Orthodox Christian Beliefs On Alcohol And Drug Addiction And Rehab
The Eastern Orthodox Church, or known simply as the Orthodox Church, is one of 3 main Christian denominations, the others being the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism. The Orthodox Church is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world and has over 260 million adherents, primarily in Eastern Europe. Orthodox Christians affirm that they practice the original Christian faith as preserved by Tradition.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church is divided into several independent churches which hold communion with one another, yet remain distinct with regard to administration, culture, language, and customs. Nevertheless, Orthodox Church worldwide profess the same faith. When Orthodox Christians struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, they can benefit from rehab which emphasizes faith in God and incorporates prayer and fasting together as 1 important aspect of recovery.
Orthodox Christian Perspectives On Drugs And Alcohol
According to the Orthodox Church, the nature of temptation is to make sin attractive. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction are considered a national problem, and society should unite to confront these issues. Addiction not only affects a person’s life on Earth, but also destroys their eternal life by enslaving them to sin, according to Orthodox theology.
Someone who struggles with substance addiction loses the freedom that they have received from God. By abusing drugs and alcohol, a person also suffers physical and emotional destruction. Many abusive behaviors and addictions are further perpetuated by spiritual and emotional emptiness or psychological problems. Sobriety, the goal of recovery, is described throughout the history of the Orthodox Church as living in an honest, disciplined, and moderate manner. The achievement of liberation and salvation through recovery requires a person in treatment to cast aside recurring sin and addiction and depend on God’s mercy and redeeming grace.
Orthodox Drug And Alcohol Rehab
The Orthodox faith considers alcoholism and drug abuse to be illnesses that require medical and spiritual treatment. Orthodox Christians believe that people who who struggle with addiction need help from the whole community, and that faith plays an important role in preventing and treating addiction. The process of recovery also supports righteous living which corresponds to the Christian life and way of salvation.
The Orthodox church places emphasis on the spiritual life and faith in God as protection from addiction. At the center of worship and belief is prayer, which plays an important part in the life of an Orthodox Christian. An important prayer for many is the Jesus prayer, which is repeated many times: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The purpose of this repetition is to help a person concentrate only on God. Fasting is something else that can help during alcohol or drug rehab. The Orthodox Church believes fasting can be the “foundation of all good,” since the discipline of training the body can help a believer concentrate on prayer and worship.
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The Orthodox Church is determined to help the community battle alcohol and drug addiction by spreading awareness, arranging treatments, and giving special attention to rehabilitation. There are Orthodox Christian rehab centers that promote Orthodox values as part of treatment programs. Since it is important to treat co-occuring mental health issues while addressing substance abuse, the Orthodox Church encourages people to access therapy in alcohol and drug rehab since medical treatment alone cannot free someone from the emotional effects of addiction.
Common Questions About Rehab
12-step Programs And The Orthodox Church
12-Step Programs can help set the path to recovery for many people struggling with alcohol or drug addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are popular 12-Step Programs that have helped many people overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Orthodox Christians who enter 12-step programs recognize that they cannot go through recovery without giving themselves completely to God.
The first 3 steps are considered vital for setting the tone for everything the person must do to free themselves from addiction. The first step is to admit being unable to control the addiction alone. The second step is an extension of the first, to believe that God can restore our sanity and give us the power to overcome. In step three, a person makes the decision to turn their will and life to God and trust that he will help the addict overcome. In a society that values independence and taking charge of our own destiny, the Orthodox Church advocates giving your life to God to be free from drugs and alcohol.
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Addiction to drug and alcohol affects not just an individual but those around them as well. The Orthodox Church recognizes substance abuse as one of the most dangerous risks to our society. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact a treatment provider today. For Orthodox Christians, recovery is possible with rehab and support from the Church community.
Ginni Correa is a Latinx writer and activist living in Orlando,FL. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and double majored in Psychology and Spanish with a minor in Latin American Studies. After graduation, Ginni worked as an educator in public schools and an art therapist in a behavioral health hospital where she found a passion working with at-risk populations and advocating for social justice and equality. She is also experienced in translating and interpreting with an emphasis in language justice and creating multilingual spaces. Ginni’s mission is to build awareness and promote resources that can help people transform their lives. She believes in the importance of ending stigma surrounding mental health and substance abuse while creating more accessible treatment in communities. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and attending music festivals.
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- BBC. (2008) Eastern Orthodox Church. Retrieved on February 21, 2020, from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/easternorthodox_1.shtml
- Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles. (n.d). Drug Addiction. Retrieved on February 21, 2020, from: https://lacopts.org/story/drug-addiction/
- Prescott Orthodox. (2017). The First Three Steps. Retrieved on February 21, 2020, from: https://prescottorthodox.com/first-three-steps/
- Orthodox Church in America. (2004). Orthodox Christian Understanding of Substance & Other Abuse. February 21, 2020, from: https://www.oca.org/cdn/PDFs/christianwitness/2004-Orth-Understanding-Abuse.pdf