Drugs

Motivating Addiction Recovery Program Participants (Part 1)Premium Content

The more time I spend with rescue mission recovery programs, the more I’ve become convinced that the most important “gift” we can give homeless addicts is community, a place to belong. Homelessness is a state of complete disaffiliation—being cut off from all meaningful and supportive human relationships. Suc­cessful mission residential programs actually provide a supportive “family” environment where homeless addicts can examine their lives and take the difficult initial steps toward a new, sober, and productive life.

There are two other important communities that program participants must become involved with so the process of change begun at the mission continues after they leave. The first is the Church, the Body of Christ, where program graduates experi­ence fellowship with other believers and spiritual nurture.

The second is the recovering community where involvement with support groups for recovering addicts give them a place to continue personal growth through mutual sharing and encour­agement with others who have overcome addiction.

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A Christian Philosophy of Addiction and RecoveryPremium Content

There's a long standing debate in Christian Counseling circle as to whether addiction is a sin or a disease. I have addressed this issue in a previous article. What I want to say here is simply, any rescue mission, Salvation Army ARC or other Christian ministry that works with alcoholics and drug addicts must establish an official philosophy of addiction. This is best done at the level of the board of directors. How we approach addicts from a philosophical and theological perspective will ultimately guide everything we do. Certainly, it will serve as the framework for our counseling approach. But it will also influence whom we hire, the curriculum we develop, and the expectations we have for the people in our programs.

For potential use with your program, and to serve as a framework for developing your philosophy, I offer the Philosophy of Addiction and Recovery I developed for New Creation Center, the residential treatment program I led in Atlantic Mine, Michigan for over ten years. Feel free to use as much of it as you wish.

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Why Do I Have to Be Ready Again? Taking Step 6Premium Content

Many people (myself included) spend very little time, if any, on Step 6: "We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." We think, "Hey! I was over ready when I first got into recovery!" or "I have been ready and eager at Steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Why do I have to be ready again?"

Why does Step 6 ask us to be entirely ready?

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Set Free - Replacing the Old with the NewPremium Content

In searching for, and living in the truth that can set us free, the first thing we need to do is replace the old with the new. Romans 12:2: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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The 12 Steps to Total and Complete InsanityPremium Content

1. We admitted we were powerless over nothing. We could manage our lives perfectly and we could manage those of anyone else that would allow it.

2. Came to believe that there was no power greater than ourselves, and the rest of the world was insane.

3. Made a decision to have our loved ones and friends turn their wills and their lives over to our care.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of everyone we knew.

5. Admitted to the whole world at large the exact nature of their wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to make others straighten up and do right.

7. Demanded others to either "shape up or ship out".

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Continuum of CarePremium Content

Many people still think of rescue missions as places where homeless people find housing, food and spiritual instruction. Yet, those of us who are involved in this field know that unless their deeper spiritual, emotional, physical, and social needs are addressed, homeless people will never attain stability in their lives. Many suffer from mental illness, addiction to alcohol and/or drugs, and various medical problems. Some cannot read, lack high school diplomas, and do not possess basic skills needed to find and keep a job. These and other complex problems keep people on the streets.

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"Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic?"

What about those who say, "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic?"

Release from compulsion is a reality
Those who react negatively to this phrase usually interpret it to mean that an addicted individual is condemned to live under the constant danger of slipping into drunkenness against his own will. This, of course, would be a definite denial of God's power to change the addict and empower him to live a victorious life. The truth is that many believers do testify of an experience where the power of the Spirit of God actually lifted the compulsive desire to use alcohol and drugs from them. We must be mindful of the fact that, once this occurs, the newly reborn addict still must contend with all the lingering consequences of this life of bondage.

Romantic Relationships in Early RecoveryPremium Content

Why should recovering alcoholics and addicts avoid new relationships with members of the opposite sex in the first year of recovery?

By avoiding new relationships with members of the opposite sex you also:

Avoid losing the focus on personal issues
For alcoholics and addicts, real lasting change occurs only after a long and often painful process of self discovery. This involves understanding their own addictive behaviors, repressed emotions, and destructive thought patterns. However, their denial uses the feelings and behaviors of others to avoid facing their own pain and dishonesty and from assuming responsibility for their controlling and shame-producing actions. Introducing a romantic relationship, with an intense focus on the other person, too early in recovery inevitably "short-circuits" the important process of reconnecting with self and learning to become responsible for one's own feelings and behavior.

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Michael Liimatta’s Spiritual Journey

I grew up in an alcoholic family. Both my father and my mother came from alcoholic homes, too. Because I grew up in such a very chaotic home, I was running the streets from an early age. My first drinking experience was when I was just twelve years old. I was "turned on" to pot at age fourteen, and went to jail twice for selling marijuana, hashish, and LSD, before I was eighteen years old.

In 1974, my life began to unravel. God used "the law" to get my attention. It looked like I would be "busted" for selling drugs for a third time. The fear of a long prison sentence finally brought me to the end of myself. I became so desperate that I started listening to those "Jesus freak" friends of mine. Anybody remember Jesus freaks? They were former hippies who came to know Christ. As far as I was concerned, they were really kind of spooky people who floated around and were all "smiley" and they weren't doing any dope. Although I could not figure out what they had in their lives, I just knew I needed it, too.

Impenetrable to Temptation

God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Psalm 46:1, Amplified Bible

What trouble am I having in my life right now? Lately, I have been struggling with a great deal of anxiety. One of the reasons for this is my lack of intimacy with God and His Word, just being still with Him. I desperately need to take time with Jesus each and every day -- at least once a day -- to just sit with Him and really talk to Him, and then spend time listening. Daily, I read His Word. But it is vital to me that I Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that [He is] God. Psalm 46:10, Amplified Bible. Psalm 46:1 shows me clearly just how beautiful and profound the results of doing so can be! Will you walk with me through what I discovered when I spent some time with Jesus and this verse?

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