, empathetic peers to whom you can relate.
Moreover, the period of treatment in a twelve step-facilitated Christian program provides a period of separation from the home environment, which is where you and other patients are likely to have developed your addictions. Safe from the influence and temptation that are likely to be present at home, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving sobriety and learning how to sustain it through a combination of behavioral and spiritual strategies.
It’s estimated that there are more than 15,000 addiction treatment facilities in the U.S. today. On the one hand, it’s reassuring to know that of the many possible facilities, there’s sure to be a selection of programs available to meet even the most specific needs. However, this means that one must sift through these thousands of facilities—each of which are likely to offer several different types of programming—in the hope of choosing the one that’s most appropriate for certain needs.
Instead of leaving such an important decision to chance, Ocean Breeze Recovery can help. We have created an extensive network that consists of the best and highest quality addiction treatment facilities in the country. With a brief consultation and assessment, we can match anyone who is suffering from alcoholism or addiction to drugs with the program that’s optimal for their circumstances, preferences, and needs. When matching individuals with rehabs, we account for a variety of attributes such as the length of time spent in active addiction, whether there’s a family history of substance abuse, the substance to which the person is addicted, location, medical history, and other such factors. If you or someone you love would like to end the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering, call Ocean Breeze Recovery at 855-960-5241 and speak with one of our intake coordinators. Whether it’s day or night, we’re here to help you begin the journey back to health and happiness today.