Christian 12 Step Recovery Program
The original 12 step recovery program, AA, was Christian in character, although not Christ-centered. It retains the reliance on spiritual help and a higher power, but has moved away from strictly Christian terminology and beliefs and become more general in character. However, because 12 step programs work best when they connect as much as possible with members, Christians now may find it more beneficial to seek one that specifically adopts their faith teachings.
The difference between a non-denominational and Christian 12 step program is the connection with a religious community and reliance on prayer and the scriptures rather than just the 12 steps alone. In both types of programs, the addiction being treated is seen as a spiritual fight. In one sense, a Christian comes already armed with the tools they need — they have some experience with relying on Jesus, prayer and Biblical teachings to help them in crisis.
Most programs will not insist on a statement of faith and welcome all who wish to attend. They will use Biblical teachings as an adjunct to the regular steps, and some outside the faith find this uncomfortable.
Other advantages are a larger support network from churches that may provide financial support and even pay for professional treatment in some cases. A Christian 12 step program is a type of ministry; many churches feel a calling to reach out to the addict community as part of their faith practice. Members of a group may be encouraged to attend church and improve their faith commitment as well as “working the steps.”
Those who need help and have a strong Christian background usually find like-minded people comforting and more effective. They face issues that others outside the faith may not — shame, being ostracized, a separation from Jesus, and others. The availability of pastoral counseling can also be helpful in other areas where attendees have needs, beyond alcoholism or addiction.
One way to find a local group is to ask your pastor. Even if there isn’t anything directly connected with your church, they can usually recommend a program.