Better Sobriety and Recovery: Christian-based Rehab or AA-based Programs?
Delisted Expert Says...
My first response to your question is “it depends on whether or not the alcoholic/addict is a Christian?” A really excellent website which makes distinctions between the causes of addiction, the difference in philosophies between AA or 12 Step based treatment programs and Christian-based recovery treatment programs is Alcoholics Victorious. Its website can be found at: http://alcoholicsvictorious.org/faq.html. Check this out and you may be struck with the strong differences in languaging and philosophies between these two different rehab models.
Both Christian Recovery Programs and AA-based treatment programs are both spiritual and effective programs. I think people who want recovery have been able to recover in both treatment formats. From what I have seen, Christians often report strong recovery in Christian-based programs but also can do well in AA-based treatment programs. An observed difference in lower recovery rates appears, sometimes, when alcoholics/addicts from other faith communities enter into Christian drug rehab and are confronted by basic religious and/or philosophical differences. For this reason(s), atheists, agnostics, and members from non-Christian faith communities often have improved recovery experience in AA or 12 Step programs. With many Christian alcoholics, the opposite can be observed. Many Christians report they benefit more from a Christian-based recovery program by having treatment which encourages them to use their belief in Jesus; a strength they can use to broaden their spiritual walk and person recovery.
You offered a very good question. When assessing alcoholics/addicts for treatment, it is common to ask them if they prefer a Christian-based rehab program over a 12 Step-based recovery program. I think it comes down to personal preference. When people are able to exercise their personal preferences and have individualized treatment, they usually perform better and report more satisfactory results.
I hope this response partially or fully addressed your question. If you need anything more from me, please do not hesitate to contact me.
John W. O’Neal, Ed.S, MSW, MA, LPC, NCC
Page last updated Jul 18, 2012