Seventh-Day Adventist Beliefs On Alcohol And Drug Addiction And Rehab
The Seventh-day Adventists are a Protestant denomination of Christianity that began in 1863. The Adventist movement emphasizes the doctrine that the Sabbath day of rest (traditionally the seventh day of the week) is supposed to be observed on Saturday, not Sunday, as well as belief in the imminence of the Advent, or the return of Jesus Christ.
William Miller, a 19th century Baptist preacher, started the Adventist movement and it grew over time. Today, Seventh-Day Adventists tend to refrain from wearing too much jewelry, abstain from listening to music with explicit lyrics, and avoid what they consider to be graphic or promiscuous entertainment. The Adventist movement also discourages premarital sex, watching pornography, and gambling.
Seventh-Day Adventists believe in God and accept the Bible as the source of their beliefs. For Adventists, God is the source of “love, power, and splendor.” God is “infinite yet intimate, three yet one, all-knowing yet all-forgiving,” according to Adventist theology. God is the way of salvation, and people can repent and ask for God’s forgiveness to be saved by God’s grace.
The Adventist faith discourages the use of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol. For some Adventists, red meat (especially pork), refined foods, and Caffeine are also avoided. Many Adventists believe substance use can harm individuals and families and hinder spiritual growth. Nevertheless, a survey has noted that 12% of Adventists drink alcohol. More specifically, 64% of Adventists drink wine 1 to 3 times per month, and about 7.6% of them drink wine daily.
As a result of the Adventist movement’s standards, many Seventh-Day Adventists view drug use and addiction as sinful. However, the Adventist movement also insists on the possibility of redemption from sin. With help from God, the church, and professional rehab, Seventh-Day Adventists believe that recovery from addiction is possible.
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Addiction Treatment For Seventh-Day Adventists
Throughout the United States, there are treatment centers that offer faith-based rehab for Seventh-Day Adventists and other Christians. Such programs incorporate prayer, Bible reading, and Christian ministry into an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. Studies have shown that rehab informed by spirituality is more likely to help patients achieve sobriety and stay sober long-term.
The North American division of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church has also pioneered a Seventh-Day Adventist 12-step program, Journey to Wholeness. Seventh-Day Adventist “Recovery Groups” offer support to Adventists in rehab and recovery in “an atmosphere of Christian love and acceptance, where people meet on a weekly basis and become openly honest with each other,” according to the program’s website. The Journey to Wholeness approach offers confidentiality and open discussion of the challenges of addiction, and emphasizes recognition of Jesus Christ as the Higher Power. The goal of Journey to Wholeness is “recovery and freedom from obsessive thoughts, compulsive actions, habitual behaviors, and spiritual separation.”
In attempts to minimize the harm of chemical dependency, the Seventh-Day Adventist church began an anti-smoking program in the 60s, which includes a 5-day plan to stop smoking. The church finds inspiration to battle substance abuse in passages of Scripture which illustrate the body as a holy temple, such as 2 Corinthians 6:15-17.
The Seventh-day Adventist church also works to combat gambling addiction, a common behavioral health problem. Seventh-Day Adventists believe gambling erodes the quality of life, “creates false hope,” and “violates the Christian sense of responsibility.” There are passages in Scripture which prohibit or discourage gambling, including 1 Thessalonians 4:11, Matthew 19:21, Acts 9:36, 2 Corinthians 9:8-9, 1 Timothy 6:17, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Timothy 6:6, and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
The church seeks to help compulsive gamblers. Pastors who are aware of church members facing addictions are urged to communicate with compassion, firmness, and an understanding ear. The church community does not addiction as a stigma used to judge others.
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Start Rehab Today
If you’re a Seventh-Day Adventist who struggles with drug and alcohol addiction or you know one who does, there is treatment available to help. The path to recovery can begin right now. Contact a treatment provider today to talk about rehab options.
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