Addiction doesn’t discriminate, and it doesn’t play favorites. Anyone who uses mind altering substances can become addicted, regardless of race, gender, religion, politics, or financial status. Even those who seem to have it all together on the outside. They could be fighting a battle for their life within the confines of their own mind. No one is too good for addiction.
An article in the Daily Beast covered this topic well. The reporter talked to a man with a PhD and a high-profile job. He had lived with chronic pain for years, along with anxiety. But somewhere along the way, he found something that helped him cope with the pain. Heroin. It kept him working, nobody knew, and he appeared to have it all together. His pain didn’t stand between him and success any longer. When his coworkers took coffee breaks, he took heroin breaks. He was a high functioning addict. That is, until the addiction took over, as it inevitably does. Stories like this show how easily a seemingly “normal” person can find themselves hooked on a substance and their lives destroyed.
So what about people with a strong faith in God? Often times those with strong religious beliefs find themselves not understanding how addiction could happen to them. They did everything they were told to do. They went to church. They confessed their sins and they asked God for help. They studied religious texts. They hit their knees and they begged for relief. And yet none came. Addiction had taken over, and they had lost their way. For the religious, hopelessness can be especially dark. Everyone in their life gave up on them. Friends, family, co-workers. Maybe they believe that even God gave up. Maybe they begin to question their faith. Maybe they feel anger towards a God who was supposed to protect them. Or simply a disconnection, a lack of a relationship with a presence that once sustained and motivated them. So the addict gives up too, and gives in to the drug. God couldn’t help, so why should they bother caring about themselves?
At Northbound, we understand the role that faith plays in recovery, especially for those who have lost their way. So we offer the LINKS program, our residential Christian-based recovery program. We combine the 12 Steps with Christian principles in an effort to show recovering addicts that God is still at work in their lives. He hasn’t given up on the addict, so why should the addict give up on himself?
Religion and Addiction
People with a religious background are often thought to be more conservative. They are aware of their sins. Driven by faith. Pure. Good. Honorable. And good people don’t take drugs, right? Honorable people don’t commit crimes to find their next fix. Many think that addiction can’t touch those close to God. However, studies have shown that it’s not the case at all.
That’s what researchers writing for AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV discovered. In this study of 1,095 active drug users, those identifying as Christian actually took more drug risks than their counterparts. It just goes to show that addiction doesn’t ask about a user’s faith before it strikes. Everyone is at risk. Even those who believed they had God in their corner. Addiction doesn’t discriminate.
Staying close to God can be a saving grace for some. Christianity has been a source of strength for centuries. But using drugs can also push people away from their faith. When you’re addicted to a substance, it starts to become a higher priority than everything else. You stop making time for your family and friends. You stop making time to follow your dreams and passions. And you stop giving any of your time to God. Feeding your addiction takes over everything. God is seemingly nowhere to be found. One day you turn around hopeless and scared, and you think that God has abandoned you. You feel alone. Your life is in shambles. Surely, if there was a God, he wouldn’t have let this happen to you.
We are here to help you find your way back. Show you that God hasn’t left your life. And we teach you how faith can tie into your recovery from addiction. In our LINKS program, we show you that you’re not alone. Our community of like-minded and like-spirited individuals are here to walk with you as you strengthen your connection to your faith. Spirituality is a huge part of the healing process. Hope and faith come from within, but Northbound is here to show you how to get there.
Reaching Out to the Divine
A Gallup poll suggests that about three-quarters of Americans identify as Christians. That means the vast majority of people are aware of the concept of something bigger. There is something beautiful in believing that we are not alone on our journey. That’s a vital idea for people in recovery, per a study in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry where they take a look at the place of a higher power in the life of a recovering addict. Part of recovering from addiction is reconnecting with spirituality.
This idea of a higher power is an integral part of the 12-step recovery community. The Second Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, reads: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The following steps build further upon this idea. Note that this step doesn’t mention a “god” directly. Those in recovery are asked to find a higher power of their own understanding. Unlike organized religion, the 12 steps leave it to the individual to define and connect with their personal spirituality. There is a freedom there. Compassion. And safety. Through a higher power, unconditional love becomes a key to recovery.
Finding the Right Path
Some people balk at the idea of going back to a religion they remember from childhood. Church was a strict and unpleasant place. Memories of rules and consequences dance through their mind. Life was full of fearing sin and having to confess. They felt free when they walked away from the religion they were raised with, so they are not eager to return. The addict already lives in shame of what they did in their active addiction, so why would they sign up for a god who will offer judgment?
Luckily, recovery isn’t about judgment and fear. It’s about learning how to forgive ourselves and others. It’s about learning how to love ourselves. And it’s about learning how to find an unconditional love from a presence other than ourself. Some call it God, and others come up with concepts that make more sense to them. What’s important, is finding a spirituality to help us fill the hole we used to fill with drugs and alcohol. There is so much love out there, it’s just a matter of reconnecting with it.
But how do you do that? Where do you begin finding a new spirituality or your forgotten faith? The idea can be daunting. You shouldn’t have to do it alone. So that’s why we developed our LINKS program here at Northbound. You don’t have to do it alone. We combine 12 step recovery with the spiritual principles found in Christianity to help you build a solid foundation of recovery.
LINKS clients participate in our standard addiction treatment program. They get counseling. They get support. They learn to transform. But LINKS clients also get Christian based spiritual support. They participate in faith-based groups. They go to church. They meet with other Christians. All of this work helps clients reconnect with God. They lean on spirituality as they learn to heal. Our LINKS program is completely optional. It is for those who are looking for a little more focus on spirituality. Our counselors are committed to helping our LINKS clients find the peace of mind that only faith can deliver.
Sound interesting? We hope so. Please call us to find out more about how this program works. We can guide you. Help you. Support you. And we can enroll you over the phone, too. Just call.