Believing in God means believing in forgiveness and redemption. For people who struggle with addiction, the recovery journey is similar. It is a fresh start, and as many people go through treatment and recovery, they seek redemption. They work hard to improve their lives. Having faith in God helps people realize they have an ultimate goal to work toward both on their recovery journey and in other aspects of life. It gives them the hope of an eternal reward for all their struggles.
For example, the Orthodox Christian church, which views church as a hospital for the soul, teaches that even the most difficult struggles in life can give people opportunities to strengthen their faith and draw closer to God. Viewing struggles as opportunities for rewards can help change a person’s perspective on the difficulties they face throughout recovery. People who are Christians or are interested in learning about faith-based recovery programs can benefit from learning about how to overcome addiction with God. Treatment facilities respect everyone’s religious beliefs and encourage them to treat mind, body and spirit during recovery.
Why Faith in God Helps Many People Recover From Addiction
Faith in a higher power may help people overcome addiction because of the positive benefits it produces. One of the common feelings people have with addiction is guilt. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that can have lasting effects on the brain. Substances alter the way the brain functions, and the altered functions also lead to behavioral changes. People who struggle with addiction do not behave in ways they normally would. They may lie, steal or do other things that hurt family and friends, and those actions make them feel guilty later when they start addiction treatment.
Many people also say that they feel like something is missing in life. Others learn that they seek substances because they feel empty or are trying to heal from past trauma. Research shows that having religious beliefs may help some people heal from past trauma and may help treat depression for some. Part of having faith in God is believing that every person’s life has a purpose. When people believe that, it may help them fill the emptiness they feel from other negative experiences in life.
People who learn how to overcome addiction with God also find faith rewarding. The Christian faith promotes helping others, which can be great for people with addiction. When individuals struggle with addiction, their brains create cravings for substances because of the pleasurable feelings they cause. Studies show that helping others can create similar rewarding feelings for the brain. In this way, helping others can replace a negative habit with a positive one.
Those are just a few reasons why having faith God may help people overcome addiction. It is also important to understand how to overcome addiction with God through regular treatment and spiritual health changes.
Why Professional Addiction Treatment Is Also Important
Faith alone is not meant to replace addiction treatment. Even many pastors, priests and other leaders recommend professional therapy along with trying to build or rebuild a relationship with God. These are some key reasons why professional addiction treatment is also important:
- People work with therapists to learn the causes of their behaviors or choices.
- Therapists teach people ways to change behaviors, avoid triggers and cope with troubling or unavoidable situations.
- People undergo treatments that can help them face past traumas to heal from them.
- There are supporting therapies that help people improve mind, body and spirit.
- Individuals with unmet mental health needs discover them, and those mental health issues are often major factors that lead to addiction.
When people discover that they have a co-occurring mental health disorder, they can find a treatment plan that works. Treating mental health issues and addiction together is critical to reduce the risk of relapsing.
How To Overcome Addiction With God
Addiction often has a detrimental effect on personal relationships, work, school and more. Having a source of hope through faith can help people find the daily ambition to keep moving forward. Connecting with God spiritually for the first time or reconnecting can be both helpful and meaningful to people who are starting their recovery journey. These are some examples of how to overcome addiction with God.
Find Christian Community Support
One of the first things people learn in professional addiction treatment is how important it is to have support. Having a support network is so important that clinicians often recommend inpatient treatment if people do not have a supportive living environment. For Christians, it is important to find a supportive church, a church group or a Christian sobriety group. For example, there are Celebrate Recovery groups in several areas throughout New Jersey. Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program with a Christian foundation.
As all Christians know, it can be hard to pray sometimes. Many Christians or people who are considering Christianity feel ashamed of past actions. Praying can also seem hard when life is filled with other responsibilities and concerns. However, prayer can be a powerful tool in building self-discipline. Practicing self-discipline to abstain from substance cravings is one strategy that people learn in addiction treatment. For Christians, praying is often the first response to any trouble. It can be a helpful way for many to deal with troublesome situations that may trigger them.
However, it may sometimes seem difficult to know what to pray about or how to put thoughts into words. One of the oldest and simplest prayers is just a request for the Lord’s mercy. It is not mercy in the form of pity as people know it in the modern English language. The original Greek translation also means kindness, good will for people who are afflicted and a true desire to help. Addiction is an affliction, and many Christians find it helpful to pray for God’s mercy since God knows even the needs they cannot communicate.
Practice Biblical Principles
Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible talks about the fruits of the spirit. They are:
These spiritual fruits help people build virtues and good character. Also, this list aligns with what people learn in addiction treatment. For example, practicing patience can be helpful in overcoming addiction if anger is a response that a person often has to situations. Through addiction treatment and a faith-based approach, a person can learn healthier responses to situations. Biblical principles and strategies for overcoming addiction align so well that more than 70% of addiction treatment programs in the United States include one or more faith-based approaches.
Because peers or family can be sources of valuable encouragement, this point emphasizes the importance of community support. Also, Christians can seek encouragement from the Bible. Encouragement is helpful to deal with daily struggles of triggering difficulties and substance cravings. Psalms is especially a great book in the Bible for encouragement. There are also free devotional materials online from different denominations or even pre-denominational churches. Celebrate Recovery or other 12-step meetings can also be great sources of encouragement to continue in recovery and grow spiritually.
Focus on Forgiveness
One of the commandments that appears often in the Bible directly and in stories is forgiveness. It is so important that Jesus said for anyone who does not forgive others, that person’s sins will not be forgiven. Holding onto anger, resentment and other negative feelings will mostly hurt the person holding them. In traditional addiction therapy, people learn how to let go of negative feelings for their own healing. In the 12 steps, people ask for forgiveness from those they wronged. Asking for forgiveness and being quick to forgive others helps build humility, which is one of the most powerful virtues.
Christians in addiction recovery can also appreciate the story of the Prodigal Son. Remembering that God is quick and willing to forgive anything like the father in that story is an encouraging reminder that redemption is always available. That helps people get back up quickly when they fail. Getting back up, repenting and moving forward is a practice that is also helpful to have in the event of a relapse.
Learn More About How To Overcome Addiction With God and Professional Treatment
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and needs spiritual help, there are options. Garden State Treatment Center in Sparta can help connect you with the right addiction treatment program. Also, we can help you find spiritual resources and learn how to overcome addiction with God. We also respect all other religions and welcome people from all backgrounds to learn more about our New Jersey addiction treatment programs.