Christian Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres

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Call our local number 01603 513 091
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Christian Alcohol Rehabilitation centres in the UK include Teen Challenge UKWhitchester House and Betel.

Christian centres differ from regular rehabs in:

  • Length of programme - up to 18 months vs 28 days in traditional rehab
  • No medical intervention provided
  • Patients are expected to have previously detoxed before entering treatment
  • Christian worship and bible studies - mandatory Christian studies unlike traditional rehab [1]
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UK Christian Alcohol Recovery Programmes

Teen Challenge UK

Teen Challenge UK has a 12-18 month initiative that contains:

  • Courses in managing finances and budgeting
  • Functional skills courses in English, Maths, Science and IT
  • Assigned time for personal reflection
  • Group therapy based on a bible proverb or story - run by on-site staff not trained in therapy
  • Work duties - gardening or housework tasks [2]
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Sunnybrae has a male-only, 12-month rehab treatment that contains:

  • Compulsory chapel attendance every morning
  • Bible classes teaching Christian values
  • Participation in on-site window cleaning and gardening businesses [3]

Whitchester House

Whitchester House has an 18 month Christian based rehab initiative that contains:

  • English and Maths skills (not accredited courses) 
  • Gardening, cooking, joinery and household maintenance 
  • Walks and trips around the community
  • Daily church service and religious meetings [4]


Betel has a 12-18 month Christian plan that contains:

  • Christian worship every morning
  • Bible-focused, peer-led discussion groups - no formal therapy offered
  • Assigned work - flyer distribution, furniture collection and delivery and charity shop sales
  • Music and creative arts lessons [5]

Reach Out Ministries

Reach Out Ministries has an 18-month faith-based plan that contains:

  • A personalised recovery plan - covering goals to achieve during treatment and follow-up care including organising housing, finances and access to employment
  • GCSE or A-level qualifications, with the opportunity to enrol in university courses during rehab
  • Sessions on self-worth and spiritual growth [6]

Gloucester House

Gloucester House is a Salvation Army-run centre that has a 6-month initiative, containing:

  • Peer mentor for the first two weeks
  • One-to-one counselling with accredited counsellors
  • Counsellor-led group therapy 
  • Craft sessions
  • IT training
  • Cooking and budgeting lessons
  • Secondary care is available for independence in the later stages of treatment

The Carpenter's Arms

The Carpenter's Arms has a male-only 6-12 month Christian faith initiative that contains:

  • Individual and group therapy by either trained or training therapists about trauma, triggers and underlying causes for addiction
  • Assigned household tasks around the centre
  • Courses relevant to employment goals such as bricklaying or accountancy
  • Anger management and taking responsibility sessions
  • Home visits to adjust to life after the rehab facility

Comparing Christian Recovery Programme Contents


e UK


r House




Male only




12-18 months

12 months

18 months

12-18 months






Assigned work










Assigned peer










Programme Attributes

Reach Out Ministries

Gloucester House

The Carpenter's Arms




Male only

Programme Length

18 months

6 month programme

6-12 months

Community-centric Activities




Assigned Work Programmes?




Educational Study?




Assigned Peer Support




Required Christian Worship




Christian Programme Content vs Intention

Christian Worship And Study

A common perception around worship and study in a Christian approach is that religious ideas are forced upon patients and the rehab aims to convert patients to Christianity.

Whereas religion in Christian recovery approaches is used to accept defects in character, and assistance from God to maintain abstinence.

Taking Responsibility Courses

The perception of taking responsibility courses from a Christian recovery approach is that there is a sense of blame and judgement placed on the alcoholic.

However, Christian-led and other rehabs ask the alcoholic to take responsibility for past actions and let go of guilt and shame felt to move forward in recovery.

Assigned Work Tasks

The misconception about assigned work tasks is that they are used to make money from the residents of the rehab.

In fact, any money gained from work tasks is used to provide care for patients and to recycle skills into training courses in the future.


Why Attend A Christian Treatment Centre?

Beyond Christian beliefs, clients may attend Christian centres because:

  • Free treatment - many Christian recovery approaches are charity or government funded
  • Only able to access the detoxification element of treatment privately or through the NHS
  • Wanting to reconnect with Christianity - being religious prior to alcoholism
  • Emphasis on family involvement - Sunday prayer sessions with family, time set aside to spend with spouses/ children
  • Community-focused work - useful for those who have been isolated due to addiction
  • Developing practical or academic skills to put on a CV and use in future employment

Typical Alcohol Rehabs vs Christian Alcohol Rehabs

The key differences between typical alcohol rehabs and Christian recovery approaches are:

  • The length of the treatment is typically 12-18 months, whereas traditional rehabs are 28 days
  • Work and physical labour - not expected in traditional rehabs
  • Working towards a Christian lifestyle - prayer, bible teachings and bible related discussion groups
  • Personal responsibility - Christian approaches provide secondary care, whereas traditional rehabs provide primary care, so responsibility for abstinence is placed on the individual

Elements Found In Christian Rehab Centres, But Not Elsewhere

Length Of Treatment

Unlike 28-day treatments in traditional rehabs, Christian recovery approaches typically last between 12-18 months, allowing the patient to explore:

  • Content that is spiritual-based, rather than evidence-based
  • Asking God to remove shortcomings and deficits of character
  • Making amends to those that have been harmed by alcoholism
  • Using prayer and meditation to develop contact with God
  • Learning to take accountability for wrongdoings
  • The development of academic and/or practical skills
  • Developing the ability to live independently without addiction using third-party support

Work And Physical Labour

In contrast to traditional rehabs, most Christian-based rehabs are self-sustaining communities, requiring residents to take part in manual labour in order to increase self-sufficiency and responsibility.

Examples of work tasks include:

  • Maintenance of the facility
  • Farming and agricultural work to supply food for the rehab
  • Work in the local community - gardening, window cleaning or domestic tasks

Working Towards A Christian Lifestyle

Whilst all alcohol rehabs have discussions of religion, Christian initiatives base therapy groups on a section of either the bible or the big book of alcoholics anonymous.

Christian recovery approaches encourage either Christian or other forms of spirituality as part of the recovery journey around the belief that creating a relationship with God assists in maintaining abstinence.

Personal Responsibility

In a Christian initiative, care is mostly secondary, placing personal responsibility for abstinence with the individual.

If an individual lapses in a Christian-based approach, they are likely to be asked to leave the facility.

In traditional rehabs, the individual's responsibility to maintain abstinence is supported by doctors and detoxification medication.

Is Detox Provided In Christian Centres?

Detoxification is usually not provided in Christian centres, meaning medical detoxification must be completed externally and proof must be provided at the point of admission to a Christian programme.

A Christian recovery centre does not undertake any medical risk as there are usually no medically trained staff present.

Some Christian rehabs receive referrals from NHS or private rehabs after patients have completed a detox at the facility.

Therapeutic Progress On Triggers, Beliefs, And Patterns Of Addiction In Christian Centres

Unlike traditional rehabs, Christian rehab's therapeutic content and delivery:

  • Uses faith as an underlying fundamental of recovery
  • Contains counselling or therapy led by members of the church
  • Looks at addiction through the view of the bible - as a deficit to be overcome
  • Uses a relationship with a higher power to increase feelings of fulfilment and meaning without alcohol
  • Uses helping others in own recovery journey as a way to achieve fulfilment

How Do Elements Of Christian Recovery Programmes Translate Into The Community, After Treatment? (Aftercare)

The key differences between aftercare in Christian recovery programmes and traditional rehab options are:

  • Traditional rehabs guarantee individualised professionally led therapeutic content - unlike peer or church led in Christian approaches
  • Traditional rehab stays include detox - Christian approaches expect clients to arrive after going through detox
  • Traditional rehabs create a structured plan that includes future pacing - Christian approaches typically only include third-party referrals

Standard Rehab Programme Elements

Christian-Based Rehab Equivalent

Creating an individualised care plan to
accommodate patients’ needs

Standardised faith-based treatment approach


Detox is mostly not available

Bible studies and discussion workshops

Professionally led therapy- able to expand on
group discussions

Meetings with members of the church

Structured practical aftercare plan created in
collaboration with the client - allows for future pacing

Unstructured church-run group meetings/
therapy, advice from sponsors with lived
experience of addiction

Choice of holistic care to develop future
coping mechanisms

Assigned work tasks and craft workshops

Who Christian Rehab Is Suitable For

Those Requiring A Same-Gender Rehab

Same-gender Christian rehabs are suitable for:

  • Following a religion that may prohibit living with the opposite gender
  • Those who have experienced specific traumas around the opposite gender
  • Those who have experienced domestic violence
  • Those with co-occurring sex addictions

Those Requiring Housing

Christian rehab is suitable for:

  • The homeless or those in temporary accommodation
  • Those who are long-term unemployed
  • Those who have emigrated to the UK - some Christian rehabs offer scholarships for international patients
  • Those wanting to be away from their previous environment due to past crimes or relapses

Those Wanting To Leave Enabling Environments

Christian rehabs may be suitable for those who:

  • Are enabled to drink when returning home after a 28-day rehab - particularly if this has happened multiple times
  • Have not been helped by future pacing in a 28-day facility - longer times away can help remove dependency on enablers

Those Following Other Religions

While rehabs following other religions exist, they are limited across the UK.

Christian rehabs offer an alternative as:

  • There is still an emphasis on faith and spirituality that is open to personal interpretation
  • There is flexibility in not attending strictly Christian worship
  • Christian programmes are respectful of the requirements of other religions - such as times of prayer or dietary requirements

Those Requiring Further Education

If alcoholism has been detrimental to education, young adults in their late teens can seek academic skills and qualifications in a Christian rehab, leading to future employment.

Those Requiring Longer Rehab Stays

Some patients may benefit from a longer stay provided in a Christian initiative, such as:

  • Those who have had many failed attempts in a 28-day rehab - particularly if returning to the same environment after rehab is causing relapse
  • Those who have no intention of becoming sober and are waiting for 28 days to be over to continue drinking - having to commit to a longer time could lead to long-term sobriety

What Christian Rehab Is NOT

Only Focused On Prayer/ Religious Teaching

Christian programmes do not believe religion is the only solution to addiction and use therapy in recovery.

More Religious Than Other Rehabs

Whilst Christian rehabs may use more religious ideology than other forms of rehab, the end goal is primarily focused on addiction treatment.

Forces Religion Onto Patients

Unlike common perceptions, Christian rehabs do not force patients to follow Christianity.

It is common practice for Christian approaches to encourage patients to replace a higher power with their chosen religion/ spiritual beliefs or family and loved ones instead.


However, one of the main tenants of Christian rehab is a lack of judgement or stigma for past actions.

Instead, they focus on taking accountability moving forwards.

Long-Term Effects Of Christian Alcohol Recovery Programmes

As Christian programmes are longer than traditional rehabs (18 months vs 28 days), the alcoholic can make long-term lifestyle changes to improve quality of life, including:

  • Having an in-built community through the church - to support through future complications that may have resulted in relapsing
  • Mentoring others through the initiative -gaining responsibility and avoiding selfishness that can hinder own recovery journey
  • Christianity encourages taking care of the body given by God (by exercise, a healthy diet and maintaining good mental health) - all beneficial to maintaining long-term sobriety
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About the author

Harriet Garfoot

Harriet Garfoot BA, MA has an Undergraduate degree in Education Studies and English, and a Master's degree in English Literature, from Bishop Grosseteste University. Harriet writes on stress & mental health, and is a member of the Burney Society. Content reviewed by Laura Morris (Clinical Lead).

Last Updated: March 24, 2024