A common question I’m asked in regards to our LDS addiction treatment program at Renaissance Ranch is, “What does it mean to be gospel centered?” Or, “What is an LDS addiction treatment center? Loaded questions indeed…Depending on who you speak with at Renaissance the answer will vary, at times drastically. But, the common themes within the answers define us as an LDS addiction treatment program.
On the surface, those without direct involvement with Renaissance form opinions about what they think we do, and who they think we are as a treatment provider. Most of the time those we work within the treatment field are surprised to find our program is actually quite different than the common misconceptions. To me, being gospel-centered means we strive to live by teachings within the gospels i.e.(sermon on the mount), the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or other alike fellowships, and any and all other spiritual practices that align as such, including the LDS faith. This means we support all avenues of religion and spirituality as they have similar core principles.
Humility, faith, self-awareness, more humility, change, amends, self-evaluation, love, forgiveness, honesty, prayer and meditation, and service. These are values that can be tied to the Gospels, the “good news”, the 12 Steps, Christians, Latter Day Saints, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, etc. The spiritual path a man begins in recovery is sacred. We trust God. We don’t apologize for our reliance on God to remain sober. The foundation built-in spirit while relying on God is necessary and vital in our opinion. The path one takes to get there can vary, and is an open box. We support that. We believe in that. Our program is inclusive.
I’ve included below other opinions from members of our staff on the subject of LDS addiction treatment:
“Of course Alma the Younger comes to mind, as well as Paul. These are two powerful examples of how someone who is responsible for actively and intentionally leading others away from God (including themselves) and being, as Alema quoted, the “vilest of sinners”, can have a second chance, and a complete change of heart. Recovery is about changing hearts. This is as real a miracle as raising someone from the dead, and in some ways more miraculous because that person’s agency is involved, and totally redirected. To be gospel-centered, to me, means leading those suffering from addiction and mental illness to a safe place in which their Father in Heaven can reveal himself to them and heal them. It is to deconstruct shame-based and perfectionistic belief systems, where the individual feels unworthy to approach God, or even feel of His love; and assist that person in reconstructing a faith that works, and that actually heals their mind, body, and heart. Being gospel-centered is teaching the “atonement through the backdoor”, which is the 12-step program. I believe that the AA program, both the fellowship of the spirit as revealed to Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and the fellowship of the individuals participating in exactly what the gospel is all about; that is to be “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times”. Dave Callister, Clinical Director
“Coming into Renaissance nearly 9 years ago, I had no idea what to expect, especially when it was advertised as a “Gospel Centered program.” For me, that word had only been associated with guilt and shame in my vocabulary. I came to find out the clinical program addressed my “mormon shame” head-on by cutting through the lies and shame I had found myself in. Even though I had been raised in the LDS faith, and had many spiritual experiences, and thought I knew a thing or two, I came to understand that my conception of God, spirituality, and the “Gospel” was beyond way off. I was given a new perspective through many in-depth process groups, evaluating mine and others’ broken belief systems and we were able to piece the truth together as a brotherhood. I became acutely aware of how my addiction was caused and given tools I never had, that in a very real way, changed the game with how to deal with it. Together, with my brothers in the program, we were able to stick together as we practiced living this new way of life until it did not practice any longer, it had BECOME a new way of life, a wonderfully better way of living. A life where my character wasn’t riddled with ego, pride, fear, and resentment; but with peace, love, acceptance, and humility. I had found what I was always looking for in drugs and alcohol. I had become okay with who I was and eager to let others know that there was a way out of the darkness. I learned that my darkest hours could be used as someones guiding light. I found purpose and meaning in my suffering, I found out what the Gospel was always about in the first place.
Working with the ranch today and being brought up through the local recovery community and after receiving a degree in psychology and obtaining a counseling license, I have found and believe that true and lasting recovery is obtained through spiritual healing in conjunction with evidence-based, clinical practices. We have found key elements and a specific brand of spirituality unique to the addict who suffers as well as their families. Gospel centered, to me, means love-centered. We don’t shake hands at the Ranch, we hug. We don’t exclude anyone for any reason, we include. We love others until they can love themselves. we fight for others when they have given up on themselves because we see them for not as they are, but for who they can become.” Tyson Dixon, CEO
LDS addiction treatment is also something we provide to the community based on geography. We are located on the south end of the Salt Lake Valley, so many of our clients come to us from an LDS background of some sort. Whether they grew up LDS and were baptized at the age of 8 years old and have active family members in the LDS faith, or they were converted at some point in life to the LDS church, or many times started an addiction after they’ve returned home from a 2-year LDS mission. To us, all of these individuals have several important commonalities when it comes to looking for LDS addiction treatment.
- They feel immense shame and guilt for what their life has become
- They’re open to and looking toward the same creator and savior they believe in, or at one point did believe in.
- They find comfort in knowing that there’s still hope for them through the 12-steps and the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Having a program here at Renaissance Ranch that offers and supports LDS addiction treatment is special and something we’re protective of. We’ve seen miracles, see miracles, and will see many more to come because of the incorporation of the gospels, LDS teachings, while being flexible to any other spiritual practices that individuals have. We rely on being spiritually flexible while at the same time unshaken in our belief as a program that God is vital to the recovery process.
We meet individuals where they’re currently at on their spiritual journey and don’t push, prod, or promote religion. We do support, love, and guide them. LDS addiction treatment we’ve found can be more of an open box than some on the outside may assume, and that’s why it works for so many men who are threatened by religion, resentful toward religion, apathetic toward God, or ashamed of themselves.
There is hope. LDS addiction treatment exists! Addicts recover. Period.
We watch it happen all the time.
By combining proven clinical methods, brotherhood, gospel centered principles, and reliance on God, miracles can and do happen on a daily basis. We have seen individuals change, families change, and recovery take root!
If you’re looking for LDS addiction treatment please know that we’re here, and ready to help!