Question: "What is Christian rehab? When should a Christian consider going to rehab?"
Answer: Addiction is a serious issue with far-reaching effects. Many times a person's behavior becomes so entrenched and so harmful that he or she needs treatment in a formal rehabilitation program to begin the process of recovery. Colloquially referred to as "rehab," most treatment programs include detoxification, group therapy, psycho-education, introduction to outside support groups (generally 12-step programs), and individual counseling. Many treatment centers also provide psychiatric support for dual diagnoses (such as treatment for underlying depression or bipolar disorder), programs for affected family members, and training in life skills. Rehab is often thought of as an inpatient program, although outpatient rehab facilities do exist.
There are many similarities among treatment centers, but each has a unique mélange of programs and theoretical foundations. Some rehab facilities market themselves as Christian. Although specific approaches may differ, Christian rehabs generally consider God to be the primary healer in overcoming addiction, and they incorporate Christian tenets in the recovery process. Many Christian centers view addiction as primarily a spiritual problem, with biological, social, and emotional co-factors. Addiction is often linked to a desire to fill a void or to a fear of facing painful emotions. Christians understand that only God can fully satisfy and that He is able to carry our heartache (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 5:7; John 16:33). Christian rehab also views spirituality as an avenue of healing. The substance of abuse clearly cannot take God's place; developing a person's relationship with God will help him or her to stop using. In most Christian rehab, then, patients receive physical, psychological, and intellectual support, as well as spiritual guidance. Biblical truth becomes a key treatment tool.
Both the Bible and society speak against addiction, but this does not make Christians immune from the struggle. In Christ we are set free from sin (Romans 6:6-11; 8:2; John 8:36). However, we must also make an effort to live in that freedom. Paul talks about the Christian's struggle against sin in Romans 7. In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul writes, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." There is no shame in requesting help in putting off the old self. Not only do Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit to help them in overcoming addiction, they have the Body of Christ, which is designed to be a support system. Christians should be good stewards of the resources available to them. Most individual churches are not equipped to handle the complexities of addiction. But many Christian treatment facilities exist to function as the Body of Christ to an addict.
If a Christian finds himself ruled by an addiction, he may want to consider entering a rehab program. A Christian rehab program has the benefits of recognizing the true Healer and of addressing the spiritual heart of addiction issues. However, it should be mentioned that some "Christian" rehabs do not follow current medical and psychological standards in providing addiction treatment. Some may also have faulty theological beliefs. Some non-Christian rehabs offer poor programs or have faulty theoretical stances, as well. Before entering into any rehab program, it behooves a potential patient (or family member) to fully vet it. Ensure that the program addresses each aspect of addiction (spiritual, physical, psychological, and social), that competent medical staff is available, and that patients are treated with care and respect. Most rehabs have copies of their treatment plans available for the asking.
If you or someone you know is trapped in an addiction, you may want to consider possible treatment plans. A counselor, psychiatrist, or medical doctor in your area may be able to direct you to a facility. You might also consider using christianrehabs.com in your search.