Our Christian Addiction Program, “The Alpha Series”
It has long been said that recovery from alcoholism and addiction requires a spiritual remedy. We said it quite frequently ourselves in our recent series on the Seven Deadly Sins. And while we did not push religion in this series, this actually brings to mind a problem—spirituality and religion may not be the same thing in most cases, but for some people they are. In some circles, this is greatly accepted. But in others, you will be met with resistance if you mention God or Jesus while sharing about your spirituality. Fortunately, we now offer a Christian component to our programs in the form of the Alpha Series.
Basically, the Alpha Series is more of a counseling approach than a specific program. Our staff is currently undertaking Alpha Facilitator classes to learn how they may use the Alpha Series to teach enlightenment, encouragement, and empowerment to small groups and individuals who would like to incorporate a gospel of grace into their personal recovery. This faith-based counseling model will not only appeal to Christians, but also those who are able to appreciate the teachings of the Bible while not necessarily embracing the dogma.
In other words, the Alpha Series may be quite Christian in nature but it isn’t just for Christians. Obviously, they are among those who will be most open to this approach. But for those who are open-minded—which is a good thing to be when you are in addiction recovery—the Alpha Series should offer a fairly healthy learning opportunity. Below, we’ll talk a little bit about the general approach of the Alpha Series, as well as how its teachings may be embraced by both Christians and those of other faiths.
Understanding the Alpha Series
It may seem odd to refer to the Alpha Series as a faith-based recovery model while simultaneously stating that it is not religious in nature. The best description that we can offer is that this approach to recovery from addiction and other personal issues puts a major emphasis on the teachings of the Bible and the actions of God therein, but does not discriminate against those who find dogmatic teachings to be abrasive. Even if you are the type of person who prefers to view the Bible as an allegory, you will discover through these teachings that the Good Book focuses largely on the evolution of the human race from a small group of individuals in much need of guidance to a society of worthy individuals.
The first part of the Alpha Series is referred to as “Biblical Self-Awareness,” and shows how we can gain much awareness of our own selves through the stories and teachings offered in the Bible. We will find that many of the issues experienced by persons mentioned in the Bible, be they personal or relational issues, stem from our underlying negative emotions. Many characters mentioned in the Bible suffer from low self-esteem, which leads to fear of rejection and fear of failure. Many of us have experienced these problems in our own lives, leading to the exhibition of false pride that so often causes us to wrong those we love. Once this is understood, we can use the gospel of grace to develop workable solutions that focus upon understanding and identity.
The second part of the Alpha Series focuses on this notion of building a healthy identity. This is where Christians will gain a lot from this counseling approach, as the Bible teaches the development of a healthy self-image through a relationship with Christ. When the Christ is seen as the ideal self, this union is easy to develop. Whether Christian or not, acceptance of this ideal allows us to renew our minds and engage in healthy personal development.
The third part of the Alpha Series focuses upon relational empowerment. This works in a few ways. First, our development of a new healthy identity is used to minister to the needs of others. This falls in line with the primary means of service work often employed in groups such as AA—to spread the message to those who are still suffering. Our newly formed identity should help us in this endeavor, as it will provide us with an increased sense of power and confidence. In the past, we often manipulated those for whom we thought we cared. Now we can service them in a new way, leading to further personal growth, as well as a new life fueled by love and utility for friends, family, and even perfect strangers.
Benefits for Christian Addicts
Given the title and the above description of the counseling approach in question, it should come as no surprise that the Alpha Series carries great benefits to Christian addicts. Those who are already somewhat familiar with the Bible and its teachings will be able to grasp the involved lessons quite easily. From there, it should also be easier to develop a healthy identity and begin spreading the message to other addicts and alcoholics.
Furthermore, there will be no red tape to cut across. Those who view Christianity as their primary spiritual medium will not have to work around religion to discover a broader view of spirituality. It will be easier to embrace AA mainstays such as Step Two and the Second Tradition, because the notion of God presented by the Alpha Series will be perfectly in line with the view of God that they have been cultivating their entire life. This does not mean that they won’t necessarily learn to see things in a slightly new way, but it will be easier to adjust to this way of thinking.
Even the staunchest of Christians will often find that their struggles with addiction have caused them to fall out of line with the morals, values and ethics that had once defined their religious and spiritual beliefs. The identity they develop through the lessons of the Alpha Series will help to bring their morals and values back in line, especially when they begin working in the service of other addicts and alcoholics. One of the most important Christian morals is the concept of generosity. It is nigh impossible to hold onto our selfishness when trying to establish a new identity based upon a union with Christ.
Not only will Christian addicts and alcoholics see a resurgence of their morals, but they will also find that their faith has been renewed. Not just their faith in a Higher Power, but their faith in themselves as well. The confidence offered by the lessons of the Alpha Series will do much to restore a sense of usefulness, and those who are able to benefit from this counseling model will find themselves feeling no end of gratitude for the new lease on life that they have been given. They may have been Christians before discovering the Alpha Series, but they will now be able to benefit from the teachings of the Bible through a new gospel of grace that will change their lives for the better.
Benefits for Those of Other Faiths
Those who subscribe to other faiths—or even no faith at all—will still be able to benefit from the teachings of the Alpha Series. However, this will take a fair amount of willingness. Those who wish to take a more open-minded and open-hearted approach to recovery will have to accept the fact that a religion they do not follow may still be based on a foundation of useful teachings. Just because a person considers the Bible to be a work of fiction does not mean it contains no lessons that may be applied to the real world.
Everyone had to pick apart literature in high school and potentially college, looking for themes that may hold lessons intended by the author so that the reader may gain something out of the narrative. The Bible has such lessons in spades, and anyone who has overlooked them has not been reading it correctly. And yes, many of these lessons pertain to religious beliefs. But those who are able to put aside the religiosity of the text will be able to discern major lessons that apply to their own lives.
For those who fear that they cannot use a figure such as Christ to develop their own identity without sacrificing their previous beliefs, let us provide you with a quick example. Everyone is familiar with the concept of turning the other cheek. Those who are in recovery are also familiar with the need to let go of our resentments. By facing those we resent with love instead of anger, we allow ourselves to heal. We recognize that people have not always wronged us as badly as we thought, and many of those who have mistreated us are dealing with their own internal struggles. We should wish them the best, not the worst. Surely it should be easy to see how Jesus embodies such beliefs, regardless of whether or not we view him as a messiah. With this in mind, using Christ as a moral compass should not feel so spiritually conflicting.
The Alpha Series enables both Christians and non-Christians to free their minds and develop an identity that will suit their recovery well. More importantly, this identity falls almost directly in line with the principles that are preached by support groups such as AA. Those who are looking for a bit of faith-based guidance, or even simply a new way of looking at recovery, will benefit greatly from this new counseling approach. For more information on the Alpha Series, feel free to contact us today. Let us know your fears, cares and concerns. We will address them as needed, and provide you with any information you may require as to what this new approach entails and how it works. We look forward to hearing from you.