Presbyterian Beliefs on Alcohol and Drug Addiction and Rehab
The Presbyterian Church is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States, with over 1.7 million members across its congregations, according to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) corporation. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, the Presbyterian Church’s beliefs originate with the French theologian John Calvin, a pastor during the Protestant Reformation. Presbyterians believe that God is the supreme authority in the universe, and their knowledge of God comes from the Bible with a focus on the New Testament. Presbyterians believe that salvation is a gift from God, and not something that can be accomplished by their own deeds. Although Presbyterians live by ethical standards, they understand that the power of addiction can take hold of anyone, regardless of their beliefs. This understanding nature is beneficial for Presbyterians who are seeking drug or alcohol rehab.
Presbyterian ministers acknowledge that addiction affects people of all walks of life, and aim to provide treatment resources to their congregations. In 2018, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) passed a resolution in response to the Opioid Epidemic. The committee’s recommendations for actions the church should take to address substance use disorders are:
- Encourage the leadership of each congregation to acknowledge the challenges caused by the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders by addressing it in prayers, sermons, educational events, and conversations.
- Engage people with substance use disorders in ways that hold them accountable with compassion and grace.
- Engage families of those with substance use disorders, responding faithfully to the impact of grief, loss, financial strain, and other factors that addiction has on families.
- Recognize and share the Gospel message that is inherent in stories of recovery.
- Engage in practices that reflect the radical hospitality of Christ in the spirit of the Good Samaritan parable, including offering space for healing for recovery groups, transportation to services, and connections to people in the community.
- Learn how to recognize signs of addiction and knowing local treatment and prevention services as well as how to make a referral.
- Celebrate hope in Christ and affirm that recovery is possible.
- Participating in events like National Prevention Week in May and National Recovery Month in September.
- Train on the use of Naloxone (Narcan) and make it available in the church building for emergencies.
- Create partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, law enforcement, and funeral homes to provide practical and spiritual help for individuals and families coping with substance use disorders.
- Host NA, AA, or Nar-Anon or Al-Anon, or other faith-based recovery groups.
- Partner with local jails and recovery home operators to offer opportunities for spiritual and social connection after release for people recovering from a substance use disorder.
The Presbyterian Approach to Treatment
The Presbyterian ideas for recovery focus on support while an addicted person attends rehab, and encourages people in recovery addicts to seek support after rehab, such as from a 12-step program. There are many rehab centers and even recovery homes (sober-living homes) available for Presbyterians. Some programs, such as Celebrate Recovery, follow a Christ-centered approach to the 12-steps used by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The Presbytery of Redstone, a church in Pennsylvania, has created a network for pastors, healthcare professionals, and people who have experienced addiction in their families to meet to share resources and ideas. The Addictions Ministry Network invites expert speakers, raises awareness about the opioid epidemic, and trains people how to use the overdose-reversing medication Naloxone (Narcan).
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One alcohol and drug awareness resource for Presbyterian congregations, Addiction, Grace, & Healing: Images for Healing, gives advice on how to develop on addiction team ministry. An addiction team ministry’s aim is to bring together people with addictions and resources for recovery. They advise electing representatives from the congregation who will be responsible for creating policies, as well as identifying members of the congregation who can minister to those struggling with addiction. These must be people who are active members of AA, Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous, or Nar-Anon. Teachers, clergy, and professional therapists should be invited to meet and offer their support and knowledge.
When creating an addiction team ministry, it’s important to stay focused on each phase and what is hoped to be accomplished, and to have a plan for those accomplishments including how each phase will be funded. Lastly, prayerful intercession should be a vital and continuing part of the planning and activities.
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Prayers for Recovery
The Presbyterian Women’s Substance Use Disorder Initiative offers prayers for recovery to be used during the service. These prayers focus on the healing of those struggling with a substance use disorder and ask for God’s grace and mercy as they face the challenges of living with their addiction and the pain that comes with it. Some of the prayers for the people include:
- For those who through addiction to alcohol and other drugs have lost their health and freedom, let us pray to the Lord.
- For those who suffer as a result of another’s addiction or abuse of alcohol and other drugs, let us pray to the Lord.
- For those who care for the victims of addiction; for professionals and members of support groups; for all those in our churches who make a difference for good as they minister to the addicted and the afflicted, let us pray to the Lord.
- For those who are recovering from addiction, let us pray to the Lord.
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Find a Presbyterian Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Presbyterian Drug and Alcohol rehabs integrate faith into the treatment plan, which can be very beneficial to individuals whose religion is a major part of their life. Some rehabilitation centers may have a minister available, while at others you may be able to invite your own minister. A dedicated treatment provider can talk to you about rehab options. Anyone can be impacted by addiction, but treatment can help you get back on the right path.