Substance Abuse and Spirituality

bible and sobrietyIt is a fact that many of the most successful addiction treatment programs are based in spirituality; spiritual guidance, spiritual counseling and spiritual philosophies. There are a number of different religious addiction treatment centers, particularly Christian, that bring their own spiritual insight into addiction treatment. The reason for this is it is a commonly agreed upon theory that a root cause for addiction is broken spirituality.

To fully understand this reasoning, we must first understand what spirituality is. It is not the same thing as religion, despite popular misconceptions. Spirituality is an awareness of and a care for one’s soul. A person’s soul is complex and requires a balance of self-care and altruism to feel whole. The old adage “You must love yourself before you can love someone else” is very applicable to the human soul. A person must be healthy and careful enough to meet their own intrinsic needs before they can meet the needs of someone else and form healthy relationships.

The problem with addiction is that it destroys the state of one’s soul. An addicted person is not a spiritually healthy person. Addiction indicates an inability to cope with life and a preference toward escapism due to emotional, psychological, environmental and biological problems. A spiritually healthy person, on the other hand, practices positive, sound thinking and is able to confront challenges and obstacles with a clear mind, or leave situations that are toxic.

Spiritual addiction treatment is beneficial to recovering addicts because spiritual thought naturally addresses the problems that are thought to spawn addiction. Spirituality encourages us to find strength and acceptance of our unique identities through an infallible higher power who does not judge or lose patience with us, as people do. Christian addiction treatment in particular derives its strength for recovery from God’s perfect love that does not fail, but endlessly encourages us to our full potential.

Christianity and Addiction

christianity and addictionAs Christians, often we think being born again means we are going to be above the snares and pitfalls that this world puts in front of us. But those of us who are wise know this is not the case. Our better nature belongs to Christ but our sinful nature belongs to the world, and sometimes we give in to our sinful nature and let it control us. God asks obedience of us not so that he can be impressed with us, but so that we can be better off as we follow his judgement.

If you find yourself afflicted with something like addiction, the best choice you can make for yourself is to end the addiction by any means necessary, even if it means utilizing the services of Christian recovery centers. Addiction is the ultimate means of being controlled by our sinful nature. What began as a choice to occasionally indulge in something pleasureful grew into a sinful hunger that you can no longer control. If you are unable to give God control of your addiction, it is controlling you.

The bible tells us why this is so harmful to us. God is the only thing in existence that we are meant to crave, love and seek without limitation. He is the only thing that can fulfill us the way we need and want to be fulfilled, and drawing closer to him will only serve to make us more complete. This was not accidental in our creation; it was our design. Yet because this world separates us from God, we become distracted from him, and we begin to seek completion and fulfillment in things other than God. This can only end badly for us. Because we were designed to worship and seek after God, when we apply this devotion to false idols, our worship of them becomes toxic to our bodies, minds and souls. If we are too weak to separate from the worship of our false idols, they can destroy or even end our lives.

The love of God the Father and Christ His Son are things that we were created to worship and adore. They are the only things that can sustain us through this life, while false idols take life and freedom from us. If you are suffering from addiction, you should know that God promises you freedom from worldly temptations. Do not hesitate for a moment to seek help and rid your life of your addiction. Seek the help of Christian rehabilitation and welcome Christ into your heart as the grip of addiction leaves it. If you do, your life will change for the better so radically that you will not even be able to comprehend it. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

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Faith Based Addiction Recovery

faith based addiction recoveryAddiction is difficult for anyone to overcome, but when it affects the lives of Christians it can come with an additional set of challenges. Sometimes Christians can feel ashamed of their flaws and think that they cannot let anyone see the side of themselves that is ungodly. This thinking needs to be turned on its head, as it is the opposite of everything the bible calls us to be. The Pharisees were ones who cared only about their godly images but neglected matters of the heart. We are called to be child-like, honest and vulnerable, bearing our sins and letting God heal them. Our faith is meant to be a tool for conquering addiction, not something that makes us hide our addiction. The love of God and Christ his son can end addiction and restore peace to our hearts.

When we apply faith practically to ending addiction, there are several methods we can employ. There are a number of things a person can do for themself in order to end their addiction. First and foremost, prayer to God and meditation on his word are the most important things a person can do to better their lives. There are a number of Christian addiction self-help books and workbooks available to those who read and apply what they read to their lives. It is important to reach out to your support system for help, so tell friends, family and your church community what you are going through so they can pray for and support you. Filling your life with Godly activities, such as ways of using the talents God gave you and caring for your body (what the bible calls His temple) through nutrition and exercise.

When addiction has become so deeply engrained in a person’s life that they do not know how to separate from it, professional assistance is recommended. This can come in one of several forms. Professional Christian counselors who specialize in addiction are available on an as-needed basis to help lead a person out of their addictive thinking. Often times, their services are available through an outpatient rehab program, which uses several kinds of therapies and exercises to help addicted people recover. There are also support groups and sponsors available to addicts in many communities to offer encouragement and camaraderie to addicts.

And for the most severe cases, Christian inpatient rehabilitation is the best option for beating addiction. When a person’s addiction is so out of control that it has become dangerous, the best thing they can do for themselves is to place themselves in an inpatient rehabilitation facility for a minimum of 30-days to separate themselves from the source of their addiction, detox thoroughly from the harmful effects the addiction has had and receive intensive group and individual counseling to eradicate the underlying causes of their addiction.

The Holiness of Abstaining

bible and addiction

We live in a culture that is focused on the self. Everything is marketed to us in a way that suggests we deserve everything we want, and we deserve it now. This promotes a self-serving attitude where we are focused solely on getting whatever it is that we want.

In the bible and in other religious doctrines, it is a value to abstain; abstain from food, from wine, from sex or from revelries. This is counter intuitive to everything we are taught today, so what is the benefit of abstaining from pleasurable activities? Because denying the self is good for the soul, and serves as a kind of spiritual reset button.

The bible makes it clear that God specifically designed pleasurable activities for us to enjoy, but when we place them above him in importance, we throw off the balance in our lives and follow our sinful nature. A balanced person can enjoy a glass of wine without needing it. A healthy couple can enjoy an active sex life without becoming sex addicts.

We are all aware that this kind of balance is difficult to achieve. For people with addictive tendencies, it can be nearly impossible. For true addicts, there is a reason that sobriety, abstention and detoxification are recommended. When we turn to the bible, we find that this abstention is not a form of punishment for enjoying something too much, it is a purifying cleanse to restore our health. When someone finds they have been craving something pleasurable too strongly, removing it from their life will bring their life back into balance.

People who struggle with addiction are free to work toward balance, meaning they can set a goal of being able to enjoy the pleasurable activity within moderation, but many find that because they are naturally so wired to overindulge, they are better off permanently abstaining. The bible encourages us to worship God alone, not false idols. If we begin to love something pleasurable to the extent that it becomes a false idol, or a distraction from God, it can only hurt us and we should eliminate it from our lives.