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Faith-Based Treatment

What is a Faith-Based Treatment Program?

A faith-based or spiritual rehabilitation center obviously uses religious faith as a cornerstone of its approach to treatment, but it is also designed specifically with those who are of faith in mind. Sometimes a strong belief in God can actually present an obstacle to recovery, as the addict has strong feelings of wrongness in their behavior and of letting God down that exacerbate their ability to recover. Many of these facilities can be found in Massachusetts.

Like secular treatment facilities, faith-based treatment centers will use a combination of individual counseling with mental health professionals, group counseling, peer activities and medical treatment to address the addiction. But they also add meetings and counseling designed to strengthen the faith of participants and teach them to use their faith as a source of strength in overcoming addiction.

How Faith-Based Treatment Recovery Works

Each faith-based recovery center usually focuses on one particular religion. As with secular recovery programs, the process of recovery begins with detox at a medical facility or a treatment center. This process can take up to a week, during which the patient is constantly monitored by medical staff and given medication when necessary to deal with their withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Patients will then usually move on to inpatient treatment at the faith-based treatment facility, if they were not already at one for detox. Counseling with mental health professionals and group meetings are still the main focus, but patients also have the option of attending a variety of sessions that are religious in nature. These offerings vary depending on which Massachusetts facility you choose, but often include things such as sermons from a pastor, Bible study groups, group discussions about God’s role in addiction and recovery, and worship services on site.

Faith and the 12-Step Program

The 12-step programs so frequently used in alcohol and drug treatment actually have their roots in spirituality. Alcoholics Anonymous (now simply called AA) was founded in 1935 and was originally a Christian recovery group. Over time, the program expanded its focus to those of all faiths, but it still mandates that participants accept and turn their lives over to some sort of a spiritual higher power.

A core component of 12-steps programs that remains to this day is that participants must first declare they are powerless in the face of their substance abuse and must declare their need for help from a higher spiritual power.

While AA and NA meetings can sometimes be “agnostic” or “no prayer”, the 12-step meetings held in faith-based treatment facilities are very likely to be oriented to those of religious faith and include discussions about their belief and the role of God in their lives.

Ongoing Support during Recovery

Religious faith provides a ready-made community for addicts, and this can continue for as long as they feel support is necessary. Getting back in touch with their religion often provides a lifelong sense of community and connectedness for an addict, and can be what gets them over the hump and keeps them from using for good.

Even after outpatient treatment has concluded, many former addicts continue going to religious group meetings and services designed for former addicts to help maintain their sobriety. The newfound sense of religious community often fosters a strong desire to help others, and addicts in recovery find a sense of self-esteem and worth in becoming a helping figure to others who are just beginning to come to grips with their addiction.

Many ongoing faith-based meetings and services are conducted regularly in Massachusetts. Patients who seek treatment at a certified faith-based treatment facility in the state can rest assured they will always be able to find ongoing help as they continue through the coming years of maintaining sobriety.