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Why a Christian Curriculum Is The Most Effective Way to Beat Addiction

Traditional 12-Step addiction recovery programs have been around for decades, so what is different about a Christian addiction recovery program? Is it more effective than traditional recovery programs?

A 2019 study reviewed the importance of faith in an individual’s recovery from substance abuse, and the findings spoke for themselves. In the conclusion, the study said “religion and religious participation can address the many issues that lead people to alcohol and/or drug dependency that medical interventions alone can fail to address.” What’s more, the study determined that those who relied on their faith in God actually healed faster.

Why might this be?

Treating the Whole Person

When you think about addiction, it is easy to focus on the physical, mental, and emotional toll it takes on the person. But what about spiritually? A Christian addiction recovery program recognizes our addictions as a spiritual yearning, a yearning for something more than we can find or fill within ourselves.

Just like traditional rehabs or recovery programs, a Christian recovery program addresses the physical, mental, and emotional health of the addicted person. But it doesn’t stop there! Treating the whole person, and the true root of their suffering, includes assessing their spiritual need and its link to the addiction.  

“For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” ~1 John 2:16-17 (ESV)

Identity = Who God Says You Are

Rather than identify as addicts, a Christian recovery program encourages identifying ourselves by what the Bible says about us and how God sees us. Instead of focusing on our addict-like behaviors, we recognize that we are inherently individuals struggling to find fulfillment and belonging, and it is only God who can give us what we seek.

In the same way, we believe true healing comes from hearing and understanding the truths of the Bible: How God is the only true source of life, and that He loves us and wants us to know Him. As a result, we surrender ourselves to be molded and shaped into the person God says we already are in His eyes – blameless and a new creation.

Focus & Hope Found in Christ

A Christian curriculum also focuses on the future, including building a new foundation for how we see the world. In traditional 12-Step programs, the focus is often holding fast to the group’s traditions and subjective truths.

For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is known as a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they might solve their common problems. A Christian curriculum, on the other hand, depends on the belief in the Gospel of Christ and God’s supernatural work in our lives despite our best efforts.

“Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory …” ~Ephesians 3:17b-20 (BSB)

Our team at S2L Recovery understands the seriousness of taking the first step toward recovery. We also know each person recovers from their addiction in a personalized, unique way. Our approach is from a foundational faith-based framework, but our addiction recovery program is not exclusive to Christians; we welcome anyone. Learn more today.

The Importance of Having a Recovery Support System

While there are many proven methods to encourage a life of recovery, one common theme across numerous approaches to addiction recovery is a strong support system. For many individuals struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, this is found in recovery support groups. 

Data shows that 90% of addiction clients who continue to attend peer support groups after going through rehab achieve, on average, two years of sobriety without relapse and 10 years until substance abuse freedom. With a condition in which relapse is common – if not expected – that is an incredible statistic!

Why is this the case, and how exactly does a support system motivate a person to stick with recovery?

S2L Recovery’s intensive approach to addiction recovery sets us apart and has proven successful for more than a decade. Our community-based model for aftercare support following rehab has been integral to our alumni’s recovery journeys. Learn more.

People Need People

It is a simple truth, but the reality is that people need people! Individuals who have struggled with an addiction increasingly become more isolated in themselves, as well as in their shame. One of the best medicines for an individual with a substance use disorder, then, is a healthy community.

More often than not, a support group connects people who would not have met otherwise and gives them a regular time and place to interact. And the relationships and network an individual in recovery gains through a support group takes effect almost immediately. Even if he or she does not open up or make friends right away, being in the presence of others with similar battles and hearing their stories is powerful!

A Judgment-Free Zone

Individuals struggling with a current or past addiction can feel intense shame, whether it’s about their cravings, things they’ve done while in active addiction, or the consequences they are currently enduring from the substance use. It can be very difficult to talk about – and even harmful – with family members and friends who don’t fully understand the vicious cycle of addiction.

A support group, on the other hand, is a group of people who have struggled with substance use themselves! Rather than offering advice about do’s and don’ts, a group of peers offers a safe and judgment-free zone for the individual to talk about their struggles. A support group can truly empathize with and understand what a recovering individual is going through and share their own hard-earned wisdom.

True Accountability

At the same time, a support group offers authentic, unadulterated accountability for an individual in recovery. This is especially true of recovery support groups that value integrity and honesty as building blocks for true healing. Plus, one of the primary purposes of the group’s meetings (whether weekly or bimonthly) is to encourage honest check-ins with how each member is doing.

On another note, fellow “addicts” have a keen radar for recognizing the signs of relapse. The beauty of an individual being a member of an attentive, accountable recovery peer group? It is a safe place to 1. admit failings and 2. receive support as they work to get back on-track.

Men come to the S2L Recovery program with different backgrounds of faith, beliefs, and cultural understandings, but we welcome all people without judgment. Learn more about our drug & alcohol recovery program today.  

How to Talk to Someone You Love About Their Addiction

According to Pew Research Center, 46% of Americans have a family member or friend who has a current or past drug addiction (2017). To illustrate how big that number is, the Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration found that the estimated number of Americans with an illicit drug disorder totalled 7.4 million people. This number does not even include those battling alcoholism.

As devastating as addiction is to the mind, body, and spirit of the person who is using the drug, it also affects everyone around the person. Parents blame themselves. Spouses wrestle with heartbreak. Children suffer from neglect. Friends watch someone close to them waste away.

If you are the friend or loved one of someone who is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you have likely suffered in silence for years:

  • Worried about their condition, and equally worried if you don’t talk to them about it.
  • Afraid of how they will react if you bring it up with them.
  • Unsure, in general, about what you should do or if there is any hope.

Offering support and love to your addicted loved one is not easy, but it can be a crucial part of their healing journey. But how do you get to that point? How do you even talk to them about their addiction?

S2L Recovery is a Christian addiction recovery center for alcohol and drugs in Middle Tennessee. Learn more

Start With Love

When you talk to your loved one, do you want them to hear your judgment, anger, or disappointment? As valid as these feelings are, you want to be careful about how your loved one might perceive them.

Before you ever approach your loved one, look inside yourself – past the hurt, the anger, the worry – and remind yourself of the primary motivation for talking to them: You love and care for them. Setting the tone of your conversation will begin with this self-inventory.

Your mindset can help you think through not only what you want to say, but also how you want to say it. You want your words, body language, and even what you don’t say to communicate love.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” ~1 Cor. 13:4-8a (ESV)

Be Honest

The truth about love is that it is often painful. Your love for someone in and of itself does not change them; they are their own person, and they are responsible for their own choices. Even the Lord, who is a Good Father, knows the grief of loving people – who He calls wayward children – who run from Him:

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk … but they did not realize it was I who healed them.” ~Hosea 11:1-3 (NIV)

You can be honest with your loved one about your concerns. But avoid talking about their past; rather, talk about what you want for their future. Share that you want the best for them – their physical health, their relationships, their life’s dreams.

Offer Support, Set Boundaries

Communicating your continued support can also be a point you strive to make in the conversation with your loved one. At the same time, this conversation might be a much-needed opportunity to establish stronger boundaries in your relationship with them. 

In fact, Scripture encourages those who live by the Spirit to “restore a person gently” by speaking truth to them in love. What’s more, it says we are responsible for our own actions:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. … Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life.” ~Galatians 6:2-5, 8 (NIV)

If you are weary emotionally, or even financially, from the ways you’ve supported and possibly enabled your loved one in the past – whether they be your spouse, parent, child, or friend – you do not have to feel guilty about protecting your own physical, emotional, and mental health from their choices.

S2L Recovery Awarded Behavioral Health Accreditation From the Joint Commission

NASHVILLE, TN 4/7/2020 — S2L Recovery has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

S2L Recovery underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with Behavioral Health standards spanning several areas including emergency management, environment of care, leadership, and more.

The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend S2L Recovery for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”

For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.

S2L Recovery is a state-licensed Christian alcohol and drug recovery facility in middle Tennessee. We believe in the ability to find recovery through the teachings of Christ.

S2L Recovery is a Christian Based Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center with Faith Based Recovery Programs in Tennessee

S2L’s Weekly COVID-19 update with Dr. Andrew Daigle 04/18/2020

Dr. Andrew Daigle is S2L Recovery's Medical Director and has practiced medicine for over thirty years, primarily in trauma and emergency medicine as well as palliative care. Dr. Daigle is also serving on the front lines of this COVID-19 pandemic in Hospital Emergency Departments in multiple counties. S2L is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation via telecommunications with Dr. Daigle.
Here is " Dr. Daigle's Weekly Update" for the S2L Team

Andrew Daigle, MD
April 18th

Are we seeing the curve flatten? In Tennessee and locally, it appears that the social distance and safe at home strategies are successful in lowering the total number of people infected. Because of that, fewer people are in the hospital and we are seeing fewer deaths from this virus. So far, locally our hospitals are not overwhelmed and our ICUs are not overflowing. Clearly we have been fortunate and we have learned from other cities that were devastated: New York, Detroit, New Orleans especially. But the wave has not peaked here yet.

The virus hasn’t changed. It is still VERY contagious, and still is leading to rapid deaths in about 2-4% of those who get it. We still don’t have a treatment we can rely on — hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have been used extensively and have not been shown to be the “magic bullet.” If anything, we are more aware of the rare but real side effect of “sudden death” from these drugs.

There is an antiviral drug (remdesivir) that is promising, and it worked somewhat well against SARS and Ebola. We are starting a phase 2 trial soon. Also, there are 78 vaccines in trial. (Typically, in other diseases, over 100 vaccines start out with the hope of having one ‘winner’. ) Although we can be hopeful for a ‘needle in the haystack’ discovery of the winner, the soonest we could see a vaccine is next year…

What is our best plan for saving lives? Continue what works! –> Social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds. Once we FINALLY get better access to testing, we can confirm who doesn’t have it and allow them to return to working in groups. AND when we identify someone who DOES have it, we can quarantine them until they are no longer contagious.

Those who have recovered are donating plasma (part of their whole blood) so that this ‘convalescent’ plasma can be tried to help those who are significantly sick from the disease. This treatment is sometimes effective but also carries risk of side effects.

This disease has changed life for EVERYONE ON THE PLANET! There was little choice for us as individuals and for us as humanity except how we chose to respond. We are forced to take advice from various sources, and to determine which advice is ‘wise counsel’ and which is counsel from ‘Job’s friends’.

We have been forced into close quarters with family, and for those in our residential addiction recovery program, new family. Thankfully, we have not seen the virus penetrate our S2L Recovery program. God is merciful, and the team and leadership for S2L Recovery are faithful and diligent. We remain blessed!

Once again, our God presents us with opportunities for dependence on Him. Yes, there are life or death possibilities every day for each of us, but this pandemic is a much more blatant and clear threat. Many people are grieving the death of a loved one. (now over 34 thousand US deaths from this disease — sudden deaths and unexpected and unplanned deaths)

I try to stay positive while remaining realistic. If and when time is short, what are your priorities? Past regrets are only useful for future plans to make the present the best it can be. As Christians, the best ‘present’ is based in our identity in Christ our savior. Know Him to better know yourself. Make the choice, depend on wise counsel, accept His mercy as you acknowledge your frailty AND your power through Him!

Andrew Daigle, MD

S2L’s Weekly COVID-19 update with Dr. Andrew Daigle 04/10/2020 – Good Friday

Dr. Andrew Daigle is S2L Recovery's Medical Director and has practiced medicine for over thirty years, primarily in trauma and emergency medicine as well as palliative care. Dr. Daigle is also serving on the front lines of this COVID-19 pandemic in Hospital Emergency Departments in multiple counties. S2L is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation via telecommunications with Dr. Daigle.
Here is " Dr. Daigle's Weekly Update" for the S2L Team

Andrew Daigle, MD
April 10th, Good Friday

I continue to carefully watch the updates of our 2020 Pandemic, especially on how it is affecting the US and locally here in middle Tennessee. I am finding that, with our government proclamation but more importantly with our behaviors, that we ARE having a significant effect on this pandemic. The overwhelming wave of suffering, debility, and death that is occurring now in New York, New Orleans and Detroit has not yet hit Nashville and middle Tennessee. We expect it the peak to come here in the next 7-10 days, however, the infections are being spread NOW, with symptoms later showing up, after “the cat is out of the bag”. Each person with COVID-19 infects an average of 3 other people. In the next few days, we will know how effective our social distancing, masks, washing hands and staying at home has been at lowering death and suffering.

Today, there are a little over 4000 ‘confirmed’ cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee. Today, April 10th, in the US we have had over 17,000 deaths. Currently, 3.5.% of US COVID-19 cases result in death. Locally in Middle Tennessee, our hospitals are not overwhelmed and trying to be prepared. The dire situations in NY, NOLA, and Detroit are on social media everywhere and the medical community here is paying attention. Let’s make that 3.5% part of as small a number as possible! The fewer cases, the fewer deaths.

So, as a community, we ARE listening to wise counsel!

• Keep staying at home as much as possible. Redeem the time, keep in a beneficial routine, and use this as ‘spring training’ for when we transition back into more normalcy.
• Keep your social distance, as a service and kindness to others. Remember that the person you interact with could be an asymptomatic carrier. Keep your 6 ft or more, try to interact with people outside instead of indoors.
• Keep your mask on when you are out! This also is a kindness to others, as the goal of the mask is more to protect OTHERS than to protect you. If you interact with someone who isn’t wearing a mask, they could be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus and not realize it.
• Wear your mask and keep your distance to show others you are doing your part to slow this virus down and get us back toward normal. The fewer the cases, the sooner we transition back.
• Again, wash your hand. A LOT. Consider everything you touch when outside of your home to be full of germs, and remember that soap and water or alcohol kills them. Don’t let those germs near your face.

PLEASE, wait for treatments that are really helpful. We are finding out a lot in a hurry, but avoid ‘panic treatments’ that aren’t yet validated just as you would ‘panic buying’. If and when something really is working, we will all know soon.

We are getting more and more data, and that is helping to decrease the unknown which decreased the fear and allows us to plan. We are using the great resources of the US and international wisdom and intelligence to work together rapidly, all with a shared goal.

According to the best model we have, (the IHME model from the University of Washington), the peak day for deaths in the US will be April 12. April 12 is Sunday. Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday we are projected to ‘turn the tide’ and have fewer deaths each day after that…Why?

The IHME model is completely academic, completely secular, completely non-political. This model does not control the virus but follows the trend. We, as Americans, do not control the virus but only control our behaviors, which includes who we listen to, and whose counsel we accept. Easter Sunday is the day in our Christian tradition that we celebrate OUR victory over death by way of Jesus’s victory over death. As Christians, we accept Jesus’s identity as the one true God and His identity as the only way for each of us to join Him in victory over death. I do not hesitate to believe this model predicting this date as a transition from death is purposeful and with meaning.

I firmly believe that there are no mistakes in God’s management and shepherding of us, His creation. The free will He granted us leads to much suffering, but it also allows for ultimate joy and salvation. When crises occur in life, we all reassess our priorities. Please continue to do this. Consider what is truly valuable and what is ‘important but perhaps distracting’.

Seek wise counsel, read His Word, and most importantly, speak to God directly, from your heart.

My best to each of you. Feel free to pass this on if you feel it could be helpful

Andrew Daigle, MD