How Does a Christian Drug Recovery Program Differ From a Secular Recovery Program?

Seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction is often the first lifesaving step on the road to recovery. Today with numerous options for battling addiction, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start or what method of treatment would be the most beneficial to your situation. The most common types of addiction counseling are Christian-based and secular-based. Being educated about the methodology of both counseling types can help you to decided what form of counseling would be best for you.

What Is Christian-Based Counseling?

Christian counseling is one of the oldest forms of treatment for addiction tracing back to 1784. Dr. Benjamin Rush observed individuals who had overcome their addiction through faith, and this led to widespread Christian revivals focusing on addiction treatment. Christian counseling is based on the biblical principles that surrendering to God’s will, instead of relying on human will, is the best way to overcome addiction. Christian counseling can also be especially beneficial for individuals who were once spiritual in helping those individuals rebuild their faith.

What Is Secular Counseling?

A key component of secular recovery methods for addiction is finding a sponsor or mentor to help with counseling and accountability. A mentor can be a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a life coach, or a committed, compassionate individual. The basis for secular recovery is accomplishing sobriety through willpower, making healthy choices, and intentional social connections, such as weekly support groups. Secular counseling is ideal for individuals who value self-belief over traditional religious beliefs.

Similarities and Differences

In both forms of treatment, abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol is essential. Christian and secular counseling both utilize a 12-step process to achieve abstinence and break addiction. The beginning steps of the secular 12-step program target mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, while the first steps of the Christian program focus on re-establishing the principles of the individual’s faith. Both forms of recovery incorporate scientifically proven therapy techniques, such as animal therapy, addiction education, adventure therapy, and relapse prevention. Christian and secular recovery programs rely on individuals building new social structures to maintain sobriety. With secular programs, this looks like social interaction built upon sobriety, such as the mentor/mentee relationship and support groups. In Christian recovery programs, individuals are encouraged to become involved in faith-based social structures, such as attending church or joining a bible study.

Ultimately the biggest difference in the effectiveness of secular and Christian-based counseling is the personal beliefs of the individual seeking treatment. Personal beliefs can play a major factor in the success rate of certain types of recovery programs. Before choosing a recovery method, it’s also important to read testimonies from past clients and to look at client-care provided even after treatment is complete. If you’re ready to seek counseling for a drug or alcohol addiction, please call us today at 800-737-0933!