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The Link Between Aggression Disorder and Substance Abuse

March 14th, 2017

Substance Abuse - Aggression Disorder can be a link

As Christians, we are instructed by Scripture — and often by each other — to guard the actions of our tongues and bodies. While we’re supposed to speak truth, we aren’t supposed to lash out in anger in ways that might hurt others. Physical or verbal outbursts because of our emotional state are usually frowned upon if they are aggressive and intent solely on wounding another.

If you grew up in any church, you surely heard this message, and if you’re new to Christianity, you probably still heard the Golden Rule as you grew up: treat others the way you want to be treated. Jesus says it like this: love your neighbor as yourself.

But what happens if poor social or emotional behavior isn’t a choice or a bad habit you picked up over the years? Aggression and poor impulse control is often linked with substance abuse disorder; chronic addiction can make you act in ways you never would otherwise. Researchers are also finding that aggression itself can be a mental health issue in those with a condition called intermittent explosive disorder, or IED. IED, says research published in Feb. 2017 by the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, can also be a major risk factor for substance abuse disorder.

What is intermittent explosive disorder?

IED is a mental health disorder that impacts the way individuals respond to certain situations or manage their anger or aggression. As with many mental health issues, medical professionals aren’t yet certain exactly what causes IED, but they do note that it most often begins in childhood and is noted more in people under the age of 40 than over that age. IED might also be linked to genetic factors, brain chemistry and a person’s environment, particularly if childhood environments were traumatic or abusive.

Someone with intermittent explosive disorder is prone to repeated and sudden episodes of extreme anger, verbal outbursts or physical aggression; usually, the reaction is out of proportion with the situation. At young ages, the outbursts might be associated with temper tantrums or adolescent mood swings, but they usually go beyond what is normal in these situations.

Like addiction, IED is a chronic disorder and it can continue for years. Lack of treatment can lead to an increase in severity of the symptoms over the years. In a Christian environment, someone with IED might be told to “let go and let God,” or “temper their actions with love.” The person might try to do these things and be unable to do so because they can’t control their IED symptoms. Treatment options can include psychotherapy, ongoing counseling and medication.

How does IED relate to substance abuse?

IED impacts a surprising number of Americans. As many as 16 million people in the country deal with this disorder, which is more than the number of people diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder combined. IED is also a major factor in the development of substance abuse disorder. According to research from Emil Coccaro, MD, and his associates, in 92.5 percent of cases where someone developed both IED and substance abuse disorder, IED came first.

Abusing drugs or alcohol can lead to aggressive behavior in some people, especially when they are high or are trying to get drugs to deal with withdrawal symptoms. However, the new research, which leveraged data from the National Comorbity Survey, suggests that chronic aggressive behavior might actually lead to substance abuse the vast majority of the time.

What does this mean for Christians suffering from IED or chronic addiction?

For anyone suffering IED, awareness of the increased risks of substance abuse can help mitigate those risks. Someone working with counselors or medical professionals to treat IED can ask about how to spot early signs of substance abuse or work with professionals to understand how to avoid triggers that could lead to addiction.

For Christians, both IED and chronic addiction can be difficult diagnoses to face. If you’ve learned that you should treat your body as a temple, follow God’s will in your life and treat others with patience, kindness and love, admitting that you have a medical condition that seems to make those actions impossible can be hard.

In reality, nothing is impossible with God, and he has made a way for any Christian to come to him and try each day to follow his will. For someone with addiction or a mental health condition such as IED, that way might look like professional treatment. If you’re struggling with an addiction or feel at risk for substance abuse disorder because of your mental health condition, don’t be afraid to reach out for help today.

At the Road to Freedom, we help people find a way back to God’s will and a sober lifestyle through proven medical and therapeutic approaches coupled with Christian counseling. Call us today to find out more about your treatment options.

3 Verses For Your Addiction Recovery

March 10th, 2017

Addiction Recovery - 3 Verses For Your Journey

3 Verses For Your Addiction Recovery

The journey of a person who is truly striving for recovery —who truly wants and works for sobriety on a regular basis — is very similar to the journey of a person who is truly striving for Jesus. Both people are human, with flaws in personality or character. Both people have pasts, probably full of mistakes they would change if they could, but now they can only face up to the truth of those actions and try to make amends. Both people are looking to a bright future and following a set of principles and prescriptions to get there.

In many cases, both people are actually one person, and if you’re a Christian in addition treatment or recovery, here are three Scriptures to read and meditate on during your journey. As you read them, notice how the story about our own lives that Jesus tells us is one of transformation; to become Christian is to be made whole spiritually. When you are spiritually whole in Christ, you can wield the weapons of the Spirit, such as faith or prayer, to help you in your transformation of addiction recovery.

Romans 12:1-2: A Living Sacrifice

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

In many Bibles, the first section of Romans 12 is labeled “A Living Sacrifice.” While the header calls out a specific phrase in the Scripture itself, it’s also a play on words. In his letter to the Romans, Paul is reminding readers that Christ became a living sacrifice for each person; to receive the benefit of that sacrifice, all you have to do is believe in the gospel message and allow the Spirit of Christ into your heart.

Once you do that, though, Paul says that it’s your turn to become the living sacrifice. You don’t have to physically die, but instead you turn to God and God’s ways, offering your body and your life and allowing the Spirit to transform and renew your mind. Instead of conforming to the world, you conform to the image that God provided you in Jesus. The world says drink, do drugs, care not about your body and certainly don’t care about your soul. Jesus says to follow God’s commands, to treat your body as a temple and to put the care of your soul above the cares of the flesh.

Jeremiah 18:6: Clay to the Potter

He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. Jeremiah 18:6

It’s not always easy to turn from the world and avoid conforming to what is around you. Similarly, it’s not easy to turn from drugs or alcohol and avoid returning to the cycle of addiction. Luckily, when you place yourself in God’s hands, you don’t have to do all of the work. Turning your life and your problems over to God doesn’t magically erase them —and faith doesn’t automatically turn off all the trials of addiction recovery — but when you invite him to do so, God can act mightily in your life and on your behalf.

Jeremiah was a prophet of the Lord, sent to Israel during a time when both the kings of Israel and Judah, as well as the people, were turning away from God. Jeremiah is known as the Weeping Prophet because he cried out in sorrow at the visions God gave him and at the messages he was to bring to Israel; because Israel was conforming to the world, God could not give them the good gifts he wanted to. Instead, he was going to let them be overtaken by neighboring kingdoms; Jerusalem would fall and the Lord’s temple would be destroyed.

Even though all of this came to pass, constant threads of a transformation message are seen through Jeremiah’s writings. Israel was like clay, and God was the potter. During that time, the clay was being worked and molded and fired so that it could become a strong, useful vessel.

Sometimes, we are being worked like clay in the same way. Addiction recovery can certainly feel like that, but remember that on the other side, you come out stronger and more able to function in the world again.

2 Corinthians 3:18: Transformed in His Image

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Every Christian who follows Jesus is being transformed. Often, Christians talk about being saved by Christ as if it happened once, recently or long ago, and it is done. Really, though, Christians are being saved daily — constantly — by this ongoing transformation that comes from the glory of the Lord.

Recovery is a lot like that. You didn’t quit drugs or alcohol this one time recently or long ago. As an addict in treatment or recovery, you are actively quitting drugs or alcohol all of the time. Many people don’t understand that it’s a constant action on your part, even if it does get easier with time and practice. That’s one reason it’s important to surround yourself with support systems during recovery who do understand the need for ongoing transformation.

If you’re dealing with a new desire to quit or you can’t find your way out of addiction and into the journey of recovery, the Road to Freedom can help. Call us at (877) 443-7342 any time of the day or night to find out how.

4 Reasons to Find a Church Family after Rehab

March 6th, 2017

4 Reasons to Find a Church Family After Rehab

With about 83 percent of the population in American identifying as Christian and 22 million Americans admitting to using drugs, you can bet that there’s some crossover between the two groups. In fact, based on statistics alone, it’s a good chance that at least 10 percent of the people in an average church congregation have experience with drugs and even more have used alcohol.

For those dealing with addiction or recovery, these statistics can be comforting. They point to the grace of Christ and the fact that you don’t have to be perfect to become a valued member of his body. If you’re waiting until you’re perfect to join a church, then you are misunderstanding the purpose of the body of Christ and you will miss out on some benefits that God designed his church to provide.

Finding a church family is important for any Christian, but here are four reasons that a Christian who is in recovery or just leaving inpatient or partial hospitalization treatment might want to join a congregation.

Church Membership Comes with a Spiritual Support System

At the Road to Freedom, we believe that treatment for drug and alcohol abuse works best when you integrate proven clinical approaches such as detox and therapy with faith-based tools including pastoral counseling, Bible study and prayer. That doesn’t change as you transition out of rehab and treatment and into post-facility recovery.

If you’re dealing with a chronic addiction, then you probably know that certain aftercare tools, such as AA or NA meetings, might be a long-term lifestyle for you. Those tools all rely heavily on the premise that you can’t always face addiction alone and you shouldn’t have to. The concept behind organized church is similar: God made us to fellowship and be together, not to face the trials and tribulations of life alone.

Being part of a church family means that you don’t have to face life struggles alone. Strong churches are made up of people who work in small groups to support each other spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. As a church member, you’ll experience ongoing discipleship and Christian education, helping you deepen your faith and develop stronger spiritual coping skills.

Church Members Pray for Each Other

Prayer is a powerful tool, and we’ve discussed the positive benefits of prayer on recovery several times. In any Biblical Christian church, prayer is a critical component. As a member, you will pray with others and pray for others, flexing your prayer muscles and learning more about your relationship with Christ. You’ll also be prayed for. Even if you don’t realize it, church members often pray for each other, and some congregations have special prayer groups, email chains and meetings specifically to ensure that the entire body is prayed over regularly.

Fellowship is Good for the Mind, Body and Soul

Fellowship, which means associating in a friendly manner with people who share your interests, is a regular part of church life. In a Christian setting, fellowship usually means being together in Spirit with like-minded believers. Fellowship opportunities include things like meals, times of light refreshment, social hours and the minutes before and after worship and sermon where people mingle.

Being with other people in this way — especially in a positive setting where others genuinely care about you and want you to be healthy and happy — is good for you in a number of ways. Belonging to a group and enjoying the company of others reduces the isolation that can occur during recovery. Talking and learning about other people in a church also lets you make new friends or identify people who might understand what you are going through.

Getting Involved in Church Lets You Make a Difference

Finally, as a church member, you often have the opportunity to get involved in ministry and make a difference in the lives of others. Depending on where you are in your rehab journey, you might not think you have anything to offer, but that isn’t true. No matter who you are, God has given you something to offer his people, and by getting involved in church and learning more about his will, you usually find out what that is.

Giving back lets you get involved in positive activities that boost your own spirits, help others and ensure you continue developing healthy skill sets and coping mechanisms. While it takes time to get comfortable in a new church and figure out where God wants you to serve, don’t be afraid to pray about it and ask him what you can do within his body.

Getting involved in church might seem frightening or even inconvenient, but taking the time to become part of the Christian family after rehab has many rewards.

Whether or not you’re part of a church, if you’re dealing with addiction or a substance abuse disorder, our Christian Addiction Treatment Center services can help. Call us today to find out more about your options for seeking the Road to Freedom.

Supporting a Loved One In Active Addiction

March 6th, 2017

Supporting a loved one in active addiction

Supporting a loved one in active addiction

Marriage is a gift, but it’s not always perfect or stress free. As with everything in life, marriage is a test from God, and trials and tribulations are offered when He knows they can be withstood. If your spouse is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it may feel as though you are facing an uphill battle with no end in sight.

Addiction is a challenging place in the Bible. Using and abusing substances is a sin, of course, and seeing the perils of an addict may feel as though you are suddenly yoked with a new partner. As James 1:14–15 states, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Giving into temptation is a heart-breaking pattern to watch your spouse be trapped in, but that does not mean you should turn your back. Marriage requires an eternal commitment, a dedication to helping your husband or wife every step of the way.

If you are facing addiction in your marriage, faith is essential. Here’s what you can do to provide Christian support to a spouse in need.

Stay True to God

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Addiction doesn’t wipe away the person you married. With repentance and acceptance, it’s possible they can return and you will be reunited with the person you fell in love with. In order to help your spouse to recover in a way that yields a healthy outcome, you need to stay true to your relationship with God.

Dealing with addiction doesn’t mean you have to lose faith. Instead of allowing the cycle of abuse to drag you down as well, keep your eyes turned to the Lord. Even in the darkest of times, He will keep your heart pure, helping you to make choices that are best for everyone.

Pray Together

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” – James 5:15

Prayer is an immensely powerful tool, providing a way for Christians to communicate directly with God. Speaking with God in the midst of an addiction can feel futile, but keeping these lines open is a critical part of recovery.

Even if your spouse is feeling abandoned by God or afraid of His reaction to addiction, prayer is vital to rehabilitation. Urge your spouse to kneel with you, pray with you, and ask God for help with you. With diligence and dedication, it’s possible to find the strength necessary to move forward. (Read more on The Power of Prayer in Recovery in our recent blog)

Be Available

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” – 2 Corinthians 5:14–15

Your spouse is your confidant, your best friend, and your true equal, no matter how tough times get. Sometimes, you just need to be there, to be available, for your spouse when rock bottom becomes hard to avoid.

Being available for someone in need can manifest in many ways. It may mean making a delicious, comforting meal after a long day’s work, or sitting and listening to thoughts and ideas about the realities of addiction. No matter the gesture, whether big or small, find a way to show your spouse your love and faith without judgment or disdain. The sin is known: it’s not your place to enforce God’s will.

Forgive

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

Addiction is a horrible affliction, and no one is immune. Losing your spouse to the grips of addiction is extremely painful, and when addiction gives way to anger, hatred, or abuse, it can be almost impossible to forgive. However, forgiveness is the way of the Lord, and you owe it to your spouse to find love and forgiveness in your heart.

Forgiveness is one of the longest, hardest journeys most addicts take. In order to facilitate recovery, your forgiveness is paramount. It’s okay to be hurt or angry, but promoting healing requires forgiving your spouse in the eyes of the Lord. (Read more about Addiction & Forgiving Yourself in our recent blog)

Continue to Love

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

According to the word of the Lord, marriage brings two individuals together to create one mind, body, and spirit, a parallel with Christ’s relationship with the church. This means that despite the challenges that lie ahead, you should continue to show love to your spouse the same way Christ has for the church.

Love is at the center of your relationship with one another, and also your relationship with God. No matter how hard times get, you need to stay pure in your love for both your spouse and the Lord, working hard to exemplify the characteristics of a good Christian in order to promote faith, care, and healing. With love, all things are possible.

Handling addiction as a Christian is desperately hard, especially for those who feel as though they aren’t worthy of the love and support of God. Road of Freedom is here to help, providing a Christ-centered approach to detox, rehabilitation, and therapy for those in need. Contact Road to Freedom at (877) 443-7342 to get the help you need. (Read more about  Supporting Christians in Active Addiction in our recent blog

(The Bible is clear about circumstances in which separation from your partner may be necessary, should you ever feel in danger to yourself or your family do not hesitate to contact the proper authorities).

5 Ways You Can Boost Spiritual Health and Grow Your Faith

February 27th, 2017

5 Ways you can boost spiritual health

At Road to Freedom, we believe that strong spiritual health can help you build a foundation of coping skills, faith and fellowship that supports sobriety. Other than reading your Bible and praying — both of which are important pillars in building spiritual health — here are five things you can do to grow your faith.

Express yourself through writing or art

Journaling is a great way to explore your ideas and thoughts about God while also listening to what God might be saying to your heart. If you’re comfortable with writing, take time to record your thoughts, questions and what you think God might be telling you each day. Couple journaling with Bible reading by writing down what you think about after reading Scripture. Reflecting in a physical way often helps you make a breakthrough about emotions or ideas.

Not everyone is a writer or likes to write, though, and you can reflect in similar fashion while you draw, paint or work with wood. Choose a quiet, individual activity that you can do somewhat automatically while you reflect on God, such as crocheting or coloring in a book. Remember that there aren’t right or wrong answers during your reflection time; it’s more about spending the time with God and with yourself.

Read about faith, scripture and Jesus

Obviously, reading and reflecting on the Bible is essential to growing in Christ, but you might also want to branch off into other books and materials. Find narrative stories that recount what happened in Biblical times or read daily devotionals that help you expand how you think about Jesus. As you grow in your faith, challenge yourself with more difficult topics, and reach out to counselors, pastors and others to discuss items that make you uncomfortable or thoughtful. By challenging your faith, you can make it stronger.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).

Some books we recommend include:

  • Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
  • Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge
  • A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight

You can find Christian fiction and nonfiction at local libraries, online or at most bookstores.

Obey God’s commands and his pull on your heart

One of the best ways to boost your spiritual health is to align yourself with Christ by following God’s commands in your life. Some of his commands are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The Bible tells us not to kill, steal or lie; it also tells us to be good stewards over what God has provided for us. That means trying to make good decisions about your money, your family, your talents and your body.

God’s will for you can be harder to discern sometimes. Just like anything, it takes practice to listen for God’s word; sometimes it takes even more practice to follow it! As you grow in your faith, take small steps every day to incorporate God’s will in your life. When you mess up, don’t give up or return to square one. Simply try again.

Show love to others

Showing love to others is a great way to get a positive boost for your mind, body and soul. Doing something nice for another person has been shown to impact brain chemistry in a positive, healthy and natural way. Trying to emulate Christ in the way you show love to others is a great way to put your desire for greater faith into action. No one had more faith or love than Jesus, and no one sacrificed more for others than he did.

It doesn’t take huge action to show God’s love to other people. Simply saying hello with a smile can be a big gesture for someone who is having a bad day. Other actions you can take might include:

  • Praying for others — even your enemies
  • Helping someone with a daily task or special project
  • Bringing food to someone who can’t get out or is sick
  • Sending a card or letter, especially with words of affirmation
  • Affirming someone in person with spoken words
  • Just listening to someone who needs to talk
  • Volunteering at community organizations or events

Fast Appropriately to Draw Near to God

Spiritual fasting means abstaining from something in an effort to draw near to God. Many people associate fasting with food, but you might find that fasting from television, social media or other things are more effective. By fasting, you free up your energy, attention and time for God and his Word. If you do want to attempt fasting from food, make sure you speak to a healthcare provider first and fast in moderation appropriate to your condition.

These are just some habits you can incorporate into life to boost your spiritual health. If you are dealing with recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you might also be able to use some of these habits to help you face cravings or deal with triggers. If you’re struggling right now with an addiction or substance abuse, don’t struggle alone. You can call us today and speak to a caring, Christian counselor about treatment options.

How To Be A Good Member of A Christian Addiction Therapy Group

February 23rd, 2017

Christian Addiction Therapy

Group therapy is often an important part of all levels of recovery. As human beings, we are made to fellowship, especially during times of stress or hardship. Group therapy offers multiple benefits, including:

  • Reduced isolation about the factors associated with addiction or substance abuse
  • The ability to engage with other individuals who may be farther along in recovery and can offer some encouragement
  • A proven method for treating co-occurring diagnoses such as depression or anxiety

As with any group activity, you usually get out of group Christian addiction therapy what you put in. Here are some tips for being a good member of a Christian therapy group.

Follow confidentiality rules

Inside an inpatient facility, it’s easy to follow confidentiality rules. What’s said in group probably should remain in group, but you don’t have many options for repeating information within an inpatient environment. When you transition to outpatient or aftercare treatment, you might take part in group therapy during partial hospitalization or AA and NA meetings. It can be tempting to share stories outside of these environments, especially with other people you trust, but repeating what was shared in confidence is wrong.

As a Christian, you might not even mean to breach a confidence or engage in gossip. You might simply be inspired by someone’s story and want to share it with others. It’s not your story to tell, though; instead, work on creating your own story so you can share personal testimony instead.

Pray when you say you will

It’s easy to say “I’ll pray for you” and a lot harder to actually remember and make a point of praying. Prayer is often a big component in Christian recovery efforts, so promising to pray for someone else dealing with an addiction or substance abuse disorder is a big deal. If you say you’ll pray, do it sooner rather than later so you don’t forget. Even better, instead of promising to pray later, ask if you can pray now.

You might be uncomfortable praying alongside another person, but chances are if you’re in recovery, you’re developing a lot of new habits and coping skills. Try making prayer one of them; if you aren’t comfortable praying aloud with someone else, then pray immediately but silently when you see a need.

Addiction Treatment PRaying

Be a helpful and caring companion to others

Studies have shown that those who listen to others or perform helpful acts reap emotional and psychological rewards. Being part of a group in a caring, involved manner does as much for your spiritual and mental health as it does for your addiction recovery.

While group addiction therapy doesn’t always lend itself to helping others outside of the sessions, you can always take advantage of opportunities to assist in group. Help set up if you arrive early, or help clean up snacks or other items after group is over.

Be kind to people: remember their names, smile when you see them, and build them up with words of affirmation. Don’t fake it ’til you make it on this one; get to know people enough to offer legitimate and meaningful kind words. Remember that everyone in group addiction therapy is dealing with recovery too, and you never know when a compliment or caring smile might be what gets them through the next hour.

Be prepared to share and listen

The foundation of group therapy is that everyone shares and everyone listens. When participating in groups, be prepared to share in some way — think of it as your price of admission. You can sit back and learn from what everyone else says for a while, but eventually it’s important to speak up with your own story. It’s okay to be confused or “unfinished” in what you say in group — it’s one place where you’re unlikely to experience judgment from your peers.

In return, you should avoid judging others and be a good listener. Good listeners don’t interrupt, make others feel wrong, provide advice when it wasn’t solicited or attempt to one-up what was just said with a better — or worse — story.

Don’t try to fix things for others

It’s difficult to listen to what others have to say without wanting to help or provide some type of fix, especially if you are compassionate and caring. But someone who is dealing with addiction must face their own battles, so you can’t fix things for them. Instead of providing actionable advice on what to do in a certain situation, consider simply sharing your own story and letting others draw conclusions at the same time that you learn from their stories.

Know that group therapy isn’t a time to “fix” everything that’s wrong. It’s a time to reflect on and discuss drug use, what has happened to you, triggers and coping mechanisms and any struggles you are having with sobriety. By participating in group therapy as a caring Christian, you can enhance everyone’s ability to do these things.

The Power of Prayer in Recovery

February 17th, 2017

The power of Praying while in recovery

The Power of Prayer in Recovery

Drug addiction is a devastating reality that affects over 25 million Americans. Everyday, more individuals try drugs, whether for the rush of the high or to cope with the challenges of life, and everyday, more addictions begin.

As a Christian, facing an addiction to drugs and the subsequent recovery process is a true challenge. Substance abuse in itself goes against the word of God, leading to a consistent cycle of guilt that can be hard to overcome. Recovery programs, like Road to Freedom, can help you achieve sobriety once more with the help of Christian ideals and guidance, but finding your connection to God post-addiction can take time, effort, and commitment.

If you are a Christian going through recovery, you may feel lost, frightened, or deeply saddened as you struggle to come to terms with the changing nature of your relationship to God. You may feel as though you will never be able to walk His path again, and that you have shut the door on finding your way to the gates of heaven.

However, God understands the failings of humanity. As Daniel 9:9 says, “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” With prayer and dedication, you can confess your sins and seek forgiveness, helping you to overcome your addiction and reinforce your dedication to Jesus Christ. Through the power of prayer, true recovery is possible.

Prayer Heals

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Prayer is deeply healing, helping to reinvigorate your mind and spirit through a direct connection to the Lord. By asking for help and opening your heart to God’s guidance, you can accelerate the process of reinvigorating your spiritual health.

Recovery is, in essence, a long healing process, working through the physical and psychological attachment to drug use one day at a time. Through prayer, you can further your healing, calling to the Lord to see your pain and help you through it.

Prayer Deepens Your Connection to God

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” – John 14:13-14

In the midst of addiction, most Christians begin to lose faith. For some, this may be a brief waver, but for others, the entirety of a relationship may be eroded in time.

Throughout recovery, in addition to abstinence from substances, reclaiming this relationship becomes an important step. In order to dedicate yourself to sobriety, you need the support of your faith. Prayer can help you, opening up communication channels with God once more and helping you to request guidance and clarity.

Prayer Provides Strength

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” – Psalm 119:28

For many, addiction feels distinctly like weakness. Despite best intentions, overcoming addiction alone is virtually impossible, but many who try still feel defeated and powerless. Recovery in an inpatient facility can help break the bonds of addiction, but help outside of God doesn’t necessarily rebuild inner strength. Prayer, however, can.

In order to define your own inner power while rebuilding strength in the Lord, prayer is the best weapon in your arsenal. With prayer, you can unearth the person you were before addiction.

Prayer Shows You a Path

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:2-3

While in the midst of addiction, it’s easy to feel lost and alone. The path you were following as a Christian – a path paved by God – may seem obscured and buried. Throughout recovery, this path may become a little clearer, but you still may feel as though there’s no good way to get ahead.

Through prayer, you can put yourself back on the path to righteousness once more, walking with God by your side as you put addiction behind you.

Prayer Keeps You Committed

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

The Serenity Prayer is at the heart of recovery programs around the world, keeping Christian addicts focused on finding the strength to overcome addiction. This prayer is very powerful, reinforcing the realities addicts must accept before truly embracing sobriety.

Despite the power of God, humans are often powerless to the sins of the world. By accepting that there is no way to gain control over substance abuse and praying for the Lord’s guidance, you can find a way to commit yourself to abstinence once more.

Prayer Helps You Forgive

“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” – Mark 11:25

Forgiveness is a big part of accepting your shortcomings and bolstering your faith in God. Without forgiveness, you cannot truly be free of the chains of addiction. Prayer can ensure you achieve this, helping you to find forgiveness from God for your sins and, in turn, find forgiveness in yourself. The more you pray, the better your perspective can be, offering a way to truly come to terms with the wrongs of addiction.

If you or someone you love is facing addiction, Road to Freedom can help you heal in a Christ-centered environment. Call (877) 443-7342 today to speak to trained, compassionate Christian counselors about what we have to offer.

Addiction and Forgiving Yourself

February 13th, 2017

Christians in recovery learning to forgive themselves

Forgiveness and Addiction

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

For Christians who are coping with the perils of addiction, forgiveness can often be the most arduous hurdle to overcome. Even if you accidentally fell into addiction through a legally prescribed substance like opioid painkillers or benzodiazepines, addiction is still considered a sin in the eyes of the Lord, and the weight of this can make it difficult accept or address if you have grown up in a Christian household or have lived your life close to God.

No matter the complex feelings you are working through in relation to your addiction, forgiveness is an important part of the process. It may be a challenge to admit your humanity and come to terms with the pain of substance abuse, but it’s the first step in renewing your relationship with Christ and being able to live the rest of your life addiction free.

The Struggle for Forgiveness

The Bible speaks clearly about the sins of addiction, outlining it as behavior not worthy of heaven. For those stuck in a cycle of dependency, this pressure of failure can be unbearable, driving even good, Christ-like people to make mistakes uncharacteristic of their faith. Feeling as though you have turned away from God and cannot return can be very scary, and drive you down a dark path.

However, the Bible preaches the power of forgiveness as well! 1 John 19 tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Getting to the point where we accept this is not easy. Accepting that God has removed our transgressions as far as the east is from the west may be difficult, knowing and constantly being reminded of our past. With prayer, rehabilitation, and self-reflection, it is possible to forgive yourself because God already has.

Why Addicts Can’t Forgive

Forgiving yourself is one of the key steps in recovery, but most addicts, especially Christian addicts, find this the stage difficult to face.

For many people, addiction feels like a distinct failure. After using for a period of time, self-worth becomes intertwined with substance abuse, creating a pit of low self-esteem, despondence, and despair. Admitting a need for outside help can be overwhelmingly hard, and getting that help can be even harder; after all, under 20% of those who need rehab ever make the commitment to pursue recovery in a rehabilitation facility.

As a Christian, admitting a need for help outside of God’s guidance can feel like the epitome of weakness, leading to a crisis of faith that makes speaking up and seeking assistance difficult. This struggle – the inability to face mistakes out of fear – can make taking the path toward forgiveness long and arduous.

Harbored Resentments

Resentment is often at the root of an inability to forgive. For those who have struggled to seek help, cope with the recovery process, and overcome physical dependency, the pain and sadness inside can be hard to move beyond.

For Christians who feel as though they pushed God away with their sins, there may be many resentments standing in the way of love and forgiveness. Some of the most common reasons for frustration and resentment include:

  • Failure to live up to Christian standards
  • Inability to follow the word of God
  • Rejection from family, friends, and community for addictions and related behavior
  • Perceptions of injustice
  • Feelings of loss and fear

These emotions are complex and enduring, eating away at you inside. However, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

How to Forgive

You know the importance of forgiveness and why forgiveness can be so hard, but how do you get there? How do you cast aside your sins and begin to live the teachings of the Lord once more?

Rehabilitation

Quitting drugs is hard, but rehab can help and may even be necessary depending on the addiction. Road to Freedom is a Christian-oriented rehab program intended to help you break free of addiction while adhering to God’s message. By combining Christian resources with medical science, you can get clean in a safe, comfortable environment. Our program may be the right step for you.

Counseling

Recovery isn’t a journey you can take alone. 12-Step programs have a faith-based creed devoted to helping addicts overcome dependency and stay sober. With a support system of others taking their cues from God, you can stay strong together throughout your pursuit of abstinence.

Atonement

In many cases, the course addiction takes can hurt those around you, putting distance between you and the support system you need most. Atoning for your sins and hearing sincere expressions of forgiveness can help you find clarity and peace within your own life.

Prayer

Prayer is one of the most powerful strengths Christians possess. When you take time to read the Bible, attend church, and ask God for advice and guidance, you can see the path ahead of you clearly. Even if you feel distanced from the Lord, the more you pray, the closer you can be to his side once more.

Facing addiction isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in a world of resentment and hurt. Forgiveness is a big part of the process; as you admit your sins and allow forgiveness into your heart, you can find forgiveness in God, too. Psalm 86:5 says, “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” With this knowledge, you can move forward with faith and confidence.

When you need help to overcome your addiction, find peace with God, and learn how to forgive yourself for your transgressions, Road to Freedom is here. Call today at (877) 443-7342 to get the faith-based guidance you deserve.

Powering Recovery with Prayer: Reflecting and Recharging

February 8th, 2017

Powering recovery with prayer

Can you pray your way out of an addiction cycle and into sobriety? While we certainly believe that nothing is impossible with God, we also know that prayer isn’t a spiritual vending machine. You can’t put in some time and words and expect the miracle of your choice to be spit out. Prayer is something else: it’s a powerful, mysterious, life-changing habit that can become a cornerstone in your overall recovery and your life.

Why should Christians pray?

Prayer isn’t just for someone who is experiencing a crisis, difficulty or addiction. Prayer is a fundamental spiritual discipline that all Christians should engage in because it lets them commune with their Creator, learn more about God and themselves and seek the kind of peace that only God can provide.

Yes, we can ask God for help, guidance or wisdom during prayer, and Scripture models all of these types of requests. Abraham, David, the apostles Peter and Paul, and Jesus himself are just some of the people who are shown in Scripture praying and asking for God’s help.

At the same time, Scripture is clear that God doesn’t always answer immediately and he doesn’t always answer in the way we expect or believe we want. Consider Jesus’s prayer in the garden of Gethsame. Jesus knew he was about to be arrested and what he would go through before he is crucified; he knew he was about to be separated temporarily from God as he takes on the past, present and future sins of mankind. He prayed “let this cup pass from me.” God doesn’t remove that burden from his Son, and Jesus also prays that it all be done according to God’s will and not his own.

That is a major part of prayer in your life – helping you understand and seek God’s will in your life.

Some benefits of prayer during recovery

In addition to helping you know God and yourself better, prayer can help pave the way for healing during recovery. It’s easy to imagine that God is angry or disappointed with us, just as other people in our lives might be. While God certainly isn’t happy if you are mistreating yourself or others or if you are sinning because of the things you are willing to do to get more drugs, above all God loves you. He wants to forgive you, and all you have to do is ask.

Even if you aren’t ready to seek God’s forgiveness, prayer lets you “talk” things through with him and seek the guidance of Christ going forward. These are some of the reasons that prayer is a foundational element in many 12-step recovery programs; we recognize that a higher power is in control of our lives and prayer lets us start submitting parts of our life to God.

The five-point prayer template

If you are new to prayer or only have practice in saying the dinner-time grace, approaching prayer can seem a bit daunting. Luckily, there’s really no right or wrong way to pray as long as you are sincere about it. You can pray silently in your mind, talk out loud to God, sing your praise and requests or even just say “God, I’m here,” and sit silently with him. You can pray anywhere at any time.

If you want to start with a prayer outline as you get to know God and learn what type of prayer works for you, you might consider the 5-point prayer. It’s often called the Five-Finger Prayer, because you can use the fingers on one hand to count out the points.

  • Start with your thumb, which is nearest your body. Pray for those closest to you in life — Scripture says to include both loved ones and your closest enemies. You might pray that God protects them, gives them wisdom or works on their heart in some way. This prayer should be positive in nature, helping you to build on feelings of caring or love you have for people.
  • Next is your pointer finger, which reminds us to pray for people who are supposed to point us in the right direction. You might prayer for teachers or mentors, bosses or even the people treating you for addiction or medical conditions. Pray that God would guide them and provide them with wisdom.
  • The tallest, middle finger calls us to pray for authorities and leaders. This prayer might be more sweeping, as it could involve your state, country or world.
  • The ring finger is known as the weakest finger, and it reminds us to pray for the sick or weak. You might pray for those who are in the hospital, for your friends in recovery or for those struggling financially.
  • Finally, the pinky finger is a reminder to pray for yourself.

Praying for others is a great way to give back, to seek God and to boost your own spirits. Another prayer template you can follow is the Praise, Thank, Repent, Ask and Worship outline. Begin by praising God, thank him for good things in your life, ask forgiveness for your sins, ask God for help or healing, and end by simply worshiping him.

However you pray, making it a regular habit is important.

If you’re struggling with addiction or can’t stop using drugs, consider seeking outside help from a Christ-centered recovery facility. Our counselors are available now to take your call and answer any questions you might have about treatment. Call 877 443-7342 Today.

3 Bible Verses to Meditate on When You’re Anxious

February 2nd, 2017

3 Bible Verses to meditate on when you are anxious

Scripture is full of stories and messages that provide comfort for Christians during times of stress or anxiety. It’s clear from the Bible that God doesn’t want us to stand paralyzed in fear because of our circumstances. In fact, versions of the phrase “Don’t be afraid” are some of the most uttered words in Scripture, and they are regularly said by angels or messengers from the Lord. “Do not fear” appears more than 57 times in the New American Standard Bible in that exact form, and Bible scholars note 360 different times the message of fear not is included in Scripture regardless of version.

But what happens if you’re still anxious?

The Bible says not to worry, so good Christians should just drop their anxieties and carry on, right? That’s actually a very simplified approach that doesn’t take into account the fact that we live in a flawed world and that we are human. The Bible says for us to do and not do a lot of things, and historically, we all struggle to live up to God’s word. That’s the reason He sent Jesus to die and cover us in grace.

If you’re struggling with anxiety that you can’t control, then you’re human. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian or that you don’t have enough faith. It might be that you need help to learn to deal with your anxiety and any factors that contribute to it. Anxiety is a common symptom or co-occurring issue when you’re facing substance abuse or mental health disorders.

Three verses to think about when you’re anxious

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

This Scripture from Proverbs is a traditional favorite for Christian signs and art, and it’s often brought out when someone is telling you to trust God with everything. It’s a great verse for times of anxiety, because it doesn’t devalue your worries or fear: it instead speaks to the overriding truth that God is in control and that you can trust Him and should seek His will.

Trusting God doesn’t mean everything will turn out perfect or that you won’t go through struggles. In fact, the writings of the New Testament almost seem to guarantee that you will face some struggles in this life. Trusting God does mean putting your faith in a higher power and leaning on God’s will and wisdom rather than your own. If you find yourself unable to get out of a cycle of anxiety or drug use, then putting God first and following Him rather than your own fears or physical needs can make a difference in your life.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7

The “do not be anxious” verse from Philippians is one that has become slightly clichéd because Christians tend to bring it out whenever anyone is facing any type of struggle. While it’s not as easy as tossing your anxiety aside, this verse can be very powerful when you really take it all in. It says: Don’t simply sit there and be anxious or worried, but instead talk to God about what you’re dealing with. Lay it out for him, asking for His help and thanking Him for the good things that you have.

The verse also says that God can provide you with peace that transcends all understanding. It doesn’t mean your troubles will fall away; it means that by seeking God and following His will, you can have peace even amid the struggle.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Finally, this verse from Colossians reminds us that we are to let Jesus rule in our hearts above all else. We should put Christ before our worries and fears, before our need for physical pleasures or drugs, and before our own plans, which could be what got us in trouble in the first place. Not only should we put Jesus first, but we are called as a body of believers to work together in peace to accomplish these things.

Getting treatment for anxiety and related diagnoses

Looking at these verses about anxiety, it’s easy to see that God never meant for you to deal with such issues on your own. He built you to face both happy times and struggles in fellowship with Christ and with fellow believers.

Stop struggling with your anxiety and contributing factors on your own and reach out for help. You can call us today to speak with caring Christian counselors about your options. Call today (877) 443-7342.

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