Faith-Based Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Programs Near You
Faith is a powerful tool when one is faced with different kinds of life’s hardships, including medical ones. This also holds true when it comes to treating alcohol and drug addiction.
Rehabilitation programs that take into consideration patients’ religious beliefs add a strong weapon to their arsenal – one that can do a lot to ease the journey toward lasting sobriety. Incorporating spiritual guidance with regular medical and psychiatric treatment proved to be an effective approach.1 Having – and keeping – faith in a higher power can make detox, as well as subsequent recovery, seem easier to bear.2
History of Faith-Based Rehab
For a long time, religious organizations struggled with the topic of addiction since it was historically characterized as a sinful choice or a moral defect. Those kinds of views, significantly changed by now, presented a barrier between Christians attempting to contribute to the area of addiction treatment and the secular community. In the late 1800s, the religious experience started being viewed as an antidote for addiction, and during the 1940s, addiction officially became recognized as a disease.3
The origins of Christian rehab go back to the 1800s, when rescue missions emerged, trying to fight addiction using Christian values.3 During the late 19th century, The Salvation Army opened homeless shelters for people battling addiction. They were providing them with meals and a place to stay while recovering, simultaneously teaching them the Christian doctrine.3
Emmanuel Church Clinic (Boston, 1906) was the first documented Christian church rehab program that simultaneously practiced medical and psychological clinical methods and religious teachings. This led to the formation of the Oxford Group, which served as a starting point for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). So even though the basis of AA was initially rooted in Christianity, this organization now invites members to turn to God as they personally perceive him to be.3
Christian-based rehabilitation programs have evolved over the years. Today, they mostly support people in their faith while simultaneously adhering to medically proven approaches to drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
SAMHSA’s Community Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership Program includes more than 800 faith-based community partners among its grantees.1 A comprehensive survey carried out in 2019 found that 73% of substance abuse treatment programs in the United States involve spirituality-based elements, and most of them emphasize reliance on God or another kind of higher power to stay sober. Nearly 130,000 congregation-based addiction treatment recovery programs were included in this study and more than 84% of scientific research shows that religion and spirituality – collectively referred to as faith – are a positive factor in addiction prevention and recovery.2
SAMHSA doesn’t track faith-based or Christian programs in their database of over 15,000 treatment facilities. They claim it’s difficult to define faith-based recovery programs since certain facilities may be funded by a religious organization, but not have inherently religious teachings.3
What Do Catholic and Christian Drug Rehab Programs Include?
Catholic alcohol and drug rehabilitation is not that different from secular rehab. Accredited Christian rehab centers use evidence-based treatments just like other, secular facilities. What makes them different is the spiritual component that they add to their approaches. Counselors and staff members will usually share the same faith as patients. Some approaches will include daily Catholic prayers for addiction recovery, Bible study, or worship, and add them to usual, proven methods (detoxification, individual counseling, group therapy, 12-step programs, and other therapies).3
Just like other addiction programs, Christian rehabs will generally follow a 4-step process:4
- Assessment: Medical and psychiatric evaluation to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. This step analyses factors like family history, the substance of abuse, severity of addiction, and medical or mental health issues.
- Detox: The length and ease of the detox can vary significantly depending on the substance in question and whether the patient is physiologically dependent on it. Detox can sometimes present with intense, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms – especially in case of heroin dependence. Medical staff may prescribe medications to ease the symptoms and prevent complications.
- Addiction treatment: Usually a combination of individual and group counseling, and behavioral therapy, used to identify the problematic patterns that led to addiction and provide the tools to combat the factors that contribute to alcohol or drug use. Recovering patients can participate in 12-step programs and receive the support of peers going through similar experiences.
- Aftercare: Therapists usually work with patients to develop an aftercare plan aimed to achieve long-term recovery. This may include further treatment at a Christian outpatient drug rehab facility, Christian support groups, 12-step programs, or individual therapy.
What Is the 12-Step Model?
Most treatment centers use some form of the 12-step model that gained popularity in the 1970s. It originated from Alcoholics Anonymous, but it doesn’t belong to any single denomination or religious organization. The 12-step method can be tailored to any religion – hence the phrase “God of my understanding”.5 The central idea of AA’s 12 Steps is that SUD patients can’t overcome addiction on their own. Turning their lives over to a higher power and seeking a spiritual path to recovery is the way to gain control of their addiction.3
AA emphasizes that their principles are only “guides to progress” and that members “claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection”. 6,7
- Step 1 suggests that patients should admit they are “powerless over drugs/alcohol”.
- Step 2 begins the process of believing that a Higher Power can help them.
- Step 3 suggests they need to make a decision to turn their will and lives over to the care of God as they understand Him.
- Step 4 – patients make a fearless moral inventory of themselves.
- Step 5 suggests that patients should admit to God, to themselves, and to another human being “the exact nature of their wrongs”.
- Step 6 asks patients to be ready for God to help them with their character defects.
- Step 7 encourages patients to ask God to remove their “shortcomings”.
- Step 8 – patients make a list of all persons they had harmed, and become willing to “make amends to them all”.
- Step 9 encourages members to make amends with those people.
The final three steps provide suggestions for patients to maintain sobriety:
- Step 10 requires patients to be continually responsible for their negative behavior and promptly admit when they are wrong.
- Step 11 emphasizes that members must continue their spiritual growth through prayer and meditation.
- Step 12 – Once patients have completed the other steps and have had a “spiritual awakening”, they are encouraged to help others through that same process.6
How Does the Faith-Based Treatment Recovery Program Work?
Christian rehab centers offer spiritual guidance and support along the journey to recovery. While secular programs don’t address spiritual matters during treatment, in Christian rehabs they’re integrated as an essential part of the process. In addition to doctors and mental health professionals, many Christian rehabilitation centers have priests, ministers, or other religious mentors on staff.3
This type of recovery program is designed to empower patients to establish or restore their faith and relationship with God while addressing their addiction issues. Spiritual leaders are there to provide the support and clarity necessary to work through the obstacles that patients face during recovery. It is believed that overcoming addiction is the process of spiritual transformation by adhering to Christian values.3
What are the Benefits of Catholic Drug Rehabilitation Programs?
The main benefit of this kind of treatment is the spiritual rehabilitation that it aims to achieve in addition to evidence-based clinical methods. Christian drug rehabilitation programs typically use the following religious aspects:3
- Bible study sessions or scripture readings.
- Faith-based 12-step programs.
- Ministerial or pastoral counseling.
- Discussing addiction in terms of Christianity.
Another important benefit of faith-based rehab is the companionship and bonding that forms between like-minded, spiritual individuals. Addiction can make people lose hope and feel lonely or helpless – those suffering from drug or alcohol abuse tend to isolate themselves from family and friends. That’s why a fellowship formed through a safe environment, group support, and Christian values can restore hope and motivation, and increase moral resolve to resist future temptation.9
Most Christian programs incorporate classes, mentoring, individual study, involvement in the Christian community. These activities are meant to replace old patterns of behavior and thinking, and incorporate Biblical teachings, leading to a more fulfilled life that makes it easier to abstain from drug or alcohol abuse and addiction in the future.3
Another important aspect of Catholic addiction recovery is learning to seek forgiveness and to forgive yourself. Christianity certainly doesn’t condone alcohol or drug use, but it does encourage forgiveness and understanding. Making peace with one’s past is a necessary step to help a patient move on to the healing part. Christian approach helps people work daily toward that goal – to learn to face the things said and done, take on responsibility for them, and then finally forgive themselves so they can move forward.8
Holistic Approaches to Addiction Treatment
Some treatments don’t favor any particular religion and base their approach on spirituality in general. A holistic approach to healing includes the healing of the whole self: mind, body, and spirit. A faith-based treatment program may be in a Catholic rehabilitation center and include prayer and Christian therapy groups. But it may also focus on non-denominational healing of the spirit through mindfulness techniques like meditation, Yoga, or visualization techniques that help patients express their emotions in creative and healthy ways. Through expressive therapies such as art or music therapy, patients can discover productive ways to cope with their issues.11
How Long Do the Christian and Catholic Drug Rehab Programs Last?
Most Christian treatment centers offer the same or similar therapies and treatment approaches but vary when it comes to length or intensity.
Patients who choose Christian inpatient and residential treatment centers live in the rehab facility. Doctors, nurses, and other workers watch over them continuously. They attend therapy and group sessions to try and focus on the reason why they developed drug or alcohol abuse issues in the first place.12
Inpatient or residential programs can last 30, 60, or 90 days. Some long-term Christian residential treatment centers prefer that patients stay between 6 months and a year. There’s no exact length of time that is ideal or adequate for everyone since individuals go through treatment at different speeds. Inpatient treatment may also be short-term (3–6 weeks).12
Residential treatment shorter than 90 days is considered to have inadequate effectiveness in the long term. That’s why programs exceeding 90 days are preferred.12 However, the length of the rehab process is a case-to-case decision to be made in agreement with a doctor or counselor.
Many people who complete Christian inpatient treatment go on to participate in 12-step programs. This helps support their Catholic recovery from addiction in a faith-based manner. Spiritual rehab programs can also use a combination of inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. After the patient leaves the faith-based drug rehab, they can continue to return to the center for group meetings or sessions with a therapist.13
One of the leading providers of Catholic addiction treatment services is American Addiction Centers (AAC). Since everybody is unique and has different needs, ACC provides each patient with a multidisciplinary treatment team to evaluate each patient’s substance use history, co-occurring mental health disorders, psychosocial history, general physical health, and possible medical conditions. These evaluations help determine the appropriate level of care. The team assesses each patient’s progress and makes suggestions for adjustments in treatment.
There are thousands of Christian treatment programs throughout the U.S. In the state of Texas, for example, there are approximately 115 registered faith-based providers.3
One of them is the Christian Recovery Program at Greenhouse Treatment Center, part of the AAC network. This center aims to provide the best care options to patients by understanding their physical and mental needs, as well as their spiritual beliefs. This Christian-based rehab center in Texas offers Christian programming that combines spiritual teachings with an evidence-based treatment approach.
How to Select a Catholic Treatment Center?
When choosing between various Christian addiction recovery programs, the faith aspect of healing is only one guideline to be taken into consideration. High-quality rehab treatment centers provide an integrated, evidence-supported approach. Treatment plans need to be tailored to individual patients’ needs. Particular attention should be paid to the overall quality of care, success rates, and other patients’ experiences, opinions, and recommendations. Faith-based treatments that offer ongoing support will help their patients maintain a healthy lifestyle even after the treatment itself.
Patients whose condition requires detoxification will most likely need supervised medication-assisted treatment to make it through the withdrawal phase.
Catholic alcohol or drug rehab centers should fit each person’s needs, so in case you don’t manage to find a rehab center that is exclusively Christian, you may want to consider opting for a facility that strives to help you recover all aspects of your health, including your spirituality.
If you’ve decided to start looking for a way out of your substance abuse, key factors you should take into consideration before deciding on a Christian recovery center include:14
- Track record: You should opt for a rehab center with an already established reputation, well known for offering research-based alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
- Medical staff: Even though you’re searching for a Christian center, it is essential that, apart from the religious or spiritual aspect, they employ qualified and experienced psychiatric and medical staff.
- Accreditations: Reputable state and national agencies issue accreditations to the highest-rated treatment centers, so look for ones accredited by SAMHSA, The Joint Commission, and CARF.
- Partnership with religious organizations: Look for Christian-based rehab centers that are actively engaged with faith-based entities committed to helping with addiction and mental health issues.
Are Christian & Catholic Drug Rehab Centers Covered by Insurance?
Mental and behavioral health services are essential health benefits, so all plans must cover SUD treatment. Your specific health benefits will depend on your state and the health plan you choose.15
Depending on your specific needs and the Christian drug and alcohol abuse treatment you opt for, your insurance coverage can differ.15 Either all or at least part of the Christian rehab can be covered by state-funded programs and insurance.16 There are also Christian insurance programs that use a cost-sharing method – community members donate money to help pay for medical treatments of afflicted members.17 One such non-profit organization is Christian Healthcare Ministries.17
However, most Catholic drug and alcohol rehab centers accept traditional insurance plans. Drug rehab coverage provided by most major insurance carriers (Cigna, Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, MultiPlan, Amerigroup, United Health Care) will depend on your circumstances: the state you live in, the type of insurance plan, or your personal substance abuse treatment needs. They may cover only a part of the expenses, or all of it – if they conclude that it’s medically necessary.15 Medicare and Medicaid can also be used to cover the costs of faith-based rehab, but this also depends on your individual benefits.18
American Addiction Centers is an organization in-network with major insurance providers, and also works with patients who qualify for Medicare and Medicaid.
How to Find Christian Alcohol and Drug Rehab Near Me?
If you’re having trouble finding an appropriate rehab center that will fit your personal needs or just need to gather more information before making a final decision, reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline (AKA Treatment Referral Routing Service) to find out more. They will help you to find referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
Another easy way to explore your addiction treatment options is to reach out to AAC, whose Christian drug and alcohol rehab programs are led by expert medical, as well as spiritual guidance teams. Contact an admission navigator by telephone call, live chat, or get the information you need by filling out an online form.
Frequently Asked Questions