Considering Religious Recovery Options

canstockphoto1790381-300x221When considering religious recovery options, we must note that the 12 Step programs are spirituality based programs. Defining a program as “religious” indicates its affiliation with one faith, and typically, the practices of that faith as part of recovery itself. While I’ll address mostly Christian oriented recovery programs, simply because that’s what I have the most experience with, recovery is addressed within Judaism, Islam, and many other faiths apart from the Abrahamic traditions. Note that spirituality and religion are not the same concepts. They’re quite different. A person may be both spiritual and religous, or spiritual and not at all religious. Religion is a structured set of concepts and beliefs that seeks to provide ultimate explanations, define morality and ethics, and provide a useful pattern of life. Religion concerns itself with a Deity or deities. Spirituality refers to a person’s concept of the way they fit into the universe as a small part of a larger whole.

Pastoral counseling is one variation of religious recovery treatment. However, a pastor or spiritual minister’s qualifications as a pastor or minister do not qualify them to counsel. Drug addiction recovery is a demanding graduate degree to get. It’s involved and not only requires a lot of “book learning,” but also demands work in the field itself. While a preacher, pastor, priest or minister may be skilled in the areas of theology and divinity, that has nothing to do with their ability to address drug problems.

One program that’s a support group model of recovery based in Christianity is Celebrate Recovery. It’s modeled after the 12 Steps, with one huge difference: the only, and I do indeed mean only “Higher Power” that Celebrate Recovery recognizes is Jesus Christ as He is described and interpreted by the Protestant Christian churches. It’s based in the teachings of Christ as interpreted by the program. Psychological theory, environmental theory–they don’t come into play. The Celebrate Recovery website indicates that while 70% of Celebrate Recovery members come from outside of the church, about 85 percent stay involved in the church as a whole.

There are other approaches to recovery for different faiths I’ll address in time. Islam has one particular program that modifies the 12 Step programs to bring it into align with Islamic orthodox beliefs. This program has been reported to be helpful for sufferers of addiction with the Islamic faith. Buddhism likewise has a treatment approach, as does Judaism.