Faith-Based Drug Treatment Centers
Religious organizations are institutions that many turn to for support in times of need. Throughout history, these organizations have provided people with counseling, shelter, food, and other services.
These traditions remain strong today. According to a national survey by the Pew Research Center, 77% of American adults believe that religion plays an important role in their lives.1
Faith-based recovery programs are an ideal option for people of strong faith. Religious faith can serve as a strong backbone for recovery and help people avoid relapse. Faith-based rehab programs are available for people of all faiths, including Christian, Jewish, and others.
What Is a Faith-Based Treatment Center?
Faith-based recovery programs combine spiritual guidance with evidence-based approaches to addiction treatment. These programs employ many of the same services as standard rehab programs, including detoxification, individual therapy, and group counseling.
Faith-based treatment centers are guided by spiritual beliefs. Participants are encouraged to strengthen their relationship with God through daily prayer, devotions, and study. Staff members at these treatment centers also typically share the faith of the center. For example, the clinicians at a Christian rehab center may be Christians themselves.
Spiritual Approach to Recovery
Spiritual treatment centers make your relationship with God a primary focus of your long-term recovery.
Part of the philosophy behind this type of rehab is that people often start using drugs and alcohol to fill a void in their lives. Faith-based rehab helps people open themselves up to God to find fulfillment. Spiritual treatment centers make your relationship with God a primary focus of your long-term recovery.
These rehab programs are very communal experiences. You participate in group therapy sessions with other people that share your faith and support each other’s efforts to make positive changes. You also discuss the relationship between your faith and your sobriety.
You will find a compassionate, supportive environment that values the role spirituality plays in your addiction treatment. You might study scripture that relates to recovery and positive change. Or you might simply engage in reflection and personal prayer. Many programs also offer behavioral therapies and provide counseling based on scripture.
Features you might find at faith-based treatment programs include:
- Worship services.
- Time for prayer.
- Scripture study.
- Meals in keeping with the faith tradition (kosher, for example).
Faith has long been a hallmark of recovery programs. The 12-step support groups that many treatment programs follow are based on the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which are rooted in faith. The 12 steps encourage people to focus on accepting that they are powerless over their addiction and surrendering to a higher power that can provide help and guidance.
When you first arrive at most Christian recovery programs or other faith-based treatment centers, you will undergo a medical and psychological evaluation. Clinicians will assess your needs and then develop a treatment plan that outlines your journey from rehab to aftercare. Most programs last 28–90 days, but they can last longer.
Most people with substance abuse problems start with a detox program. Some recovery programs offer inpatient detoxification services. Detox can be made more comfortable with a doctor’s medical support. In many cases, medically supervised detox is also the safest way to stop using drugs and alcohol.
General services you might find in faith-based rehab include:
- Assessment. You will be medically and psychologically evaluated by clinicians.
- Detox. You will be supported, sometimes with medicine, through the withdrawal process.
- Treatment planning. You and the treatment staff will make a long-term plan for maintaining recovery.
- Individual counseling. You will meet one-on-one with a therapist for talk therapy. You will discuss your unique circumstances and work through issues that may be driving your substance use.
- Group therapy. A therapist will facilitate a discussion between you and other people struggling to overcome substance use disorders.
- Recreation. You will engage in structured activities, such as hiking, yoga, or games.
- Relaxation. You might enjoy personal meditation or prayer.
- Aftercare. Clinicians will help you develop a plan to maintain long-term sobriety after you leave rehab.
Finding a Program
Think about whether you would be more comfortable in a single-faith program, such as one that is exclusively Jewish or Christian.
Think about the type of services that are most important to you. Many recovery centers offer faith-based programs, but they are not exclusively spiritual. Think about whether you would be more comfortable in a single-faith program, such as one that is exclusively Jewish or Christian.
Pay attention to what type of treatment approaches the center uses in addition to its spiritual components. Many addiction treatment programs use evidence-based approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Research shows that CBT is very effective in the treatment of many addictions. 2
Other factors to consider include:
- How much will it cost? Insurance might cover some or all of the cost.
- Do you need to be close to home? Or maybe you prefer the beach or the mountains. Some facilities are in more scenic locales.
- Do you want a mixed-gender program? Single-gender programs are also available, and many people prefer these.
- Do you need treatment for depression, anxiety, or another mental health problem? If you are struggling with a psychological issue, you might prefer a dual diagnosis program that can treat mental health disorders and substance abuse.
- What are the credentials of the staff? Besides sharing your faith, what other qualifications do the staff have?
- The Pew Research Center. (2014). The U.S. Religious Landscape Study.
- McHugh, R., Hearon, B., and Otto, M. (2010). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 33(3):511-525.