Evangelical Beliefs On Alcohol And Drug Addiction And Rehab
There are over 600 million people in the world who identify as Evangelical Christians, and the United States is home to the world’s largest Evangelical population. According to Pew Research Center, about 70% of Americans are Christians and about 25% of American Christians are Evangelicals. When an Evangelical Christian falls victim to drug and alcohol addiction, faith-based rehab may be the solution.
Evangelicals are Protestants who adhere to a Christian movement that emphasizes personal conversion and evangelization, or preaching the Gospel. For Evangelicals, salvation comes through being “born again” in the Holy Spirit and having a relationship with God. According to Evangelical doctrine, this relationship transforms believers into new people who repent from sin, resist temptation, and exhibit holiness in their daily lives.
Since Evangelical Christianity encompasses many Christian denominations, there is diversity of thought within the Evangelical movement about addiction to drugs, alcohol, and behaviors like gambling or watching pornography. Some Evangelicals say that addiction is a sin, others say it is a disease, and others say it represents a trial from God. Nevertheless, almost all Evangelicals agree that faith in Jesus Christ is the answer to overcoming a substance use disorder (SUD). In response to a person who asked him about overcoming addiction, the famous Evangelical preacher Billy Graham had a message of hope: “God has not abandoned you, and the most important step you can take is to turn to Him and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life.”
The Evangelical message is all about transformation and a better tomorrow. With help from God, family, and the church, Evangelical Christians who struggle with addiction can find inspiration in their faith to live a better life. For many Evangelicals, being “born again” and building a relationship with God will coincide with achieving life-long freedom from drugs and alcohol.
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How Faith-Based Rehab Can Help Evangelicals With Addiction
Prayer, Bible reading, and support from a church community are important for Evangelical Christians as they undertake the journey of addiction recovery. Professional treatment in rehab is also essential. A professional rehab program at a treatment facility will involve drug detox, medication, and inpatient and outpatient therapy. These aspects of rehab are helpful for Evangelicals and non-Evangelicals alike, but there are treatments centers throughout America which offer rehab with a Christian approach.
A faith-based rehab program for Evangelical Christians will involve Bible study, church services, group discussions with other believers in recovery, faith-centered relapse prevention training, and an overall focus on redemption and growing closer to God. Reputable Christian rehab programs take place in a safe environment free from addictive substances. For Evangelical Christians, faith-based rehab is beneficial because it combines medical care, counseling, and Christian fellowship.
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Celebrate Recovery®: An Evangelical 12-Step Program
Many 12-step programs invoke the intercession of a Higher Power and help Christians with substance use disorders embrace God in their recovery. In 1991, Evangelical Pastor John Baker of the Saddleback Church in California developed Celebrate Recovery®, a “Christ-centered 12-step program.” Today, over 35,000 churches in the world promote Pastor Baker’s 12-step program.
Common Questions About Rehab
Here are the 12 steps of Celebrate Recovery® with Pastor John’s accompanying, explanatory Bible verses, all taken from the New International Version (NIV) Bible:
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.
“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” – Romans 7:18
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:13
3. We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” – Romans 12:1
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:40
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” – James 5:16a
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” – James 4:10
7. We humbly asked Him to remove all our shortcomings.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
9. We made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” – Matthew 5:23-24
10. We continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” – 1 Corinthians 10:12
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and power to carry that out.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” – Colossians 3:16a
12. Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” – Galatians 6:1
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Find Help Today For Addiction
If you’re an Evangelical Christian and you’re struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, today could be the day to make a difference in your life by learning more about rehab. With the right treatment, recovery from addiction is possible. Thousands of Evangelicals across the world have overcome problems with drugs and alcohol by getting help, often from other Evangelicals. Contact a treatment provider today to get answers to your questions about rehab and learn more about your options for faith-based recovery programs.
Ashish Bhatt, MD, MRO
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Learn about Dr. Ashish Bhatt
Dr. Bhatt has been Addiction Center's Medical Content Director for more than three years, providing his expertise to ensure quality and accuracy.
Doctor of Addiction Medicine
Expert in adult and child psychiatry
Over 20 years of professional experience