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Secular Drug and Alcohol Rehabs

Counseling and conversation in a secular group addiction therapy

Published: January 22, 2024

People who do identify with secularism have many options for alcohol and drug rehab centers across the country.

A large portion of Americans identify as secular, not necessarily conforming to a particular religion. This can include atheist and agnostic individuals.

Secular addiction treatment centers are not faith-based, but do allow for individual incorporation of faith-based practices. This can be very beneficial in addiction recovery by providing a sense of encouragement and comfort.

Keep reading to learn more about secularism and alcohol and drug treatment.

About Secular Rehab Centers

Unlike other religious rehab centers, secular rehab centers do not necessarily put an emphasis on faith throughout addiction treatment. Rather, they allow individuals to incorporate aspects of their beliefs into their recovery.

Science-based and holistic approaches are the forefront of treatment in secular programs.

Rather than incorporating religion-specific practices like prayer or bible study into every individual’s treatment plan, secular rehabs consider faith-based practices to be voluntary.

In other words, individuals can choose to include spirituality in their recovery if they find it beneficial, but are not required to.

Secular drug and alcohol addiction programs offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment, much like standard addiction rehabilitation centers.

Key Facts on Secular Rehab

  • Benefits: a stronger bond with your spirituality or beliefs, new relationships with people of similar beliefs, a sense of support and encouragement through recovery, improved quality of life, and new tools to encourage long lasting recovery.
  • Types of addiction treated: addiction, meth addiction, opioid addiction, heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, prescription drug addiction, and benzodiazepine addiction.
  • Types of treatment: Inpatient and outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), dual diagnosis, behavioral therapy and counseling, group therapy and counseling, medical detoxification, support groups, 12-step programs, and aftercare.
  • How to pay for Secular rehab: self-pay, health insurance plans, donations or scholarships provided by the treatment facility
  • Number of Secular people in America: 3 in 10

Who Can Benefit from Secular Rehab Programs?

Answer: Anyone who already identifies as secular will likely benefit from a secular addiction recovery program.

This is because they will not be expected to conform to any strict religious practices or expectations throughout their recovery. Instead, they can practice any belief-based exercises in their own time that they may find helpful.

Many secular programs also encourage the SMART recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) program. This approach focuses on self-help tactics instead of religious tactics.

That being said, people who don’t already consider themselves secular can also benefit from a secular rehab program. Anyone who may not want to incorporate a specific religion into their addiction recovery can see benefits.

In both cases, this religious freedom allows individuals to only take part in practices that will provide a sense of comfort throughout their treatment journey.

Secular Rehab vs. Faith-Based Rehab

Overview: While there are some similarities between secular rehab programs and faith-based treatment, there are some major differences as well.

Non-religious drug rehabs (secular) focus primarily on evidence-based treatment options, not incorporating faith or religion-specific practices.

However, secular individuals may find it helpful to incorporate their own beliefs into their treatment as they see fit. For example, during treatment they may find it useful to find time to pray, meditate, manifest, connect with a higher power, or do anything else they see fit.

Faith-based treatment may still include science-based treatment services, but with a focus on religious practices. For example, in a Christian rehab, individuals will be expected to participate in certain religious activities and make it a part of their recovery and treatment schedule.

By not requiring participation in religious activities, participants of secular treatment programs do not feel pressured. Those that choose to incorporate faith-based activities into their treatment may find it provides a sense of purpose and encouragement throughout their journey.

What Happens in a Secular Addiction Treatment Program?

Answer: In a secular substance abuse treatment program, you can expect to encounter a wide variety of evidence-based treatment methods, some of which may be adjustable to your individual beliefs.

Some examples of services, amenities, and activities you may encounter include:

  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • Behavioral therapies and counseling
  • MAT
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Group therapy and family therapy
  • Medical detoxifications services, either inpatient or outpatient
  • Free time in your schedule which may be used for faith-based practices on your own
    Aftercare services

Treatment Services & Activities in Secular Rehab Programs

Secular rehabilitation facilities utilize a wide array of treatment approaches to address addiction comprehensively, without pressuring any participants with religious practices.

As a disclaimer, however, that does not mean individuals cannot incorporate faith-based practices into their treatment where they see fit.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment or residential treatment as it is sometimes called is a very intense addiction recovery approach. It is usually where many people start their addiction recovery.

People who enroll in an inpatient rehab program live in a treatment facility for the duration of their program in order to receive 24-hour care.

Inpatient treatment uses a combination of several treatment services, usually tailored to the individual’s needs. If you are secular and have spiritual beliefs, you can incorporate them into your treatment plan as needed.

Medical Detox

Medical detoxification is another treatment service you’ll likely encounter in a secular addiction treatment center.

Detoxification of removing addictive substances from the body prior to recovery. It can be very dangerous to do on your own, which is why medical detox services are available.

Detox services are offered in both inpatient and outpatient settings. During detoxification, your healthcare providers will help:

  • Manage any withdrawal symptoms and cravings
  • Administer any necessary medications or treatments
  • Monitor your vitals

If you’re spiritual, detox may be an instance in which you find it helpful to incorporate faith-based practices like prayer or meditation.


Medication-assisted treatment is a very effective addiction recovery approach. Using U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications like methadone, Suboxone, and buprenorphine, addiction is treated by helping to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

MAT is primarily used in opioid addiction, but can be used for other substance addictions. It can also encourage long-lasting recovery.

People who receive MAT often continue it for an extended period of time, slowly tapering off their medication as their treatment provider sees fit. Communication with your care provider is very important with MAT.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a less-intense level of care in addiction recovery. Some people enter outpatient rehab programs after completing inpatient treatment or if they cannot commit to living outside of their home for any reason.

Rather than living in the treatment facility during an outpatient program, participants travel to the care center on set days of the week to receive treatment, usually for several hours a day.

Variations of outpatient treatment, like partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are also available through secular rehabs for people who want a treatment option in between inpatient and outpatient.

Dual Diagnosis

You may come across dual diagnosis treatment at a secular rehabilitation center. Many people who have substance addictions also have mental health disorders, which are referred to as co-occurring disorders.

Dual diagnosis treatment is designed for people who have both substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health issues. The idea is to address both your physical and mental health simultaneously, offering a well-rounded approach to recovery.

This type of treatment typically involves therapy and counseling to address mental illnesses like anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and bipolar disorder.

If you have specific beliefs, you may also find it useful to incorporate any faith-based practices you find beneficial into this part of your recovery.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapy

Counseling and behavioral therapy are a big part of secular rehab programs.

Counseling may be performed on a one-on-one basis with your care provider or in a group of individuals who are also receiving substance abuse treatment.

During counseling sessions, you can discuss your thoughts and feelings surrounding addiction and recovery including any worries, failures, or goals, or anything else you see fit.

Group counseling sessions are a great opportunity to find a community and invaluable peer support during your recovery journey.

Behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on thought patterns and behavioral patterns, particularly those that may be worsening or causing your addiction.

Behavioral therapies for recovery include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Motivational interviewing

Behavioral therapy and counseling are great treatment options that you can incorporate any spiritual or faith-based beliefs into.

Support Groups

Support groups are similar to group counseling, but may be more so about sharing your experiences and creating a support system in your community.

One kind of support group commonly talked about is 12-step groups. Though 12-step groups were originally created for religious people and based around God, modern day 12-step meetings are adjustable to any beliefs, including secular beliefs.

These meetings may not be for everyone, but it’s important to note that they do not always conform to a particular belief (depending on the program you choose).

Cost of Secular Rehab Centers

When it comes to pricing, secular rehab program costs can vary quite a bit between facilities.

Some non-profit and government-funded rehabs offer low-cost or sometimes even free treatment.

On the other hand, privately owned treatment centers are much more likely to have a higher cost for treatment.

You may also find differences in pricing due to the type of treatments offered, amenities offered, location of the treatment center, and the length of the program.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of a Secular Rehab Program?

Answer: In some cases health insurance will cover the cost of a secular rehab program. There are a few factors to consider before counting on insurance coverage to pay for your substance abuse treatment.

First, not all treatment centers accept insurance. Unfortunately, there are some addiction rehabilitation facilities that only take out-of-pocket payment. However, there are many that do accept insurance.

Once you find one that does accept insurance, you’ll want to make sure they are in network with your insurance company. This way, you’ll be able to receive the highest level of coverage and lowest out-of-pocket cost.

On top of this, it’s vital to understand that certain insurance plans may also have requirements for coverage. In other words, you may need to meet your deductible prior to treatment, receive an official SUD diagnosis before treatment, or seek out a particular treatment type.

What Happens After You Finish Secular Rehab?

Answer: After you finish treatment at a secular rehab center, you will likely move on to some kind of aftercare or continuing care. Both of these words refer to the addiction care you continue to receive after a treatment program.

Aftercare is individualized, so details will differ between individuals. Some common aftercare options include support groups, sober living homes, behavioral therapy, and counseling.

Where Can You Find Secular Rehab Centers Near You?

Some people can feel overwhelmed when they start looking for secular rehab centers in their area. Having a few great resources on hand can make the process simpler.

Some resources for finding Secular treatment centers include:

  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety – SOS is a nonprofit network focusing on sobriety and abstinence encouragement. They offer a “find a meeting” tool to find recovery meetings near you.
  • Women for Sobriety – WFS is a nonprofit, secular, peer support group for women overcoming substance use disorder. WFS meetings were created as a secular alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • RehabNet – We offer state-specific lists of accredited and reliable rehab centers. You’ll also find information about any specialized treatment programs they offer.
  • Personal connections – Don’t be afraid to ask people in your circle for rehab center recommendations. You can ask communities you’re a part of or even your primary care physician. This is a great way to get honest reviews, too.

Find Secular Drug and Alcohol Rehab Options

Secular alcohol and drug addiction rehabs are a great option for people who do not want particular religious beliefs to be incorporated into their addiction recovery journey.

People who choose secular rehabs can always incorporate spirituality into their recovery on their own, however.

If you or a loved one is ready to take the first step toward sobriety, give our helpline a call today.

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