The Dyn ynamics of of Reaching Ad Addicts from from a Christ-Cen enter ered ed Worldview ew
• Family • ATC Memphis Graduate • Background in ATC and Substance Abuse • Military Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor
Secular vs Christian Perspective on Addiction and Recovery The Disease Concept Christ Centered Discipleship The disease concept is a theory of Christian discipleship is the process by addiction that makes addiction like which those who accept Christ in their all other chronic diseases . heart begin to grow in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and are equipped by the According to addiction medicine power of the Holy Spirit to overcome professionals, addiction is a the pressures (Includes addiction chronic brain disease that's more related issues) and trials of this present about the neurology of the brain than life and become more and more the outward manifestations of Christlike. behavioral problems and poor choices.
BRAIN RECOVERY There is evidence that the brain does recover; the image to the right shows the healthy brain on the left, and the brain of a patient who misused methamphetamine in the center and the right. In the center, after one month of abstinence, the brain looks quite different than the healthy brain; however, after 14 months of abstinence, the dopamine transporter levels in the reward region of the brain (an indicator of dopamine system function) return to nearly normal function.
The Brain vs The Mind The brain outside of regeneration, surgery or the Holy Spirit healing it, does not change, the mind however can be renewed. Romans 12:2 teaches us, not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind; To be conformed to the world is to live in a manner that is consistent with activities leading to bondage or enslavement. (Thinking with your head, and not your heart) John 8:36, therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Freedom is a result of having a renewed mind. So what is the mind? The mind has everything to do with what’s in a person’s heart and nothing to with what’s in their head. Proverbs 23:7 says this, for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
Secular Recovery Perspective Secular treatment programs teach that addiction is a brain disease that is “progressive, chronic, and fatal” for which there is no hope of overcoming (incurable) and requires a lifetime of management and treatment. But there is no real evidence for this conclusion. There are no blood tests or scans to determine conclusively if a person is addicted to something. Brain scans in my opinion simply show how drugs and alcohol impair the brain (areas of decreased or low activity).
Secular vs Christian Perspective on Addiction and Recovery Most secular based treatment Most Faith-based discipleship programs are short term (30-90 days). programs are long-term 12 months or more. Learning to manage or cope with the disease involves attending regular Discipleship is about more than simply meetings (AA, NA, CA etc.), finding a working a program, but helping the sponsor and working the 12 steps, this person or the addicted learn a new way is called “recovery.” to live through a strong relationship w/God. Find a Higher Power. It can be anyone or anything you choose. Discipleship is about learning to practice spiritual disciplines. The process is about recovery maintenance and not about change in The process of learning a new lifestyle behavior or lifestyle. requires more time and commitment.
Some addiction professionals believe the primary motive behind labeling addiction as a disease is to remove the guilt and shame associated with the addiction. This is a noble approach, but it also causes unintended consequences to the addict believing they have a disease. Unintended Consequences: 1. It creates a victim mentality. They are convinced they have a cancer-like disease that simply came upon them without any assistance of their own. 2. The person’s self-identity becomes inseparably connected to addiction. For example, in many twelve step models, participants begin their meetings with a mantra that reinforces their identity with their struggle. They say, “Hi, my name is _______ and I am an alcoholic or addict.” The disease or medical model fundamentally robs the person of hope and changes their self-identity. 3. Viewing addiction as a disease can also undermines their self-confidence and will to change because the addicted person believes they cannot overcome, and eventually give up fighting who they have come to believe they really are.
Christian Discipleship of the Drug Addicted and or Alcoholic In comparison to the secular recovery model, Christian discipleship wants the addicted person to believe just the opposite. In other words, the discipleship approach to recovery has intended consequences. Intended Consequences: 1. Discipleship is about the renewing of the mind. Christ-led leaders help the addicted in the process of renewing their mind. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
2. As Christ-led leaders we want the addicted person not only admit they have a problem but to take ownership for the part they played in creating the problem. God has attached a great and precious promise to our willingness to take ownership. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 3. The goal of discipleship is to help the addicted person establish their identity in Christ. Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
4. The goal of discipleship is to build or bolster self-confidence (God-fidence) in the recovering addicted person. Discipleship approach emphasizes dependence on Christ not a program for strength and help. Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Unique Dynamics Christ-led Leaders Should Consider Denial Inability to cope with life Addicts often live in a state of denial. As an addicted person becomes This denial involves not only increasingly dependent on drugs and acknowledging to have a problem, but or alcohol to fulfill some unmet need, also the severity of their addiction. their capacity to manage life's The desire to continue to use distorts problems diminishes. To compensate their perception and temporarily blind for the deficits in coping skills he or them to the risks and consequences of she alleviates stress by using, in other using. words, they self medicate against painful feelings and social anxieties.
Unique Dynamics Christ-led Leaders Should Consider Social Problem Cycles of Abuse Social networks between users and The substance assumes priority over other substances often become a part of their values. The addicted person starts to identity and social fabric. In other missed days at work, go on drug or words, secretly the addict believes alcohol binges, for example, may miss they will not have fun, friends or a life work on Monday following a weekend of apart from using drugs and or alcohol. alcohol and drug use. Irresponsible behavior becomes apparent, mood swings, irritability, health problems. The life of the addicted person constant crisis and instability consist of using to live and living to use.
Accountability in Discipleship Recovery Accountability is vital to success in recovery. It is impossible for recovering addicts to be successful if they are unwilling to make themselves accountable to Christ-led people with knowledge about addiction dynamics. How should Christ-center leaders hold those recovering from addiction accountable? 1. Learn about Addiction In order to truly help the addict, you need to learn as much as possible about addiction. 2. Avoid Enabling Behaviors Strongly encourage recovering addicts to take responsibility for their own life. Do not provide them with financial help after they have used their own finances to buy drugs or alcohol and come seeking help to pay bills Don’t avoid confronting the addict and their behavior in order to avoid conflict (Practice Carefrontation) 3. Establish Healthy Boundaries Make sure they know you care, but you will not rescue them from the consequences of their behavior. Show empathy but not sympathy
Demonstrating Grace in Discipling Recovering Addicts In Roman 6:1-2 Paul asked three rhetorical questions: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Demonstrating Grace in Discipling Recovering Addicts Hebrews 12:4-6 NIV In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
The Dyn ynamics of of Reaching Ad Addicts from from a Christ-Cen enter ered ed Worldview ew
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