Faith based treatment is a good option for people who believe in spiritual principles and have had a spiritual practice previously. Typically in addiction treatment, the foundation of a faith based program is that a spiritual experience can be the foundation of healing addiction.

What Does Faith Based Treatment Require?

In many ways the faith based program requires the same things as other programs: that you acknowledge having a substance problem; want to recover and are willing to comply with the structure and policies of the program. Beyond that, a faith based program will require that you

  • accept spiritual definitions of addiction and recovery dynamics.  For example, it is commonly thought that in addiction we are spiritually bankrupt and that in recovery you can be restored to spiritual health.
    A crisis of faith is common in addiction.

    A crisis of faith is common in addiction.

  • participate in individual and group discussions of spiritual principles as they apply to active addiction and active recovery. For example, concepts/practices like humility, Higher Power, prayer and meditation are commonly used.
  • use 12 Step programs and principles. Most faith based treatment programs incorporate principles from 12 Step programs such as AA or NA into their therapies and classes. Most also require their clients to attend 12 Step self-help groups

What if I Have Faith Problems?

This is an issue that only you can have the last word on.  Keep in mind that it is a rare addict that does not have faith problems at the point of needing treatment. Active addiction for most is a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical struggle. Many people have tried multiple times to get better and failed. Many have also experienced severe consequences. People in such positions become angry with God and even come to believe that if there were a God, these types of things wouldn’t happen or prayers would be answered.  Many people say that they used to believe in God, but after going through the difficulties of addiction, stopped believing.

These are crises of faith that are fairly common. What is important, however, is whether you want to make an effort to reconnect spiritually during recovery. Many are able to do so through a faith based treatment program and to continue on through 12 Step participation after treatment.  Some try and are unable to fully recover from their crisis of faith. There is no way to predict how this will work for you, however, if you want to explore it, a faith based program can help you do that.

On the other hand, many people transform their spiritual lives to find a new form. Some previously religious people find a new spirituality through exploring recovery and the 12 Steps that is more meaningful and less institutionalized. Others find that concepts and principles from a faith based treatment program and the 12 Steps blend perfectly with their religious practices. Many are surprised to find that they ‘re-find’ their previous practices and in recovery have a fuller, more meaningful experience there.

Image: Christ in the Garden of Olives, Paul Gauguin