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Religion and Drug Treatment

Religion and 12-Step Programs in Drug Treatment

The link between religion and certain aspects of drug treatment is a strong one, and is found in the prevalence of the strongly spiritual 12-Step movement. For most drug treatment centers, the 12-Step programs of Narcotics Anonymous and other offshoots of the organization form the basis of the program of recovery offered to their clients. Additionally, most drug rehabilitation centers refer their clients to 12-Step meetings in the client’s area as the primary form of continued treatment and relapse prevention program during aftercare.

The Orchid, a Florida drug rehab facility designed exclusively for women helps refer their patients to appropriate 12-step drug treatment programs in the area as a means of providing continued support and accountability once the program is complete and your loved one faces the challenges that come along with making a transition back into their daily lives.

History of the 12-step Program and Religion

Many atheists and agnostics who have entered drug treatment immediately have a problem with the mixture of religion and drug treatment that they perceive in the 12-Step movement. On first glance, their misgivings are understandable.

The 12-Step movement does emphasize the spiritual aspects of recovery above all else, and openly advocates that members turn their wills and their lives over to the “a higher power.” What’s more, most meetings begin and end with prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer.

The history of the 12-Step movement and its practices and principles were originally based on a once-popular religious movement called the Oxford Group, which was dedicated to bringing more people back to the Christian church.

Controversy Surrounding Religion and Drug Treatment

To these addicts, this combination of religion and drug treatment appears to violate their own personal spiritual beliefs. If these addicts have been forced by the legal system to attend these 12-Step programs, there is a further violation of the separation of church and state. This creates a major problem for those who desperately want to get sober, but who do not want to be associated with a religious group they do not support. Fortunately for these individuals, the text and practices of the 12-Step movement itself create room and space for the atheist, agnostic or alternative spiritual practitioner.

At nearly every point in the primary text of Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous that mentions God, the concept is modified to mean as the individual perceives him. In fact, the only requirement that the 12-Steps text place on God is that it is not the individual addict’s own conscious mind. In this context, the agnostic or atheist addict can choose any conception of God he or she desires as their Higher Power and follow the 12-Steps faithfully. Some choose a concept such as Love, others pick The Universe, and still others the 12-Step group itself. This allows the recovering addict to take part in the group, to perform the actions that bring about sobriety and to gain some sober experience without compromising his or her own principles.

The Orchid is deeply supportive of recovering addicts of all faiths – as well as those who consider themselves to be agnostic or atheist. The treatment professionals at The Orchid help patients pick and choose those elements that they find beneficial – and create an atmosphere within treatment that uplifts the mind, body and spirit of those who need it most.

Religious Recovery Support After Drug Treatment

After some sober time, when the recovering addict has created a bit of stability in his or her life, then he or she can reevaluate his or her spiritual beliefs. It is possible that he or she will be more open to traditional religious sentiments. It’s equally possible that he or she will seek out another support group more in line with his or her spiritual beliefs.

In addition to being one of the preeminent Florida drug rehab facilities, The Orchid Treatment Center is one of the few that is designed exclusively for women. By creating a nurturing environment that encourages support from the group, The Orchid is able to treat women with drug addictions in the most effective manner possible. For more information, contact The Orchid today.

Further Reading

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