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Published: January 10, 2024
Taking the step into rehab treatment for drug and alcohol addiction is big. Rehab is hard. If you identify as Catholic, it may help you to seek treatment that follows the faith practices you are familiar with.
While treatment facilities can be specifically Catholic or offer Catholic-based services, they should include treatments that align with what you would receive at most rehab facilities.
No two treatment programs will be exactly the same. But you may find some comfort and coping mechanisms that better fit with who you are by selecting a recovery program that honors your core belief system.
The Catholic Church recognizes the challenges of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health issues. It addresses those in multiple ways, including focusing on the recovery process for those who are dealing with alcohol or drug abuse.
Catholic rehab centers will offer treatments much like any other inpatient or outpatient rehab. The differences will mainly come in what’s offered on top of standard treatments or how standard treatments may be approached as part of the Catholic faith.
Some Catholic medical facilities have partnered with local law enforcement to provide those in the midst of addiction the option of entering rehab rather than facing jail.
Others have sponsored transportation services specifically for low-income individuals who need to receive addiction services.
Answer: Anyone who is Catholic can benefit greatly from having Catholic ideals incorporated into their drug or alcohol abuse treatment.
However, anyone who seeks to connect with God may find that a Catholic rehab program best meets their needs. Adding faith-based elements to drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment can reduce relapses and strengthen a person’s connection to sobriety.
If you or your loved ones are seeking a drug rehab center that is Christ-centered, you may benefit from a Catholic recovery center.
Overview: While you may find a path to successful recovery in either rehab program, you may find that a Christian rehab center is a better fit.
Catholic rehab will incorporate prayers, confession, Bible study, and other elements of Catholicism into its program. While they may include more science-based treatment, the faith-based elements distinguish them from secular rehab programs.
Secular rehab programs will include standard treatment for your treatment plan, which can be detoxification, inpatient rehab, partial hospitalization program (PHP), intensive outpatient program (IOP), and outpatient program.
While many 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) acknowledge a higher power, they aren’t specifically Catholic. However, they may be incorporated into a Catholic rehab program.
Answer: It varies. It depends on what type of addiction treatment program you’re in as well as the fact that it’s Catholic.
The most important thing to remember is that a Catholic-based or Catholic-associated addiction treatment program may add components that include faith-based practices as a part of recovery.
Though Catholic rehab programs may largely mirror other types of addiction treatment programs, you’ll encounter some differences in certain aspects.
These should align with standard care plans, though there will probably be more faith-based parts, like services, prayers, and spiritual guidance. You should still receive medical care from qualified medical professionals, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Elements of Catholic faith practices like mass, confession, prayers, rosary, and novenas and sacraments like communion may all be a part of Catholic rehab.
Mass may be in English or Latin, depending on the preferences of those planning the worship.
Catholic rehabs may separate men from women, so if you want a co-ed recovery experience, you might want to consider alternative rehab program options. Some Catholic rehab programs are only open to one gender.
During treatment, you may be around priests, nuns, friars, and volunteers who are all Catholic. As you progress in recovery, you may become part of a Catholic church and community.
Know that drinking wine is a traditional part of communion in many Catholic churches, even for adolescents. Still, they may offer grape juice as a non-alcoholic alternative, especially if they know of a recovering addict in the congregation.
Catholic rehab facilities may offer outpatient treatment. The Catholic Church has also established social rehabilitation centers, which can be effective but must be accredited.
Studies consider the faith-based components of social rehab centers to contribute heavily to their success.
Counseling and therapy through a Catholic rehab program may involve a priest who will approach mental health treatment with a mind to spirituality and discussions of:
The Catholic Church has advocated the importance of behavioral health treatment as part of the overall healthcare approach, seeking to encourage holistic treatment.
Some Catholic clergy have received additional training and education in dealing with behavioral health for those in recovery.
Catholic rehab programs may use a social detoxification process rather than a medical one, depending on what you’re addicted to and how severely. Make sure that the treatment center is fully accredited for such treatments.
If you require a medical drug or alcohol detox, you may find a Catholic rehab that offers it as part of its treatment services.
Some Catholic rehab programs offer support groups specific to their religious beliefs. Others may modify existing support group styles to better align with Catholic faith practices.
While they aren’t specifically Catholic, many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups meet in Catholic churches around the country. As group therapy can be very beneficial in the recovery process, it should be a part of your treatment plan.
Rehab, in general, can be quite costly. The Catholic Church has charities that may help offset some of the costs of its rehab programs, but keep in mind that you may not be able to cover the total costs even with financial assistance.
You may find a Catholic rehab program that offers a payment plan on a sliding scale based on your income or will treat you even if you are unable to pay for services.
Answer: It might. To know for sure, you’ll have to check with your insurance company about your specific insurance plan.
For example, if a Catholic rehab program is not in your insurance company’s coverage area, it may not be covered. If it’s an accredited, social-based treatment program instead of a medical-based one, it’s less likely to fall under your insurance.
The cost of the program may prohibit insurance coverage as well. While many church-related programs can be nonprofit, many are also private programs, which can be expensive.
Answer: You may be part of a local community of Catholic believers and be able to participate in rehabilitative services that go beyond your drug addiction and help you re-integrate into society with new life and job skills.
You may also join a residential program or sober living community near your preferred place of worship or find one that aligns with your beliefs. Additionally, the Catholic church may support an aftercare program in your area.
The Catholic Church has many options for rehab centers in the U.S., which means that if you wish to locate a treatment facility that honors your Catholic beliefs for yourself or family members, you should be able to do so.
Some of the top websites to help you with your search are:
The first few steps into rehab can feel big and heavy. And locating a Catholic-based rehab center near you may feel impossible.
RehabNet.com can help with our pre-vetted database and helpline, both of which are available 24/7.
Catholic Charities: Diocese of Cleveland. “Residential Addiction Treatment Services.”
Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster, NY. “Substance Use: Treatment.”
Catholic Health Association of the United States. “Catholic Health World: Ministry systems tackle transportation barriers for vulnerable patients.”
Catholic Health Association of the United States. “Catholic Health World: St. Vincent Charity teams with police to improve access to opioid treatment.”
National Library of Medicine. “Faith-based intervention, change of religiosity, and abstinence of substance addicts.”
National Library of Medicine. “Physicians’ beliefs about faith-based treatments for alcoholism.”
National Library of Medicine. “Religious intervention and recovery from drug addiction.”
National Library of Medicine. “Spirituality, Religiosity and Addiction Recovery: Current Perspectives.”
Pew Research Center. “Americans’ drinking habits vary by faith.”
The Catholic Sun. “Diocese eyes first Catholic rehab center for addictions.”
The Catholic World Report. “What does the Church teach about doing “soft” drugs?”
The Word Among Us. “Combating Alcoholism through the Example and Intercession of Matt Talbot.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Letter to U.S. House of Representatives on Reforming Mental Health Care, July 6, 2016.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “National Catholic Mental Health Campaign: Introductory Statement.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “National Catholic Mental Health Campaign: Novena for Mental Health.”
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice.”
U.S. Catholic. “Does your parish have a drinking problem?”
U.S. Catholic. “Is your parish doing enough to support addiction recovery?”
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment: A Treatment Improvement Protocol TIP 45.”
Vatican News. “Global Catholic population rising as number of priests, religious falls.”
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