Shunned by the Congregation After Drug Rehab?

Share Article

Christians Drug Rehab discusses returning to church after rehab

No Shame in Christian Drug Alcohol Rehab

Today, millions of Americans struggle with substance use disorder, otherwise known as addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a service provided by the government, suggests that over 19 million people are addicted. That same study goes on to say that only 11% of those ever seek out treatment, or rehab.

Taking that first step to recover from an addiction is difficult, bordering on impossible for many. Insurance helps with financial barriers, government regulation like the Affordable Care Act and Americans with Disability Act remove barriers relating to work and school, and many rehab facilities offer child-care and support as part of rehab. So, what’s stopping people from getting help? Many face immense pressure from social circles, including Church congregations, one tends to hide their addictions and problems, and then try to present an outward face of being a good Christian.

That’s important if one is concerned about they will be treated by their congregation after rehab. Answering this question is complex, because people are complex, but whatever the answer is should not stop one from attending rehab and recovering their health.

Being Honest with Congregation
The smaller ones community, the less likely one could hide anything from them. Moreover, one shouldn’t try. It’s important to be honest, to talk about ones struggles with addiction, about ones choice to move into recovery, and about where one is now.

People are people, so chances are not every single person will understand. One might not want to talk about this openly to their full congregation. However, one can discuss details with the pastor in private, talk to him about how one feels, about how hard they're working, and about how one needs the support of their congregation.

  • Be honest with the pastor, follow up with the congregation based on his recommendations
  • Be prepared to answer questions
  • Consider checking in with the congregation. How many days clean/sober? Are there struggles with cravings today and does one need help fighting their demons? Does one want people to pray for them and their success?
  • Don’t try to hide the depth or length of ones addiction. Ones recovery is about coming clean and building a new creation that one can be proud of.
  • One might also be surprised to learn that many of their congregation have likely had their own struggles with substance use disorders. 1 in 10 Americans will struggle with a substance use disorder during their lifetime, so chances are, someone in their congregation is, has been, or personally knows an addict. They might understand more than one might think.

Seeking Treatment Is Seeking Forgiveness
Taking the first step to attend Christian addiction treatment is a massive step. It requires stepping back from ones ego and self-delusions and recognizing that you they're not in control. It means recognizing that one is wrong, and their behavior and decisions have led them astray and away from God. It also means acknowledging that one needs help. Seeking help and availing one self of the help available is the ultimate surrender to God and his ability to provide for them.

That’s important when one moves back to their Church, they may have made mistakes, but one has recognized them. One might have gone astray but now are actively working to put ones self back on the righteous path. Still returning to our congregation as a sinner, but all our sinners.

If ones congregation isn’t aware of that, one may be able to discuss it with them, ask the Pastor to, or otherwise prove it by continuing to show humility and commitment to change.

12-Step Support
Most congregations offer a lot of support for individuals in recovery. Some offer groups, sober parties and events, and will offer opportunities to volunteer and engage with the community as you re-discover yourself and what we want to do. But, it’s not the same as being in a community made up of people who know what we're going through.

12-Step groups offer Faith-centered support for individuals recovering from addiction. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous focus on surrendering to the higher power of God in order to recover, finding real humility as motivation to change, and actively working to improve and change yourself. You’ll also get support from your peers, including a Sponsor who has been in recovery long enough to know what everything is like so that they can guide you.

12-Step groups offer social motivation, accountability, and an outlet to share progress, talk about cravings, and discuss experiences. It can allow you to grow, validate your feelings, and talk about things in a non-judgmental environment, without fear of being shamed or shunned.

Committing to Change
Our congregation is unlikely to shun one outright, but some members may be surprised by your revelation. This is especially true if they were unaware that you struggled with a substance use disorder before. However, we can rebuild our relationships, rebuild our standing in the church, and this time on an actual basis of mutual trust and understanding.

  • Be humble, acknowledge that we all have made mistakes
  • Emphasize that we are working to repair those mistakes
  • Take steps to make reparations where necessary or relevant (12 Step groups will support this as well)
  • Contribute to the community
  • Consistently share our progress or lack of it with the community
  • Recovering from an addiction is difficult. We cannot do it alone. While the first step is to seek out professional help in the form of therapy, behavioral therapy, and sometimes medication-assisted treatment, the second step is always to find support and - motivation in your community. Your congregation should be a part of that as much as possible, because they will help you to find the spiritual fulfillment and balance you need to be truly happy.

While all congregations should be understanding, it’s up to us to prove that we are changing and work towards your sobriety goal to gain acceptance and trust.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, please contact Christians Drug Rehab to learn more about our program. Our dedicated team can help you break the cycle of addiction and manage any co-occurring mental health condition that may accompany you or your loved one’s disorder.

HELP CAN'T WAIT, CALL NOW (844) 577-1234

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Robert Nicholl
Visit website