Fear and Faith: Recovery after Christian Drug Rehab
By: Lakeview Health
Published: June 5, 2012
Fear is a human emotion that is made up of both good and bad characteristics. It can be a healthy motivator for addicts to change behavior patterns, but it can also keep addicts actively using drugs and alcohol. Fear and faith cannot coexist. Fear is the most common reason that addicts relapse after attending a Christian drug rehab. It is important to understand the dynamics related to fear in order to better cope in recovery and decrease risk of relapse.

What is Fear?

Fear is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and likely to cause pain or a threat. To fear in verb form is to be afraid of someone or something that is likely dangerous, painful or threatening. When not appropriately addressed, fear can be paralyzing, contribute to ongoing substance abuse, prevent growth in recovery and serve as a hurdle in your relationship with God. Fear is created by different experiences that people have throughout their lives.

The three roots of fear are past, present and future experiences:

  • Past Fear – Some experiences leave memories with the feeling of fear attached to them. Any event that seems similar to these initial experiences will ignite the feeling of fear from the past. For example, an addict who grew up in a physically abusive home may have fear related to such conflict that results in avoidant or aggressive behavior when conflict presents itself.
  • Present Fear – This can be related to present situations which include others’ opinions, feelings and actions towards the addict, which are out of the addict’s control.
  • Future Fear – The addict may fear anticipating unknown future events, which are outside of his or her control.

Fear’s Two Purposes

Fear creates chaos, depression, anxiety and relapse opportunities. Fear attempts to capitalize on negative thoughts, chemical imbalances and loneliness. It contributes to an overwhelming feeling that things are stagnant and will never get better.

For the addict who is in or has completed a Christian drug rehab program, fear has two purposes:

  • Fear breeds hopelessness and despair.
  • Fear attempts to separate an individual from God.

Both of these purposes fuel addiction and they are intertwined. Fear uses the misperception that God has abandoned an addict to make him or her feel hopeless and like substance abuse is the only option.

Fear and Addiction

Fear of an unknown future, lack of control in the present and past experiences all contribute to an addict’s desire to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Fear also motivates unhealthy behavior patterns such as lying, cheating and secrecy, which contribute to substance abuse as well. Furthermore, these traits are considered ungodly. When a Christian addict is exhibiting these types of traits, spiritual connections he or she typically shuts down spiritual connections to decrease feelings of guilt.

Fight Fear with Faith 

When a Christian addict goes into a fearful mode, he or she no longer believes that Romans 8:28 is true. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Christians are taught to trust and have faith in God about all events in life while being proactive about making positive changes. Having knowledge of how faith works is good, but being able to put faith into practice is not an easy skill. Recognizing fearful thoughts such as, “This is never going to get better,” or,  “I’m doomed,” is one of the ways to begin working at coping better with fear. Being aware of fear-based thoughts can help the addict begin to change his or her style of thinking.

Other techniques to help remain in faith during a Christian drug rehab experience or in recovery are:

  • Daily Devotional Time – Time with God can be something as simple as reading a Bible verse every morning.
  • Pray Regularly – Talk to Him as a friend, confidant and supporter.
  • Recovery Support Meetings – Many support groups are Christ-centered, see if there is one near you.

Pick a Bible Verse-Find one which pertains to courage and strength that you can use to fight fearful feelings. This can remind you that God is in control, even when you think He is not.