In the last blog post from our Christian addiction rehab program in Gonzales, TX, we covered some of the things that you should expect to find when attending a faith-based residential rehab like the one at Eternal Awakenings. It is our goal for you to feel comfortable and alleviate your anxieties by gaining an awareness of what kind of program you’ll be attending.
The flip side of what you should expect to find is that there are always other things that you should NOT expect to find. These things are uncharacteristic of the love of Christ and reflect that the program is not being run in a way that is healthy. If you find any of these factors in a rehab program, do not attend that rehab.
1. Manipulation or coercion as a way to get people to perform
When people run a rehab program, they quickly discover that it’s sometimes hard to get people to do the things that are asked of them. Instead of creating structures of accountability, fostering mutual respect, and winning the hearts of the people on the program, they can resort to tactics of manipulation or coercion to get things done. This creates an extremely unhealthy environment, and it’s unlikely to result in long-lasting recovery for the people on the program.
2. An atmosphere of shame, guilt, or fear
Again, staff at a rehab program shouldn’t resort to wielding shame, guilt, or fear on the residents of the program. This can show up in many different ways, from punishment styles that shame a resident to staff members demonstrating extreme anger or hostility that keeps people in fear. This leads to an environment where some people keep their heads down and their mouths shut, while others react strongly to the leadership style, leading to a situation where sparks are flying all the time.
As Christians, we believe that our guilt is taken away at the cross, leading us to appear faultless, forgiven, and unashamed before God. We observe that God does not use terror to get people to do things; on the contrary, he says, “Fear not.” The better and higher way to treat people is to treat them as Jesus would. When you come to Eternal Awakenings and attend Living Waters Fellowship, you’ll experience an environment where everyone has a background of substance abuse, no one judges anyone else, and a diverse group of people worships God passionately together. You will feel welcomed and know that you fit in.
3. Required conversions
No Christian rehab should ever require anyone on the program to convert to Christianity, as this is completely opposite to the nature of the gospel. (The essence of true conversion requires faith. Faith is always an individual’s own personal choice and never a thing that can be produced out of following a requirement or “toeing the line.”)
The Christian message is something that has brought light, transformation, and power to our own lives, and we’ve seen it benefit many others as well, so it’s only natural that we will share it in our Christian-based rehab center. However, this should only be done in the style of giving each guest the opportunity to understand it and respond to it, while making it clear that it remains that person’s own choice.
4. A rule that residents are not allowed to leave
When you come to rehab at a faith-based treatment center like ours, you come of your own free will. You come because you want something different for yourself. You come because you’re reaching out for help to live a different life. However, if it turns out that that stops working for you or it isn’t what you expected, you should also be able to leave of your own free will. Run away fast from any rehab center where you are not free to simply walk out the door at any moment and leave the program of your own free will.
Note that leaving the program is vastly different from exiting the premises, and different programs will have to have different standards about what constitutes breaking a rule. This will vary greatly based on factors like the safety of the immediate surroundings, the proximity of potentially harmful substances to people who walk out the door, and the circumstances surrounding when someone leaves. The point is, you should never feel as if you are trapped, locked away, or in jail while you’re at rehab.
Here at Eternal Awakenings, we love to go outside, and we love for our guests to do the same. We take a very lenient approach toward outings to town, and you’ll love the chance to enjoy our horses, fitness workouts at the Revival Fitness gym, and other activities.
5. Denial of visits
Your family and friends are the most important people in your life, and you shouldn’t be forbidden to see them just because you’re in rehab. Visits can be complicated for the rehab facility to handle, as they have to juggle between competing priorities (keeping toxic people away, such as a girlfriend or boyfriend who would cause you to leave treatment prematurely), but it’s not the right approach to forbid visits entirely. Yes, that keeps the toxic people out, but it also keeps out people who would have provided you valuable support. A more nuanced approach is better.
Eternal Awakenings takes the approach that your friends and family members are going to be part of your life for a lot longer than we are. Therefore, we encourage visits from friends and family, and we do our best to enhance and strengthen those relationships rather than sever them. You’ll find that our commitment to family unity is strong, and you won’t find yourself cut off from the people who are the dearest to you while you are at rehab.
6. Lack of a feeling of security
When you attend a residential faith-based addiction rehab program, you should feel safe and secure while you’re in the program. You should never feel like you constantly have to be watching your back to protect yourself from false accusations, your stuff being stolen, or blackmail. Unfortunately, this has been the case at some rehab programs, and no one should be put in that kind of situation.
Instead, every rehab program should have structures in place to ensure that the interests of each resident are protected. Examples:
- Sufficient staff oversight of interaction between residents
- Adequate video surveillance, if necessary, to supplement in situations where witnesses are not available
- A locked, secure room or office where residents can place valuables, electronics, medications, and other personal items that might disappear
- Adequate provision of necessities so that nobody has to steal basic items like hygiene products from each other.
- A clear procedure for addressing any violation of personal property
- Defined structures of accountability, with additional measures for new residents, such as always going places in pairs.
7. Refusal to meet basic human needs
We know of a story where a woman had just arrived at a residential rehab program in another state. Early in her rehab, she had a medical issue that required a visit to the emergency room. However, the treatment facility refused to take her. “Fine, I’ll go myself,” she said. “If you walk out of that door, you’re abandoning this program,” the staff told her. She left and found her way to the hospital, where she received the care she needed, but later, she found herself on the streets. Instead of getting the recovery that she desperately needed, she ended up back in a lifestyle of prostitution, drug use, and jail time for many years. Only when she was in her 50s did she come back around to the place where she began to embark on her recovery again.
This is a sad statement when she could have been spared a lot of suffering if that particular rehab program had been willing to take care of her basic human needs. No rehab program should ever deny you medical care, food, drink, sleep, basic hygiene, or shelter. If you know that this is the case with any rehab program, you should not only NOT attend their treatment, you should also report them to the authorities so that others will not experience needless suffering at their hands.
You can count on Eternal Awakenings to treat you the way we would want to be treated if we were in your shoes. With regard to medical care, we have a very close working relationship with local doctors who will provide you with medical care and greatly increase your chances of achieving sobriety.
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Come to Eternal Awakenings, a Christian drug and alcohol rehab program for men and women who are seeking to escape from addiction. Contact us today to get the enrollment process started.