Getting Sober / Staying Sober

Christian Rehab

What Is A Christian Rehab ?

Most rehabs will offer some part of their treatment program or focus on the spiritual aspects of recovery.

Some will be more forthcoming than others, emphasising that the spiritual element of a 12 step program is an important one in any recovery.

Others will play the spiritual element down a bit, realising that the overall God question is perhaps the biggest bloc for many people in the recovery.

The above descriptions applies to what could be referred to as mainstream rehabs.

These are very different to what is commonly referred to as a Christian rehab, although there are some who would dispute this term.

One has to be very careful when using the term Christian, as there are many people who will use the term very differently, and have very different meanings for it.

Christian Rehab

With relation to a Christian rehab, there are many of these treatment centers who advertise themselves as Christian rehabs with a particular emphasis on certain areas of recovery.

Generally speaking they promote themselves as being long-term recovery projects, where the emphasis is mainly on a purely religious understanding of alcoholism and subsequent recovery.

Most of these rehabs will avoid totally the 12 step process, and focus instead on an extensive program of prayer sessions, Bible readings, so-called faith initiations etc.

A lot of these rehabs will offer long-term programs, sometimes in the region of 6 to 9 months.

They will also offer low-cost accommodation, and promote the so-called Christian activities as free, meaning that someone can enter this program with relatively little money for a long period of time.

Needless to say these so-called Christian rehabs attract a lot of criticism, in two distinct areas.

Mainstream Christianity often takes the view that this type of religious activity is an extreme form of religious doctrine and indoctrination.

It takes people who are extremely vulnerable and in need of help, and uses that vulnerability as a way of recruiting them into a much more fringe view of religious activity.

The other criticism that these rehabs attract is not quite so generous in terms of its interpretation of religion.

These rehabs are seen as recruiting grounds for a number of the major churches in America, a number of which are regarded as very cult like or having a very cultic dynamic.


It is certainly true that a number of these so-called Christian rehabs are attached to or part of much larger Congregational churches, many of which are regarded as evangelical, but also regarded as quite cult-ish.

Given the nature of these types of churches, who unashamedly believe in recruiting members as part of their evangelical approach to ministry, it is quite natural that most people who understand the nature of alcoholism and recovery are fairly wary of that approach.

This is a quite different issue to the perfectly valid one of whether this type of religious indoctrination is essentially abusive, but raises an equally valid issue of abuse in its own right.

Whilst much of the work itself, or the motives of people who work there may have some genuine love and compassion in it, the reality is that these types of rehab do offer the potential  for a significant amount of abuse.

This is because the people they are offering help to are extremely vulnerable and in need of low cost effective treatment.

A regimen is offered that not only has no clinical basis for its program, but also potentially acts as a recruiting ground for many much larger organisations.

People who work in the mental health field have serious reservations and concerns about this tupe of rehab and its treatment programs.

Anyone who would describe themselves as a Christian, or is looking for some element of religious or spiritual input into their recovery, and is looking to enter a rehab, would do well to firstly avoid these so-called Christian rehabs.

It is a perfectly valid question to ask more normal mainstream rehabs, as to what their approach to religious and spiritual activities is, and what extent these are built into their addiction treatment programs.

Rehabs will vary widely, and it should become fairly apparent which ones are more suited to the needs of someone with a particular religious inclination than others.


What is a Christian Rehab ?

Anyone looking for a Christian rehab will generally be doing so for one of two reasons.

The first reason is that they want a rehab that is purely faith-based or Bible based, the second reason is that they want a more traditional rehab, but one that is focused on spirituality and/or a Christian based approach to addiction recovery.

The issue of spirituality and belief in God has been at the core of recovery from alcoholism since the early experiences of Alcoholics Anonymous members. It has also been one of the defining issues in terms of both helping people and alienating people from the process of recovery.

As with any approach to recovery, it is important that the person looking for help has some clear understanding of what to look for. Any rehab offering help must comply with certain local and national requirements and regulations. A rehab should also employ a significant number of qualified clinical staff who can help assess the individual entering rehab to see if there is a need for a medical detox.

The rehab should also be able to either oversee such a medical detox if needed, or have other arrangements with a local clinical facility who can oversee the detox on their behalf. This is crucially important for any rehab as many people entering rehab will be withdrawing from the effects of alcohol and/or drugs, and this needs to be managed in a safe and secure clinical environment.

Once any detox has been done, the work of the rehab is to help the individual to understand the nature of alcoholism and other types of addiction, and to give individuals some grounding in the various approaches to recovery that the rehab advocates to help the individual rebuild their lives in the context of staying clean and sober both in rehab and once they have left.

The majority of rehabs will take a therapeutic approach that is based on the 12th program of Alcoholics Anonymous. A number of rehabs will also offer a wide range of other addiction treatment programs that should be clinically based, that should be evidence-based and should be based on extensive experience of what works.

A Christian-based rehab is normally a rehab that very specifically refers to itself as being Christian-based or faith-based. It very clearly sets out its addiction treatment program as being based on a belief that Jesus Christ, and belief in Jesus Christ is the only real source of salvation, and that this belief will be central to all the therapeutic work that is done in this type of rehab.

A Christian rehab can vary quite widely as to its structure and type of environment where this work will be done. Some Christian rehabs will opt for the traditional thirty-day model that most normal rehabs offer, with varying degrees of structure and rigidity in terms of living environment, personal possessions, access to phones and Internet etc.

Christian Rehab

Other Christian rehabs will offer a much more controlled and rigid environment, and although they are open and upfront about this, this model should be considered carefully before entry into it. Often this type of Christian rehab will offer an extensive and free recovery process with a enrolment period of up to 9 months.

There is likely to be a very strict regime where there is no personal contact with the outside world, no direct contact with anyone at all.

This type of Christian rehab very tightly controls the behaviour, the information and the environment that the individual will live in for these nine months. After the nine months is finished the individual will be expected to continue as part of the broader church that will be associated with the rehab and contribute to it in various ways.

This type of environment can at times be quite cult like, and should be guarded against. Any rehab should be freely entered into, and the client should also have the option or freedom to leave if they don’t like it. A rehab is not a prison, and whilst leaving early can have serious complications and consequences, it is nevertheless a freedom that the client should retain.

A Christian rehab that is faith-based and focuses exclusively on a biblical approach to recovery is a perfectly legitimate option for anyone seeking this. This type of rehab may or may not incorporate some of the approaches of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step organisations.

Most Christian rehabs will offer fairly intensive levels of Christian counselling, as well as a fairly intensive structured programme of daily Bible study groups and prayer groups.

A number of Christian rehabs will also be linked to various churches, and these churches should offer additional support through prayer and pastoral work to the individual once they are in rehab, and once they have left.


Christian Drug Rehab Programs?

Anyone looking for a Christian drug rehab program should be aware that the main focus of the rehab or the unit is likely to be on the term Christian rather than a specific drug addiction treatment program.

Rehabs that refer to themselves as Christian rehabs are in the main a different type of treatment center or rehab to what could commonly be referred to as a mainstream rehab. This is because the focus of a Christian rehab, including Christian drug rehabs, offer a different approach to dealing with drug addiction and alcoholism and other types of addiction.

Christian drug rehabs are very often part of a much wider church community, of a Christian variety that could easily be referred to as that of born-again Christians. This type of Christianity is very fundamentalist. That is not a judgement, but simply pointing out that anyone entering a so-called Christian drug rehab program should be aware that the rehab is likely to be linked to an part of a much wider and bigger church community.

The programs offered by Christian drug rehabs are invariably Bible based, sometimes referred to as faith-based programs. In practice this means that the daily regimen for people who are in such a rehab is likely to be intense sessions of Bible study, worship services, personal prayer and meditation, focused exclusively on Christianity.

It is also very unlikely that a Christian drug rehab will embrace or promote commonly accepted forms of treatment such as those pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

Christian Drug Rehab Programs – 12-Step Programs

The traditional model used in drug and alcohol rehab programs is that of an adaptation of the 12 step process used in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Whilst rehabs tend to adapt the principles involved in this 12 step model and promote them as their own addiction treatment programs a Christian drug rehab is unlikely to do this.

Quite often such a rehab will see 12-step programs as effectively a dilution of what they perceived to be a pure faith-based approach to addiction.

A Christian drug rehab programme is likely to appeal to someone who considers themselves to be a Christian in the context of how a born-again Christian would define themselves.

Such Christian drug rehab programs may or may not be effective depending on the rehab and their level of clinical staffing. In any event it is crucial important that a Christian drug rehab is able to offer a medical detox and be able to supervise such a detox safely from a clinical point of view if it is required by the individual.



What are Christian Treatment Centers?

Anyone looking for Christian treatment centres needs to be aware that there are three potential areas or avenues to look at and check out what particular type of rehab is most appropriate.

A number of rehabs or treatment centres defined themselves as being specifically Christian, and these are likely to take an approach to recovery from alcoholism and other types of addiction that is specifically Bible based.

This means that these types of rehabs and treatment centres are unlikely to be involved with organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or other 12-step fellowships.

These types of Christian treatment centres employ a very specific focus on the Bible and believe salvation through their approach to christianity as being the only real effective method of recovery from alcoholism and other types of addiction. This type of rehab is likely to appeal to anyone who considers themselves what is effectively a born-again Christian.

These types of Christian treatment centers and rehabs are likely to be heavily subsidised by a church that will be part of the recovery process for the individual, and attached to the rehab. It is likely that the time intended for the individual to spend in such a Christian treatment center will be fairly long-term, but often up to 9 months.

The individual will be expected to be fully committed to the church connected to the rehab, both whilst in treatment and once they have left. Often these types of Christian treatment centres have a fairly cult like environment and should be approached with a great deal of caution. They need to be carefully researched and evaluated prior to admission.

Christian Treatment Centers – Rehabs

The majority of rehabs that have an addiction treatment program that is based around the 12 step model of Alcoholics Anonymous will put a heavy focus on spirituality as part of the recovery programme. Quite what spirituality means to any individual should be a free and open process to evaluate.

A number of rehabs that are step based in the sense that they are modelled on Alcoholics Anonymous will refer to themselves as Christian treatment centres. In truth this is most likely so they can cash in on any individual looking for a Christian treatment center, without it being overtly Christian as described above.

There are some Christian treatment centres that are very genuinely Christian in the sense that they do not try and force an individual into any set of beliefs or dogma, but simply offer either a medical detox or therapeutic programs or both to try and help an individual recover from alcoholism and other addictions. These types of Christian treatment centres or rehabs can be either residential or daycare type programs.



What is a Christian Rehab?

People looking for a Christian rehab normally have a fairly clear idea of what they mean by this term. There are a number of rehabs that call themselves Christian based rehabs and they have a markedly different approach to the majority of other residential clinical rehabs that exist. In this context a Christian rehab will be a residential facility, normally offering help people who have addictions to drugs or alcohol or other substances.

The length of stay in a Christian we have is normally advertised as being between six and nine months with an intensive daily programme of Bible reading, shared worship, Christian counselling and personal and group prayer. In addition there is unlikely to any involvement of any 12 step process such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or any type of individual or group therapy that is not rooted in biblical terms or beliefs.

How successful this approach is is debatable, but the thinking and philosophy behind it is clearly advertised for being what it is. Essentially it is a belief that a fairly fundamentalist biblical approach can cure alcoholism and drug addiction in an environment where this is the only source of healing available.

Christian Rehab

Some people are looking for this type of approach and welcome it and enter a rehab on this basis. There is a word of caution that needs to be added however. A number of Christian rehabs are closely associated with huge Evangelical churches and it will be a condition of rehab that attendance at such churches and involvement with the church process is a mandatory part of the recovery process.

This can sometimes be quite cult like in its approach, given that people who have an addiction to alcohol or drugs are in a fairly vulnerable state, and their vulnerability is essentially used to commit them to these churches on a long-term basis.

The majority of rehabs that are not Christian based and do not call themselves Christian rehabs will nevertheless be very open to an individual’s quest for God and what that means to the individual, and for the individual’s freedom to explore and question their own spirituality in the context of their recovery from alcoholism.

The principles of Alcoholics Anonymous as embodied in the 12 step program are essentially spiritual principles, often described either a spiritual or therapeutic, but essentially designed to help individual find their own inner world and their own God within . For many people this is a better approach than a so-called Christian based rehab.


What is Christian Alcohol Recovery ?

Christian alcohol recovery can refer to either a rehab or treatment center that is primarily focused on a Christian approach to therapeutic programs dealing with recovery from alcoholism and other addictions.

Christian alcohol recovery can also apply in a more general sense to questions or concerns concerning the more traditional 12-step programme approach of organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholics Anonymous is very clear that it is not a Christian organisation as such, and is open to anyone irrespective or regardless of belief or lack of belief in any specific creed or deity.

Christian alcohol recovery is often focused on a specific rehab for treatment center that advocates a Christian approach to recovery from alcoholism. The problems that can arise do arise often because the term Christian can mean a lot of different things to different people.

In the context of Christian alcohol recovery, it is probably safe to assume that a rehab or treatment center that promote itself as a Christian rehab or Christian treatment center will use a range of therapeutic approaches and treatment methods. These therapeutic approaches and treatment methods may be similar to ones found in non-Christian rehabs and treatment centres, but they will be approached and addressed within the context of a Christian environment.

Often the advantage of a Christian alcohol recovery focus or program, is that it gives an added sense of safety or security to an alcoholic who is looking for some type of recovery from alcoholism within the context of a Christian environment.

Ideally a Christian rehab or a Christian treatment center will offer a range of what might be called traditional rehab approaches, but with the added benefit of some type of Christian environment that the alcoholic will feel safe in.

If this approach is taken, it is important that the Christian alcohol recovery process is explored thoroughly before admission, so there is no misunderstanding as to actually what is being offered and who is offering it.

The other aspect of Christian alcohol recovery addresses the need of priests or ministers who are alcoholics to be able to seek treatment in a safe and anonymous context.

There are many professions and professionals where admission of a drinking problem or alcoholism would spell ruin publicly, and the ministry of priesthood is probably one of these professions.

To this end there are a number of of specialist personalised rehabs and treatment centers, where the focus will not necessarily be that of a Christian alcohol recovery program, but where the rehab will offer a large degree of privacy and anonymity to the clients who are likely to be a priest or minister or belong to a religious order.