Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Archive for October, 2014

Christian Fellowship and Recovery

Posted on: October 31st, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

When you go through early recovery, your support network plays an invaluable role in the success of your journey. Many people find their faith-based support network is one of the most important social support groups they have. Therefore, belonging to a Christian fellowship group can strengthen the foundation of your recovery, whether it is an addiction support group or any fellowship group.


Fellowship is often associated with church and other religious organizations. However, the actual definition of the word fellowship really just means a group of equals that meet. Many fellowship groups meet to discuss their beliefs and search for spiritual enlightenment, which is why it is heavily associated with religion.

It provides a supportive environment where people are accepted and belong. This environment promotes the type of supportive social environment that is necessary for addiction recovery.

Social Support

When you go through recovery, you want to be sure to have a strong social network. Social support can be complex, and typically you will have several people or even groups that provide diverse pieces of the overall structure you need. You need some people who can impart important advice and information on how to continue on the road to recovery.

You also need emotional support, including someone to which to reach out if you feel you might relapse or encounter a tough situation. This might be a sponsor, a trusted friend or family member, or your therapist. A social network will also help you objectively see how well you are doing on your recovery, which can help you notice bad patterns before they become problematic.

Christian Based Recovery Fellowship

Many churches and other houses of worship offer recovery-specific fellowship group for members who have experienced addiction problems. By joining these groups, you can meet with people who have experienced some of the same problems you have faced.

They will provide support and often have invaluable advice to help you on your journey. In some churches, these groups will also discuss their faith and learn about God’s specific role in recovery. Other support groups may be more open to the interpretation to spiritual fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other 12-step support groups that do not promote one specific belief but instead accept all religions and belief systems.

Other Christian Fellowship

You should not only consider joining the fellowship groups specific to recovering addicts. Many people find that joining a church and engaging in any of the offered fellowship groups provides a foundation for their recovery. Becoming active at church imparts a healthy activity to replace drinking or using drugs.

You also are surrounded by people who typically provide good influences on you, which may be important if you find that many of your old friends enabled or influenced your use, or still drink or use drugs.

If you were to return to those friends, you would soon find yourself relapsing and returning to your bad habits. You can find new friends in a healthy and supportive environment by becoming active at church. Although the support of other addicts can always be helpful, you can find similar support from almost any fellowship group in a church. This will also help you to avoid feeling lonely, which could lead you back to your dangerous behavior.

Christian fellowship provides the support system you need to remain on the road to recovery, find new and supportive friends, and remain strong in your faith to rely on God to give you the strength to get through the tough times. Therefore, it should be one of the defining aspects of your recovery plan.

Prominence of God’s Role in Recovery

Posted on: October 23rd, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

God plays a prominent role in recovery for many addicts. One of the most famous recovery methods, the 12-step method created by Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s, heavily relies on a person accepting the power of God, or any higher power, to help overcome addiction. By recognizing the power that God has to help you overcome your addiction, you can find the inner strength to overcome your problems and remain sober, even during the tough time of early recovery.

The Role of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is difficult for many addicts. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol due to a traumatic event, an abusive spouse, bullying, low-self esteem, and other negative emotions. It may be difficult for them to learn to forgive people for these past events, which is necessary to move on. By learning to forgive, you can learn to cope with the traumatic and stressful events that occur in life rather than relying upon an addictive substance.

Many addicts destroy relationships with their friends, family, spouses, and other loved ones. They may even act horribly towards a person. Until they can forgive themselves for their behavior under the influence, they will never be able to fully heal. That is why making amends is such an important role in the 12 steps.

One way to learn the healing power of forgiveness is to turn to God. God forgives anything; you just have to ask. By learning about real forgiveness, people can learn to forgive others and themselves. This will help them to learn to manage many of the negative aspects of their life, both in the past and the present, in order to heal and move on. This is essential to remain sober and not relapse.

Unconditional Love

Closely associated with forgiveness is unconditional love. Many addicts have low self-esteem, a negative self-worth, and a belief that their life is meaningless. They lose hope in themselves and do not know why they should try to change. By learning about unconditional love, which starts from the unconditional love offered by God, addicts can learn that everyone is special and worth saving.

They will gain the strength to discover the person they were meant to be. Trusting in God will also reveal an addicts’ purpose in life, and provide the strength to find the path to pursuing that purpose. Additionally, God can help an addict learn to love him or herself, an essential component to remaining on the road to recovery. God is love, and His love will show you the way to learn unconditional love for yourself and others.

Learn about Grace

Everyone makes mistakes in life. The defining aspect of a mistake is how a person reacts to making one. Many addicts become overwhelmed by any mistakes or failures, defining themselves by the result rather than by how they react. In early recovery, this can become detrimental. One mistake or even one relapse does not mean the end of the road. It is merely a hurdle to overcome and from which to learn. By learning about grace, you can learn to allow yourself your shortcoming. God is full of grace, and He can help you to accept your weaknesses, your past failings, and any future mistakes without defining yourself by these problems.

Although God plays a prominent role in recovery from addiction, you cannot expect Him to do all the work. Although praying helps, you have to act in order to make any changes. It will not come suddenly and unexpectedly. God can give you the strength to make the changes yourself. By trusting in Him and learning to forgive, love and be graceful, you can learn to overcome your addiction. No matter your definition of a higher power, filling your life with forgiveness, love, and grace will help you to overcome your addiction.

Change Sufficient To Bring on Recovery

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Personality plays a significant role in addiction. Many people talk about having an addictive personality, and this statement has a ring of truth to it. Certain personality traits can increase a person’s risk of developing addiction — and prevent the changes necessary to overcome the addiction.

Many addicts are narcissistic, make impulsive decisions, have a need for excitement or new sensations, lack patience, value deviant behavior, and feel alienated from society. It is also typical for addicts to have a pessimistic outlook on the world, and to experience feelings of depression or anxiety. Many addicts also feel worthless, hopeless, and do not believe that treatment will help. Unless they believe otherwise, treatment will not work.

How to Change your Personality

In order to bring about change, you have to first believe that you can be different. Foremost, an addict needs to have hope — and confidence — that things can change. For many, this is the hardest part of recovery. Although a person cannot go from a pessimist to an optimist overnight, it is important to see the world through a more positive light.

Certain personality traits need to be recognized before they can be changed. If you cannot change certain personality traits, you have to learn new, healthy ways to express them, rather than relying upon destructive thoughts and behavior.

The best way to make changes to your personality is to learn how to alter your destructive behavior patterns. Personality and behavior are closely related. Many destructive thought patterns turn into destructive behavior, which in turn becomes your normal behavior.

Unless new patterns of behavior are taught to replace the old, then the cycle of abuse will continue. Psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, will help you recognize the unhealthy personality traits and distorted thoughts and behavior patterns and teach new, healthy replacements.

The Stages of Change

Change does not happen overnight. You have to be patient and acknowledge that you can learn to change. When you attempt to make changes to these self-destructive patterns, you will typically go through five stages of change, which were first indentify in 1982 by Prochaska and DiClemente and have since been validated by several hundred studies.

The stages include:

  • Pre-Contemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Termination

By acknowledging your current state, you can discuss the right strategies to continue to move through the states.

The precontemplation stage occurs when you are not ready to change, when you are typically stuck in denial. Contemplation begins when you start to admit you have a problem and are considering quitting, but you remain unsure. Preparation happens when you decide that you will quit and you readying yourself to make the change.

Action is the first stage when you begin to really change. This stage can be difficult, and you might face several bumps in the road. You need to have support during this stage. Maintenance occurs when you are still in the early days of recovery and change and still need some support. Termination occurs when you have successfully changed.

Overcoming the Odds

Change can occur, and you can find the strength to overcome your addiction. You first have to admit you need help and then seek support in creating enough of a personality change to facilitate the changes necessary for recovery. For some people, the 12-step program and belief in a higher power helps them create the necessary change to their personality.

In the second appendix of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, they discuss their belief in spiritual awakening, saying it is part of the “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism.” They recognize that this type of change develops slowly over time, and you should too.

Harry Potter Re-Written with Christian Slant

Posted on: October 13th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Harry Potter book series is one of the most successful young adult franchises. It has sold half a billion copies world wide and led to a successful film series based of the books.

Although at their core the books are about a battle between good and evil, many conservative parents believe that the books are inappropriate for their children because of the magical aspects of the tales.

This has led to several schools and other places banning the books. Recently, a woman decided to rewrite the tales in what is being called reverse fan fiction so that they are no longer about witches and wizards.

A Housewife Decides to Rewrite Harry Potter

Grace Ann has decided to take fan fiction to a different level. Fan fiction typically involves taking the characters of the books and reimagining them in different plots, but retaining their basic character identities. However, Grace Ann decided to take the books and make them more family friendly because she does not “want [her children] turning into witches,” according to her introduction to the texts on

She has named the new series Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, and she has rewritten in a way that is more in tune with her conservative Christian morals. She hopes that other parents who feel the same as she does will enjoy sharing the books with their children as well.

The Revisionist Tale of Harry Potter: Christian

The changes to the book do not just merely get rid of the magic elements. The character names may be the same, but the characters are vastly different. Instead of Muggles and Wizards, in this version there are atheists and Christians.

In the first scene, Hagrid is seen as a door-to-door missionary for Christians, while Harry’s aunt and uncle do not believe in God, instead believing in evolution and the theories of “Dawkins.” Harry goes to Hogwarts to learn about how to get into heaven, pray, and other important Christian messages. 

Additionally, there are some very strong messages about the role of women, including that they should not hold jobs but stay at home. It also emphasizes the importance of obedience, including unquestioning loyalty and strict adherence to those in charge.

A story about identity, finding true friends, fighting evil, tolerance, and the power of young people has turned into a way to display one woman’s particular beliefs in a not-so-subtle way.

Does the Story Work?

Although some Christian conservative parents may believe that the Harry Potter series are inappropriate for their children to read due to the fantasy elements and other story parts, this story by no means works as a censored replacement.

Grace Ann did not merely make small changes to the story to censor it to her liking; instead, she took a well-loved story and used it to try to share her views with the rest of the world. Some conservative Christian parents with similar views to Grace Ann appreciate her efforts, but the vast majority of people do not appreciate the rewritten tales.

Everyone should be able to have his or her own beliefs, but this story was not necessarily the best way for Grace Ann to share hers with the world. It does not just lack magic; it lacks the depth of the original story. Many people see this story as a parody, due to the significant changes and lack of complexity.

Perhaps Grace Ann would have created a more engaging story had she created her own story rather than trying to recreate that of a beloved series. Then others may have been more open to what she wanted to share with the rest of the world.

God Doing What You Could Not

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Turning to a higher power during recovery has long been seen as a powerful tool in substance abuse treatment. The popular 12-step program, started in the 1930s by Alcoholics Anonymous and adapted by many other support groups and treatment facilities, uses spirituality and a higher power as a pivotal feature in the path to remaining abstinent.

Faith based treatment has been shown to be very powerful and beneficial for those looking for support from God. By recognizing the powerless of the individual and putting trust in God, you can find the strength to do what you never thought you could.

What is Faith Based Treatment?

Faith based treatment is simply a treatment program that includes spirituality as part of the overall treatment program. It focuses on the power of God or another higher power in supporting an addict to overcome addiction. Faith based treatment does not have to align itself with a particular religion or definition of God, although many people find it helpful to do so, especially if they also participate in religious services and join the faith community.

Not Letting Powerlessness Win

Many recovering addicts feel helpless, powerless and lost. This leads them to feeling pessimistic about their chances of remaining sober, and they do not have the means to overcome this negative outlook. With faith-based treatment, a person does not feel lost in their powerlessness. Instead, they accept that they are powerless, but put their trust in a higher power to help them with what they cannot do on their own.

The Importance of Spirituality

Several studies have found that people who are spiritual tend to have more positive emotions and are physically and mentally healthier. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape painful or negative emotions or stress. Spirituality provides another outlet for overcoming these problems, one that is overall healthier.

Some experts believe that addiction is not just a physical and mental disorder but also is a spiritual problem. For people who come from a religious or spiritual background but have felt they lost the way, undergoing a faith-based treatment can help them once again find their faith.

The Benefits of Faith-Based Treatment

Faith based treatment has many benefits. First and foremost, it helps people no longer feel powerless and lost. Instead, they know they may not have the power alone to conquer addiction, but by believing in the power of God, they can conquer anything. This focus on spirituality has additional benefits.

Many people find they are happier and feel freer, no longer fearing people or places. They also no longer feel self-pity or have a low self-esteem. They also are more compassionate and help others, making them feel more worthwhile. They also feel they have the strength to handle anything.

They find they no longer regret the past but look towards starting a new life with a new, positive outlook and inner peace. They feel as though they have purpose and direction in their life with more inner strength.

Healthy Fellowship

Religious and spiritual communities also provide a healthy social environment in which recovering addicts can engage. Social connection is important to a person’s overall health and well being, especially during early recovery. By attending religious services or otherwise engaging in a faith-based community, a person has the support they need to remain strong in recovery.

By attending faith-based treatment, a person can often begin to engage in this community and continue to do so once they have left treatment. Although faith based treatment is not for everyone, many people find that it provides them with the strength to do what they never though they could: have a sober and happy life.