What’s good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another. So often, recovery programs are focused on one method of treatment. A patient checks in and success or failure is predicated upon that method working with their personality and temperament. A Forever Recovery is different. Five different “tracks” are offered. Patients are encouraged to try all of them upon arriving at the facility so as to find the right fit.
In this series, we are going to highlight each of the tracks offered at AFR: faith-based, self-help, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and indigenous.
Recovery Based On Christ’s Principles
For those who would consider themselves Christ followers, it wouldn’t make sense to go through such an impactful process of recovery without acknowledging their relationship with God. AFR offers a faith-based track that is composed of a guided Christian Bible study, spiritual lectures, as well as sermons and concepts taught by ordained pastors and ministers.
“The whole way the program is laid out, the bottom line is that it starts with self-appraisal,” said current AFR Case Manager Gretchen Sauer, who is a former patient. “They empty out your baggage with going through the whole process.”
Patients can choose the faith-based track but also work with other tracks to keep from falling into monotony. Gretchen says that is the only way she was able to complete the program. “One night I could go faith-based and praise,” she said. “One night I could go to AA or NA. Then the days I was really angry I’d go to CBT track and talk about my anger and how to work through that. I have Native American in my background, so I could go to the Indigenous track – anything I wanted to do.”
AFR is the only rehab facility that is certified to practice Celebrate Recovery, a program that began 20 years ago at Saddleback Church in California. The program is based on Biblical teaching, rather than psychological principles and offers group fellowship for Christians struggling with addiction.
“(Celebrate Recovery) was designed as a program to help those struggling with hurts, habits, and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process,” says the group’s website. Another resource offered is weekly Shepherd’s Embrace meetings in Battle Creek, where AFR is located. The meetings are Christian-based 12-step recovery, which is an AA meeting focused on recovery from anything that separates patients from a Higher Power, or God. Outside church service is also provided on Sundays.
The bottom line is that the faith-based track is just one path patients can take. As Gretchen did during her recovery process, patients can also take a little from the faith-based track while taking advantage of others. It is something that makes AFR unique and helps its patients find success.
How Can Faith-Based Group Therapy Help Addicts?
- Replacement for substances — Many people develop substance addiction as a result of stressful circumstances that arise in life. They may drink alcohol to cope with a divorce or take extra pain medication to deal with the loss of a family member, for example. Instead of using drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with their problems, they will begin to look to Jesus Christ to deal with stressful situations.
- Relying on a higher power — Turning to Jesus Christ to answer life’s many unanswered questions helps individuals suffering from addiction to depend on a higher power. Faith-based group therapy helps people find their purpose in life and strengthen their beliefs in always trying to do what is right. Spirituality can help change an addict’s life around by following the teachings of Christ.
- Prioritizing — When somebody has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, those substances become their priority in life. They begin to neglect their obligations, have relationship problems with their family and friends, and do not turn to Jesus Christ to help solve their problems. Since the person’s priorities change for the worst when struck by addiction, faith-based group therapy helps individuals to prioritize their life with Christ first.
- Relieving stress — Since Christianity teaches individuals that everything that happens is in God’s control, much of their stress will be lifted off of their shoulders. They realize that they cannot control external forces; the only thing they can control in this world is themselves and their actions. Addicts who are practicing Christianity can benefit from the concept of everything being in God’s power so that they can relieve some of their stress, which is a common trigger for substance abuse.
- Nurturing relationships — The teachings of Jesus Christ believe that individuals should love one another. Seeing the good in other people, not being judgmental and accepting everybody, and realizing that loving relationships are vital to long-term recovery can help addicts manage their addiction by fostering a supportive network of people. Faith-based group therapy helps addicts form these relationships with people who have experienced the same things as they have.
What are the Benefits of Faith-Based Group Therapy?
In addition to helping individuals manage their addiction while they are still in the midst of it, faith-based therapy also contributes to decrease their chances of relapse in the future. Relapse is when individuals remain sober for a period of time, but then they turn back to abusing their substances. When stressful situations arise long after the individual’s treatment recovery process, they may turn back to substances to deal with their problems. Instead, learning about Christianity now can be carried with them throughout the rest of their life, so it can help them when challenging obstacles are faced down the road.