Faith Based Programs


Active Member
There was a discussion tonight at my Nar-Anon meeting about faith based programs. There's one that a lady in the group said her adult son (?) maybe daughter went to. It's a 10 month program where they work on a farm (I think) and she said it was great. It's free except for a $100 entry fee, which I would gladly pay for.

My biggest concern is that I am a Christian although I'm not a church goer, but my son, who is spiritual (when he's not using at least) does not identify as Christian. If these programs force "religion" on the participants and require them to attend regular worship services, I don't think my son would be agreeable, and I would have reservations myself. Many of the lessons and principles in the Bible could apply to anyone's life, to any faith, and even to those who don't subscribe to any faith at all. If that's the main focus on these programs that's great. But personally I wouldn't go to a program where I was forced or required to participate in rituals that I didn't subscribe to or believe in.

Does anyone know how "hardcore" these programs are? I looked at one website and it did say people from all faiths are welcome, so that gives me hope that they would apply Biblical principles without the hellfire and damnation aspect. If anyone has experience with faith based programs I would love to hear your thoughts. I think I'll call the one tomorrow whose website I visited just now and maybe ask them these same questions.


Well-Known Member
Does anyone know how "hardcore" these programs are?
Two of the adult children on this site within the past few months completed year long (more or less) faith based programs. RN's son was one of them. One young man here completed Victory Outreach, which is a faith based program. He used heroin and now he is a sniper in the marine corps.

Because of these experiences, in large part, I pushed my son to look into two that are in my area. One is Teen Challenge. The other was Salvation Army. He was interested in neither one. He said Teen Challenge is something like "Apostles of Christ." He rejected this out of hand. I think he meant it is stringent. The other, Salvation Army, he went to visit, and hated it. I believe Salvation Army is less stringent.

That said, I believe the programs vary in how hard core they are. I think they may be open to anybody of any faith, expressly because they seek to convert their candidates. There is the fundamental belief that faith heals that I think is the foundation of a faith-based program. They see the addiction as the affliction that breaks down resistance to the love of G-d.

In the cases where these kids went to these programs, I think they were under extreme pressure. Either facing criminal pressures, parental pressure, etc. I do not think there is a way to pressure another adult to accept this, without a great deal of leverage. And even then, when the leverage is over, the compliance may end.

I think that 12 step groups can be very effective, but even here, many members are mandated by the courts, their work, etc. The nature of addiction the 12 step programs teach, is to be powerless to stop. So it makes sense that people have to many times be dragged there kicking and screaming. And as parents, we don't have that kind of power typically.

I think that in retrospect I put too much energy and emotion into solving things for my son, finding options, etc. when he was not at all interested. I have reached the point now where I really get, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

There is not one thing I can do for my son to make him stop. All I can do is to stop it in my home or near me, by setting boundaries. I am finally reaching the point where so many other mothers and fathers arrived, where I face that he can likely die in the street or of a mortal disease. I cannot stop him. The only person who can is my son.

That said, I might give my son the names of the programs, if that is what you decide to do. Either he goes or he doesn't.
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Active Member
I would give my son the names of the programs, if you want. Either he goes or he doesn't.
You are absolutely correct. I also wondered if they welcomed people of "all faiths" but as part of the program tried to convert them. I don't think I like that. I wish my son would return to his Christian roots but when he was old enough to question religion I no longer made him go to church.I tried to persuade him to go but left the choice up to him. If he does at some point embrace Christianity it will happen when it's meant to. If it doesn't happen then so be it. All I plan to do is pass the information on to him and if he chooses to go I'll pay the admissions fee. But yes it's his decision alone


100% better than I was but not at 100% yet
My son went to a 13 month faith based program in Memphis.

It was his last chance as far as we were concerned.

It was hard. Hell yes it was hard. It was EXACTLY what he needed though. He needed to be away from drugs and alcohol and give his brain a chance to HEAL.

Like you, at that time we did not go to church but always believed in God. He did not want to go and ran out of the place. My husband left him in the parking lot. We were done. There was no way he could be with us. Husband told him he could come home IF and only IF he graduated the program. My husband drove from Chicago to Florida where he had been living (in and out of sober living) and then took him to Memphis.

I won't get into all of it and you can PM me if you want to know anything specific but it changed his life and it changed our life. I am eternally grateful for the discipline he learned there. I know he would have ended up dead or in jail for a long time if he did not do this. They help them to see what they are doing to their lives and the people they love.

They do not push a specific religion but do introduce them to God and his grace. Many there HAD to be there due to court order and a few left and did not complete the program. A few left and came back. One graduated and then overdosed on heroin a few months later.

My son saw a lot there. They taught him things that we tried to teach him but he was not receptive to us. I honestly am still amazed that he stayed. He was a horrible person due to his addiction before he entered the program.

He has been home since November and has been working full time. He does drink beer but in moderation. There has been some MJ but not in our home. He goes to church on Sundays with us when he is not working. He has learned boundaries. It is a work in progress but I feel like he is a gift to us and we are getting to know him as the man God meant for him to be.

I am eternally grateful that he did this. I cannot say enough about it.


Active Member
After giving it more thought, I've decided not to pursue this. It just dawned on me today that my son is gay. I know that sound ludicrous but his sexual orientation is such a non-issue that I really don't give it much though. But then as I thought about Biblical-based programs, as wonderful as they may be, I'm sure that many of them are of the belief that homosexuality is a sin. And I will not even suggest sending my son to a place where he may be told he's going to hell because he's gay or where they try to convert his orientation.