Spiritual or Faith-Based (Religious) Drug & Alcohol Rehab Programs
According to the University of Utah, prayer was one of the earliest forms of rehab for drug addicts and alcoholics. Spiritual rehab programs believe that prayer is just one type of treatment for addictions. These centers offer specific programs for those addicted to prescription drugs, street drugs, alcohol and certain behaviors as well as those who have multiple addictions. When you choose a program of this type, you should know that spirituality is the foundation of the treatment program.
What Are Faith-Based and Spiritual Rehab Centers?
Faith-based rehabs incorporate spiritual or religious elements into treatment to help individuals struggling with substance abuse leave illicit substances and stay sober. Many adolescents and adults, especially those who come from a religious background, can stay sober for a longer period of time if they have a higher purpose for abstaining from drugs and alcohol.1
One of the first programs that incorporated faith-based elements was a support group called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) which was founded in the 1930s. AA developed its 12-step program that helps individuals stay sober by incorporating theistic elements, such as belief in a greater power that has control over everything around us.2
In general, religious beliefs are an important part of the lives of many people and can help struggling individuals refrain from abusing substances.3 Faith-based rehab gives religious individuals who abuse substances strength to stay sober.1
The benefits of faith-based and spiritual programs were noticed by many government institutions, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA has developed a model for effective partnership between official federal programs and faith-based organizations, called Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI). FBCI helps by supporting several programs that use spiritual values to help individuals regain their sobriety.4
Faith-Based 12-Step Recovery Programs
Some of the more common types of spiritual programs are 12-step programs. This type of program has its roots in Alcoholics Anonymous, which treats alcohol addiction. Narcotics Anonymous started as a spin-off, which focused on treating drug addictions. You can now find programs that treat specific types of behaviors and drugs, including Crystal Meth Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous. If you need help finding a specific type of meeting nearby, call us at and let us find a meeting for you.
These 12-step programs believe in a higher power. The groups do not force any member to believe in God but rather encourage each member to find their own higher power. Others refer to the groups as 12-step programs because each program has a series of steps that members must follow. Before you can move to the next step, you must complete the previous step. Some of the steps that members in these spiritual rehab programs include:
- Turning one’s life over to a higher power
- Admitting you have a problem you cannot conquer on your own
- Making amends to people your addiction hurt in the past
- Helping others follow the lifestyle of the program
- Seeking help from a higher power
Spiritual Inpatient Rehab Programs
The 12-step program does not appeal to all because some find they need dedicated treatment from an inpatient facility. Most 12-step programs take part outside of a drug rehab center. If you need extra support, you may need help from an inpatient program. With an inpatient program, doctors, nurses and other workers watch over you every day. You undergo therapy and group sessions that focus on the reason you started abusing drugs in the first place.
Some inpatient programs utilize the tenants of faith and spirituality. You might begin and end group sessions with a prayer to God, asking him or her for help with your addiction. During your therapy sessions, your counselor might ask you about your spirituality. In spiritual programs, the therapist wants to ensure that you ask God for help and believe that can help you with your addiction.
Many people who complete inpatient programs go on to participate in 12-step programs after they return home. This helps support their ongoing recovery in a spiritual manner.
What Types of Therapies Are Offered in Spiritual Drug Rehab?
Overall, there are three types of interventions that can be done when someone needs to be treated for their substance abuse disorder:2
- Self-help groups
- Counseling techniques
- Professional treatment programs
When it comes to spiritual drug rehab, it doesn’t help with the physical symptoms of SUD. As mentioned before, this is something that is dealt with in detox programs and inpatient treatment. Medication is usually needed to help your body get rid of toxins before you can start a mental recovery.5
Most typical faith-based treatment programs are, in fact, self-help groups, including the AA and other similar communities.2 Their initial purpose was to help those struggling find a welcoming community that shares the same set of values and help them stay sober.1
As for specific counseling approaches, religiously integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a relatively new technique used in inpatient and outpatient treatment. It usually focuses on people who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders such as major depression, anxiety, and PTSD. While CBT is an acknowledged treatment approach for many mental health issues, it can provide better results when integrated with religion or spirituality in some cases.6
What Is the Importance of Spiritual Treatment Programs?
There is empirical evidence that spirituality can help treatment and healing in those suffering from substance abuse. Faith-based communities and approaches, such as 12-step programs, can give a sensitive individual the feeling of unity and support. This is also because many faith-based treatment programs involve not just the patient, but also their family and community.1
Not just that, but many of the faith-based drug treatment programs are on a voluntary basis, which also means they save up to $316.6 billion of taxpayer’s money on a yearly basis.1
Additionally, many faith-based programs, such as the AA’s 12-step programs, have further influenced several non-theistic programs, most notably in Native American Communities or within The Secular Organization for Sobriety.1 Such programs, aided by FBCI, can help not just by battling substance abuse, but also by:4
- Helping provide mental health services for those who can benefit from a spiritual approach.
- Preventing violence among youth.
- Promoting healthy development, both mental and physical.
- Increasing access to treatment.
- Reducing homelessness by helping people from the community find shelter.
- Providing crisis counseling.
Finally, about 86% of people who have stayed with their AA program for 5 years or longer have remained sober for years to come. As AA is one of the biggest programs using faith-based principles, it’s easy to assume that this type of treatment is beneficial to a large group of people.1
What to Expect During Faith-Based Rehab?
Faith-based rehabs can provide comfort for patients who are practicing a religion or who have practiced it in the past.1 They incorporate religious values, which can help some patients find strength and patience to get better.2
While no two types of treatment are the same, you may expect some of the following elements while undergoing faith-based treatment:6
- Renewing of the mind: Christian tradition has something known as ‘Metanoia’, or ‘repenting’. Similar ideas exist in Islam and other large religions. Faith-based rehabs will try to teach you how to change your mind to expect a more positive outcome.
- Prayer: A therapist might ask you to memorize a certain passage from scripture that is relevant to the topic of a counseling session or to the individual. This is known as contemplative prayer.
- Reflections: At a spiritual rehab, you might be asked to think about what caused your substance abuse and then reflect on it so you could make positive changes. This is a common strategy in regular CBT.
- Religious practices: Religious beliefs can be strong motivators that can help individuals change their behavior and habits. As such, clients will be asked to perform religious practices that can help reduce stress.
- Involvement in self-help groups: Most faith-based rehabs will advise their users to join groups such as AA, Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or other 12-step programs.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Religious Treatment Facilities
Depending on the type or length of the addiction, some might find a combination program helpful. Spiritual rehab programs of this type use both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. These programs often require that patients stay at the facility for a period of seven days to one year. After the patient leaves the faith-based drug rehab, she continues to outpatient treatment. She might return to the center for group meetings or sessions with a therapist.
“…many religious addiction treatment centers use 12-step programs as a part of the treatment process.”Some patients find it helpful to combine a 12-step program with an inpatient program. For example, many religious addiction treatment centers use 12-step programs as a part of the treatment process. You attend one or more meetings every week in addition to your therapy sessions and group sessions. These programs can help you stop using drugs, but the programs also offer help when it comes to behaviors associated with your addiction. According to 12Step.com, Crystal Meth Anonymous members had less unprotected sex and fewer sexual partners than they did before starting the program.
Is Faith-Based Treatment Right for You?
This entirely depends on you, your SUD, and your system of beliefs. Faith and spirituality can offer social and personal resources to people looking to get help for their substance abuse. If you choose a program that best incorporates your personal beliefs, you have a higher chance of getting better.1
Some people go to a religious treatment facility because they believe in God or because they’ve tried every other approach and it failed. Others avoid it because they aren’t religious or because faith is what lead them to abuse substances in the first place.1
Still, faith-based treatment is there to deal with the mental and spiritual struggles of substance abuse. The first step should always be medically-assisted detox, which will help your body clear from drugs with the help of medications. This can help with withdrawal symptoms that can halt your recovery.5
The next step is choosing between outpatient or inpatient treatment according to your medical professional’s advice after the initial assessment. Their medical opinion and suggestion are based on the severity of your SUD, how long you have struggled with addiction, and other factors unique to your situation. The treatment can be long-term or short-term.5 This is usually the time when you can decide on some form of spiritual program, depending on the facility itself and your needs.1
Finding Faith-Based Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers Near Me
If you suffer from addiction or you discover that someone else has an addiction, you should get help. We provide help for anyone who needs spiritual rehab programs, including those looking at a program for a friend or relative. Get in touch with us and see how we can help at .
Did You Know?
- According to a survey of Alcoholics Anonymous members, 26 percent of members attend regular meetings for one year or longer.
- The founder of Alcoholics Anonymous claimed that the group had a recovery rate of 50 percent after one year.