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.
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.