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The Myth of Gateway Drugs

September 18th, 2017

“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12

Even those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the drug scene know the term “gateway drug.” Frequently used to describe marijuana, a gateway drug is seen as a portal into harder drugs, ensnaring casual users and dragging them deep into the bowels of addiction. As such, marijuana use, despite its shifting legal state in the U.S., is often seen as the first rung on the ladder to substance abuse.

While there’s no such thing as safe, healthy drug use, or drug use that is acceptable in God’s eyes, the gateway drug association isn’t as true as it sounds. In fact, there is no research that supports marijuana’s ties to harder drug use, creating a dynamic myth that has perpetuated for over 30 years. In reality, marijuana is no more a gateway drug than any other potentially addictive substance.

Marijuana Use in the United States

Marijuana may not be a gateway drug, but it is among the most commonly used substances in the United States. In the past month, an estimated 22.2 million people have used marijuana at least once, with use more common in men than in women. Worldwide, approximately 158 million people use marijuana – nearly 4% of the global population.

Unlike harder drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamines, that are most commonly used by adults, marijuana retains a stronghold among teen drug users, with 9.4% of 8th graders, 23.9% of 10th graders, and 35.6% of 12th graders using marijuana at least once in the past year. In addition, 46% of those aged 26 or older have tried marijuana at some point in life.

While these figures do indicate a prevalence, they pale in comparison to two legal substances that see excessive use in the United States: alcohol and nicotine. Over 84% of Americans drink at least once, and 26.9% have some sort alcohol use disorder. In addition, approximately 15% of Americans are current cigarette smokers, although this figure an all-time low.

The Origins of the “Gateway Drug”

The term “gateway drug” is not exactly new. In fact, its origins date back to 1984, during the renewed war on drugs that occurred during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The phrase was coined by Dr. Robert L. DuPont Jr. in his book Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs: A Guide for the Family. In his literature, he notes that individuals who do not use marijuana are unlikely to experiment with harder drugs, although he stopped short of making the claim that marijuana itself increases the likelihood of further drug use.

DuPont’s writings did posit that youths who do not use alcohol or tobacco likely will not make the leap to illegal substances, like marijuana. However, this gap in legality appears to be behind the identification of marijuana as a gateway drug instead of its more common legal counterparts. Despite the lack of clinical evidence supporting these findings, the concept of a gateway drug still perpetuates to this day and is often used to argue for continued legal penalties for those who use, possess, or distribute marijuana.

The Myth of the Gateway Drug

The myth of the gateway drug exists largely due to a common logical fallacy. It is known within the scientific community that correlation – hard drug users who also use marijuana, in this case – does not necessarily equal causation, but to the layperson, these kinds of connections, while tenuous, are substantial enough to jump to conclusions.

It is indeed true that those who use marijuana are more likely to transition into harder drugs than those who do not use marijuana, but this is not likely due to marijuana itself. Instead, it is more directly tied to the personalities of those who choose to do drugs in the first place. Those who use drugs – any drugs – are far more likely to continue experimenting than those who do not use any substances, thus eliminating marijuana specifically as the linking factor. The propensity for abuse is not linked to any one drug, but rather an overall interest in mind-altering opportunities.

Furthermore, research actually shows that marijuana could be more accurately described as a terminus drug rather than a gateway drug, as a vast majority of users stop at marijuana and do not go on to try any other illicit drugs. There is also no evidence that the high from marijuana begins to weaken or leads to a desire for harder drugs and more intense sensations. Instead, marijuana is often used in a similar way to alcohol – as a recreational way to unwind. Many users do not need marijuana to make it through a day, and are content using every few days or weeks as opposed to around the clock.

Additionally, marijuana is significantly less addictive than many other substances. Unlike opiates or cocaine, marijuana has no direct or permanent effects on the brain; in fact, much of marijuana addiction is psychological in nature as opposed to physical. Research suggests that approximately 30% of those who use marijuana regularly have some degree of use disorder. While still significant, the incidence of addiction is significantly lower than other drugs, especially those like heroin with a nearly 100% incidence rate.

Marijuana Use and God’s Word

In general, marijuana is all-natural, less addictive than many of its peers, and legal in several states. So, is use okay?

The answer, of course, is no. For those who adhere to the word of the Lord, no drug is acceptable. As Galatians 5:21 states, “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, 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.”

In order to adhere to the teachings of Christ, sobriety is important. Your body is a vessel of God, and that means avoiding the temptations that can lead to inappropriate thoughts and actions. As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a safe drug. All addictive substances have the power to be abused, and even “safer” substances can lead to addiction. In order to live a life inspired by God and prevent the chance of abuse, abstinence is the only way forward.

Seek Help Today

If you are struggling with drug addiction in any form, Road to Freedom is here to help. As a comprehensive Christian recovery resource, our experienced professionals can assist you in rediscovering sobriety through both medical science and the teachings of the Lord. Please contact us today to learn more (844)402-3605.

Are There Examples of Addiction in the Scriptures?

September 11th, 2017

2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture is from God and all of it can be used for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” With that in mind, anyone who is dealing with addiction — or who is trying to help or understand someone who is struggling with substance abuse or alcoholism — might turn to the Scriptures for comfort and advice.

As always, God’s word is full of many bits of wisdom and comfort applicable to the situation, and our blog has covered a number of Scriptures relevant to topics such as alcohol, drug abuse, depression and anxiety. But what if you’re looking for specific examples? You might wonder: are there stories of people struggling in addiction in the Scriptures?

Addiction comes in many forms in the scriptures

The Bible addresses addiction in a number of ways, though you don’t find Jesus telling the parable of the man addicted to a specific substance. The Bible does talk about drunkenness and use of substances in an addictive way as a sin; the point often made in Scripture is that an individual who clings to addiction is not putting God first, and that creates an idol of the addiction or the substance itself. While modern medicine knows that addiction can be caused by a chemical reaction and is, in fact, partly a physical illness, clinging to it and refusing to allow God in to help you can distance you from God and cause your relationship with Christ to falter.

Taking that concept of addiction, we can see numerous “addicts” in the Scripture. Some are addicted to money. Some are addicted to glory. Others are addicted to the idea that they are right and good and lawful.

Some stories of people who put things and situations before God

Following the definition above, one “addict” might have been the rich man. His story is in the gospels: he comes to Jesus, saying “Lord, I want to follow you.” Clearly, the rich man sees something here in Jesus, and he knows it’s good. He wants this good thing for himself, just as many of us do.

Jesus tells the rich man, “Lay down all you have — give it all up and follow me. That’s the only way you’ll be able to do it. The only way you can follow me and get to Heaven.”

The rich man thinks about it for a while, but he just can’t. He can’t give up all this, not even for the great thing he sees in Jesus: in some ways, he’s addicted to the security, privilege, or life that the wealth affords him, so he turns away from Chris.

Another story about someone who put worldly things before God in a big way was King Saul in the Old Testament. God anointed him the first king of Israel. He made Saul leader over all his people, and all he asked was that Saul put him first and lead Israel in a godly way. But Saul became so concerned with the glory and riches of being king, he no longer put God first.

When God decided to anoint another person as future king of Israel because of this (he chose David), Saul was so addicted to being king that he tried to kill David multiple times and led armies against him, even though David was a loyal servant and friends with Saul’s son.

Finally, for a different type of addiction, we can look at another Saul. This New Testament Saul (who would later become known as Paul), was a Jewish religious leader and teacher. He actively participated in and even led persecution of Christians, likely in Jesus’s time and just after Jesus was resurrected.

Paul, like many of the Pharisees that Jesus spoke out against, was addicted to traditions, what he thought was knowledge, and being right. Unlike the rich man and Saul, who never turned back to God for help and who continued to cling to their addictions, Paul went through a sort of “rehab.”

One day while on the road to Damascus, Paul and his men saw a great light; they heard a voice, but they didn’t see anyone. It was a message from Jesus to Paul, and the impact of the event was so great, Paul was temporarily blinded as a result.

Jesus also gave Paul some instructions, and he separately asked his apostle Ananias to go and teach Paul about Jesus. Despite Ananias’s fears that Paul would revert to his old ways (and persecute Ananias himself), Paul began to seek a recovery in Christ.

What individuals dealing with substance abuse disorder or addiction can learn

That moment on the road to Damascus was like an intervention for Paul. Suddenly, after that, he was on the road to recovery. It wasn’t an easy road. Paul dealt with severe persecution. He was arrested and beaten. He was held in jail and on house arrest numerous times, cut off from his community and friends. He was shipwrecked at least once, and his New Testament writings show that he struggled with some type of affliction (he called it the “thorn in his flesh.”)

If you’re dealing with addiction, are in recovery or are considering seeking help, perhaps you can relate to some of Paul’s story or to the stories of the rich man or Saul.

Numerous people throughout the Bible struggled to put God first in their lives, and that showed up in different ways. Maybe they clung to a belief, a desire, or material possessions. Maybe they actually clung to an addiction.

But Paul, who decided after the intervention at Damascus to stop clinging to things that weren’t Christ, made a recovery. He didn’t do it alone, and it wasn’t easy. But his writings show that he didn’t return to his old ways and that he served Jesus the rest of his life.

That’s the message that someone struggling with substance abuse can take from these stories. You don’t have to do it alone. It won’t be easy. But it’s possible. With God, all things are possible.

The Road to Recovery exists to help you find that possibility. Call us today if you are ready to start working on a new life.

Related Articles:

Does God Forgive Me?
Bible Verses to Help You Through Recovery
Reading Through Recovery

Spiritual Health and Sobriety

September 4th, 2017

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a worldview in which one feels a connection to a larger force in the universe, beyond the realm of the physical. Spirituality is different from religion, in that religion strives to define beliefs within a set of guidelines, particular to a specific religion. Spirituality is about the search for meaning in life and experiencing something greater than oneself. Some call that God and some call that the “universe,” but no matter the name it is the spiritual.

Spiritual Health – What Is It?

When in the throes of addiction one’s sole purpose becomes using the substance or drinking the alcohol. This leaves no room for the spiritual. Drugs and alcohol numb the connection to the inner self, that place that is real, where there are feelings (sometimes difficult and painful, but also glorious and good). That inner place is also the place where the connection to the universe, or God, takes place so if there is a barrier there spirituality suffers.

Spiritual health means finding the way back to that inner place of connectedness. It means finding meaning in something greater than oneself and, in so doing, finding peace. This inner peace, in turn, helps one to navigate life’s demands in a more balanced way. This then resonates into all aspects of life beyond recovery: work, family and friends.

At The Christian Treatment Center, our nondenominational approach focuses on the essentials of the Christian faith, while using a variety of methods to provide the most comprehensive program available in faith-based recovery. Contact us or call us today at (844) 402-3605. As a Christ-oriented treatment center, we are prepared to offer you the Christian support you need to find your faith once more.

The Role of Spirituality in Recovery

Ever since 1935, when Bill W founded Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), spirituality has been the basis of many drug and alcohol treatment programs. Addiction and/or alcoholism can negatively affect the body, mind and soul; in a recovery program the physical and emotional aspects of the addiction are treated, but what of the spiritual component? The use of spiritual counseling in recovery programs combined with detoxification and therapy is a powerful combination to heal the entire person.

According to a study by Narcotics Anonymous, of 527 American Narcotics Anonymous meeting attendees, the large majority (84%) reported having experienced a spiritual awakening… Furthermore, of those reporting a spiritual awakening, 89% reported that it made abstinence easier. (1) And even beyond the initial treatment program, self-reports of having had a “spiritual awakening” through involvement with A.A. are highly predictive of recovery three years following treatment admission.(2)

In recovery, spirituality serves to fill in the gaps between physical and emotional healing. Spirituality can give guidance and support, and can often make someone who possibly has a past they are ashamed of, feel a sense of grace and forgiveness. Many avoid recovery programs that have an element of spirituality to them because they don’t entirely understand what spirituality means. But it really is as simple as coming back to oneself, and thus the connectedness to all things. It is an essential part of recovering body, mind and soul with lasting effect.

Addiction is hard, but help is here. Road to Freedom is the answer, providing peace and comfort in this trying time. Contact us or call us on our 24 hour addiction hotline at (844) 402-3605.

How To Achieve Spiritual Health

While some may have a spontaneous “awakening,” in which that deep inner connection is suddenly there, spiritual health can actually be actively cultivated through one or all of the following:

  • Programs – 12-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous use spirituality or religion-based acknowledgment of some sort of higher power in the recovery process. As step 3 of the Alcoholics Anonymous program says, (We) “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
  • Therapy – Speaking to someone about inner demons and working through the painful emotions and negative habits of the past can free the mind and soul to let love and spirituality in.
  • Seek guidance – Talk with a pastor, minister, or rabbi. It doesn’t have to be about religion, but someone in this position can certainly help to answer some of life’s bigger questions, help one down the path of recovery and help to find inner peace.
  • Meditation – According to Psychology Today, meditation is about turning oneself away from external distractions and focusing on the inner self. (3) Meditation has been a practice people have used for thousands of years to connect with their inner selves and often it is as easy as finding a quiet space, slowing down the breath, and becoming conscious of the present moment. Yoga classes, meditation classes, and on-line videos are excellent ways to learn how to meditate.
  • Spending Time Alone – It can be scary to spend time alone, particularly as a newly sober person. What to do with all of those thoughts, sometimes negative, sometimes self abusive? It’s a muscle that must be worked, for loving oneself is a key part of spiritual health.
  • Reading – For many the Bible is a source of comfort and wisdom, and is certainly a beacon of hope and salvation.
  • Finding your purpose – Drugs and alcohol become the purpose. After recovery, spiritual health can be found and maintained by discovering one’s life purpose beyond addiction.

Road to Freedom – Christian Treatment Center

Road to Freedom is a Christ-centered drug and alcohol treatment program. At Road to Freedom, we restore lives through the power of the gospel. Our treatment program combines evidence-based treatments with biblically based beliefs. Our licensed Christian counselors, pastors, and physicians are dedicated to helping individuals suffering from the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol.

Call Road To Freedom Today

At Road to Freedom, our nondenominational approach focuses on the essentials of the Christian faith, while using a variety of methods to provide the most comprehensive program available in faith-based recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us or call us now at (844) 402-3605.. Compassionate counselors are standing by to answer your questions and to get you on the road to recovery.

References:

(1) http://unlimitedloveinstitute.org/downloads/39%20Spirituality-based%20recovery%20from%20drug%20addiction%20J%20Addict%20Med.pdf

(2) http://www.williamwhitepapers.com/pr/2006Spirituality%26AddictionCounseling.pdf Kaskutas, Turk, Bond & Weisner, 2003; Project MATCH Research Group, 1997).

(3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/meditation

8 Myths About Addiction

August 28th, 2017

Addiction is a tragic reality in our society, affecting over 20 million Americans over the age of 12. And, many of those who are unfortunately addicted to drugs or alcohol, are Christians.

As a follower of Christ, it can be hard to rationalize addiction, in oneself as well as in loved ones. The Bible addresses addiction directly, often in condemnation, making claims like the one found in Proverbs 20:1 – “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

Despite the sins associated with addiction, suffering with a substance abuse problem can be extremely traumatic, both emotionally and physically. A big part of this harm is related to the fallacies involved with addiction; many people believe damaging misconceptions related to substance dependency that can negatively impact the healing process for those involved.

Here are eight myths that you, your family, and your loved ones need to know about addiction.

1. Addiction is a Choice

Without personal experience, it’s hard to understand the true depths of addiction. From the outside, addiction seems like something that should be easy to control, and that includes an element of choice. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear people use this logic to look down on those who haven’t yet taken the necessary steps to seek treatment.

In reality, addiction is anything but a choice. It’s true that many addictive behaviors, like using drugs, have an initial element of choice, but the development of a chemical or psychological addiction is no one’s decision. Many addicts would choose in a heartbeat to undo an addiction, but this isn’t possible, and getting clean can’t happen alone.

2. Addiction is a Flaw or Moral Failing

Addiction is almost always seen in a negative light. From the words in the Bible describing addiction as a sin to the public perception of addiction as a personal moral failing, substance dependency is often interpreted as a problem with an individual’s inner spirit.

This is both a troublesome view and patently false. Anyone, including good Christians, can fall victim to addiction. It’s not a personal flaw or a failing; it’s just a part of life for those who are susceptible to the powers of substances like drugs or alcohol. God forgives those who choose to admit fault and make amends, and that’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

3. Willpower All You Need

Willpower is frequently cited as a way to combat many of the negatives in life, from a lack of exercise to choosing to have fun instead of studying for class. However, willpower is only effective against choices, and addiction isn’t a choice.

Unfortunately, willpower cannot triumph over addiction independently. Choosing to quit isn’t as easy as it sounds, and conviction alone cannot win the fight against physical and mental dependency. Withdrawal, a condition related to stopping the use of an addictive substance, can be both uncomfortable and extremely dangerous; withdrawing from alcohol, for example, can lead to seizures, delirium tremens, or even death. Simply put, a little willpower is unlikely to make a difference for those facing addiction.

4. Rock Bottom Is a Part of Recovery

In many narratives, overcoming addiction involves a character hitting rock bottom. This can come in many forms, like losing a relationship, dropping out of school, or being fired from a job, but seeking help often depends on a protagonist realizing that life is ruined and there’s nowhere else to go but up.

In real life, rock bottom is not a requirement for seeking help, and it is relative. Some addicts, especially those used to media interpretations of addiction, believe that they aren’t truly addicted until they hit the bottom, but this is not true. An addict can understand the reality of his situation at any time and can seek help through any avenue. In fact, according to studies, addicts who get help sooner are more likely to recover fully than those who wait until the situation has spiraled out of control.

5. Punishment Is Helpful

As a negative life situation, it’s commonly believed that addiction requires punishment to help addicts get clean. This trope is seen in movies, books, and more – addicts being penalized by losing out on promotions, relationships, or financial gains – but in the real world, this concept isn’t beneficial, no matter the driver behind addiction.

There is no evidence that punishment has any effect on an addicted individual’s long-term success in recovery. In fact, punishments like loss of friendship, legal penalties, or employment challenges rarely have any bearing on an addict’s decision to seek help or recover from a substance dependency. Some addicts will continue a fairly normal life while their addiction gets worse. While it’s completely understandable for consequences to follow ongoing addiction, a willful punishment will not force a substance abuser to change his behavior.

6. One Treatment Is Good Enough

Treatment for addiction comes in many different shapes and sizes, from inpatient rehabilitation to outpatient programs to support groups using 12 Steps. To many, especially those with no real exposure to addiction, all treatments are made equal, and any opportunity to get clean is good enough.

Realistically, this is not true. Even treatments of the same type vary greatly from one facility to the next, and a therapy that works for one addict may not work for another. As with most health-related issues, treatment should be centered around an individual’s core needs and beliefs, like a Christian facility for those who feel most comfortable recovering in a faith-based program or medically-supervised detox for those attempting to withdraw from substances like alcohol.

7. Normal Life Is Impossible

Addiction tends to warp and change all aspects of life, from romantic relationships to career prospects. These changes can seem somewhat permanent for those with long-term substance abuse habits, driving those involved to accept the negative circumstances surrounding addiction as unchangeable.

However, there’s no need to assume these challenges will perpetuate forever. Those who overcome addiction are fully capable of returning to a normal lifestyle that includes gainful employment, normal interpersonal relationships, and healthy romantic partnerships. It may take time to rebuild trust, but with dedication, commitment, and prayer, it’s possible to embrace the life you had before substance abuse took the reigns.

8. God Hates Addicts

Crises of faith are not uncommon for Christians struggling with addiction. Many followers of Christ facing substance abuse find themselves feeling lost, isolated, and alone, but this doesn’t have to be a permanent reality.

God’s word teaches acceptance and forgiveness, offering a way out for those who fell victim to addiction. As 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” While addiction is indeed a sin, it is possible to seek forgiveness and return to God’s good graces once more.

Addiction is a reality for millions of Americans and their families, affecting life in innumerable ways. However, many widely-believed addiction myths can negatively influence the road to recovery, holding many substance abusers back instead of promoting the support necessary to seek sobriety. If you would like assistance with your drug or alcohol addiction, Road to Freedom is here, offering Christian guidance for those in need. Please contact us at (844) 402-3605 to learn more.

Related Articles:

Does God Forgive Me For My Sins?
Rebuilding Trust in Recovery
Reading Through Recovery

Rebuilding Trust in Recovery

August 21st, 2017

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” – Proverbs 29:25

Whether you know it or not, addiction plays an enormous role in your life and the lives of those around you. From your connection to God to your family structure, a dependency on substances alters everything about who you are.

Trust is a central element in virtually all relationships, both personal and professional. As you show others that you are responsive, responsible, and reliable through your interactions, a level of confidence develops, building your esteem in the eyes of others. Unfortunately, the deeper addiction goes, the more the trust others have in you erodes. When substance use takes precedence over meetings, appointments, and obligations, the respect and admiration previously held by those in your life slides away, transforming over time into resentment, anger, and betrayal.

During recovery, regaining lost trust is often a priority for those who are attempting to return to normal life, but the road to safe, stable relationships is often harder than it appears. Soon after achieving sobriety, many suffering with substance dependency find themselves facing a proverbial minefield left in the wake of addiction with no clear path ahead. In this time, it’s easy to feel hurt and lost, as if there’s no way to go back to the life you used to know. You may believe your old life is gone for good, or that your relationship with Christ is ruined beyond repair. However, with dedication, commitment, and faith, it’s possible to slowly regain the trust you lost, one day at a time.

Rebuilding Trust

Trust is a valuable commodity, especially in relationships. When your friends and family trust you, they are willing to put faith in you, seek help from you, and rely on you to be an important part of their lives. However, when trust is gone, it’s extremely challenging to bring back. This is especially true for those who were seriously harmed through the struggles of addiction, like the members of your immediate family.

Even though the road ahead may seem impossible, trust is still an important part of living a healthy life and maintaining your faith. As Psalm 40:4 says, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.” With convictions and a change of character, you can take the necessary steps forward to alter the way others see you and make amends for the hurt you caused. These steps can help you seek forgiveness and prove your reformed nature, leading to positive, healthy changes as you work through recovery.

1. Focus on Yourself

All positive change starts from within, and this is especially true during recovery from addiction. No one else can help you achieve sobriety; the power to cease use comes from you and you alone. In order to promote a shift in the way others see you, you must first alter the ways in which you see yourself, working to overcome your demons and stand strong in your faith once more.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” God puts trials and challenges in your path, but it is up to you to use His strength to overcome them. Addiction is no different.

2. Be Accountable for Your Actions

A big part of recovery hinges on accountability for your mistakes, both internally and externally. No wrongdoings made throughout the course of addiction are anyone’s fault but yours, and the sooner you are able to accept this reality and work to move past it, the better prepared you are to make amends for the damages caused through the course of addiction.

Proverbs 28:13 is an important verse for those in recovery, reminding us that “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” In order to demonstrate your commitment to change, both to those around you and to God, you must work past your mistakes rather than making excuses.

3. Create a Routine

A failure to meet obligations is often one of the most damaging components of addiction. As a need for regular use grows, it’s not uncommon for users to find themselves skipping work, missing appointments, and failing to fulfill family plans, like picking up the kids from school or date night.

It’s easy to say you’re different now that you’re not using, but as the adage goes, actions speak louder than words. In order to prove that you can be trusted to care for your family, complete projects at work, and support your loved ones when they need help, you need to demonstrate that you can do this. For most people, a routine will help accomplish this. When your family and employers know when you’ll arrive, when you’ll leave, and where you’ll be, it’s easier to believe that you’re dependable and available.

4. Don’t Expect Praise

Recovering from addiction is an enormous stride forward, requiring conviction, dedication, and faith to ensure success. For many in recovery, the months following rehabilitation are ones of exceptional pride, especially when sobriety begins to replace poor behavior. However, this pride is largely internal, and you are unlikely to receive praise for the things others around you have managed to do all along.

Colossians 3:23 states “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” As you work to regain trust, don’t make changes solely out of anticipated praise from others; instead, do right by the Lord and reap His rewards.

5. Say What You Mean

In the depths of addiction, lying is extremely common. Many users will use falsehoods to cover up use or make excuses to obtain more drugs, creating a web of lies from which escape can be a challenge. These lies can significantly affect how others see you, painting you as a dishonest person only concerned with himself.

Instead of allowing others to maintain these damaging viewpoints, commit to following your word. If you say you will be home at 6 PM, be there. If you say you can pick up the kids from school, do so. If you are asked a question, answer honestly. Proverbs 12:22 states “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy,” so make it your mission to earn the respect of God as well as those who matter in your life.

The road to trust is long and bumpy, but the rewards are worth the struggle. With the right perspective, you can slowly begin to rebuild your relationships with friends, family members, employers, and Christ.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is here. Contact Road to Freedom today at (844) 402-3605 to learn more about our Christian-based rehabilitation and detox programs. All consultations are confidential.

Related Articles:
Intervening in a loved one’s addiction
Addiction’s Impact on Children: Seeking Recovery for the Entire Family
The Consequences of Drug use on Family

Intervening in a Loved One’s Addiction

August 14th, 2017

Active Addiction - How to Intervene

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” – Hebrews 6:10

Addiction is a pervasive problem throughout the United States, affecting approximately 24 million adults nationwide. Due to the prevalence of substance use disorders, virtually everyone, no matter lifestyle, location, or beliefs, knows someone struggling with addiction.

Seeing the signs of addiction in someone you love can be extremely concerning. It’s easy to live in denial and make excuses – “he’s just young and having fun,” or “everyone drinks; there’s nothing wrong with that” – but an accelerating pattern of substance use is often the start of an extremely serious and potentially fatal disease.

Finding the strength and confidence to speak up can be a challenge, but an effective intervention may be the difference between successful sobriety and ongoing issues. Galatians 6:2 says to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Giving back to others is one of the key tenets of the Lord’s teachings. When someone you love is in need, it is your duty as a Christian to provide the assistance, love, support, and guidance necessary to inspire recovery and a Godly lifestyle. Here’s how to intervene when someone you love needs help.

Form a Group

An intervention is most successful when a large group comes together as opposed to a one-on-one conversation. Before approaching your loved one, speak with friends, coworkers, and family members who may have noticed signs of addiction to create a united front. Be sure to ask for opinions or stories from those you speak with as there may be other indications of a problem that you have not personally witnessed that should be addressed.

Solicit Professional Help

Moving forward with an intervention can be very overwhelming, especially for those who have never experienced the process before. In order to ensure an appropriate presentation, a professional can help you properly manage intervention preparation. Many faith leaders and counselors have experience in planning and executing interventions, providing a reliable strategy that will increase your odds of making a statement in your confrontation.

Develop a Strategy

Before sitting down with your loved one, you need to know what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. In general, interventions utilize a combination of stats and personal experiences to demonstrate how substance abuse can affect all areas of life. Many abusers are unaware of how their actions affect others, and these speeches and stories and trigger a moment of clarity. Working with your intervention team, plan a series talking points that will have a positive impact while sharing the severity of the problems at hand. If possible, hold at least one rehearsal; practicing what you’re going to say makes it easy to control your emotions when the time comes.

Be sure to have an end goal in place as well; if your loved one decides to proceed with treatment, have an idea of treatment centers and therapists that may be a good fit.

Choose a Time and a Place

Interventions should be planned carefully, and that includes when and where you are going to meet. As a general rule, interventions should never be held in a public or unfamiliar place as this can make an emotional process even harder to handle.

In order to help your loved one feel safe and comfortable, choose a familiar location that is enclosed and free of potential disruptions. Make sure you have access to your area for at least 90 minutes.

Speak Honestly and Openly

When your intervention finally occurs, do your best to manage your emotions. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or angry, but keep these feelings hidden to avoid exacerbating the pain of this troubling time. Do not take a “tear them down to build them up” approach; instead, proceed with compassion and support. Remind your loved one that God loves them and will always love them, and share your stories with openness and honesty.

Where possible, use positive body language, including keeping arms and legs uncrossed, maintaining eye contact, leaving hands open and unclenched, and leaning in for emphasis.

Stay Dedicated and Follow Up

It’s easy to leave an intervention feeling positive and uplifted, but there’s no guarantee your loved one will be willing to act on your messages. Provide some time for them to process the information you shared, but stay vigilant in promoting the benefits of treatment. Studies indicate that those who are confronted about their addictions are more likely to get sober and stay that way, so your job is not done. Sometimes, a second or even third chat may be needed to prompt action, so stay dedicated to your efforts.

Seeing the signs of addiction in your loved ones can be extremely hard to handle, but Road to Freedom is here to help. As a faith-based rehabilitation facility, we are prepared to offer comprehensive, customized Christian treatments to those in need. Contact us today at (844) 402-3605 to learn more about what our facility has to offer. All consultations are fully confidential.

Does God Forgive Me for My Sins

August 7th, 2017

Will God Forgive me For My Sins?

As a Christian, God plays a significant role in your life. As you worship, pray, and read His word, you are doing all you can to live your life in devotion to Christ.

However, no one is perfect. Even Christians make mistakes and sin, no matter how much time is spent studying the Bible or living a good, productive life. This is especially true when it comes to substance abuse. Many Christians drink socially and are able to reconcile consumption with faith, but drunkenness and addiction are clear sins in the eyes of the Lord.

Addiction can happen to anyone, no matter age, faith, or creed. Falling victim to the pleasing effects of drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian or a bad person; it simply means you’re human. However, this isn’t always easy to accept. Many Christians feel deep shame when confronting addiction. They may feel abandoned by God or as if they have let God down.

When coming to terms with addiction, it’s important to realize that you are not alone. God loves you and will forgive you, especially as you recommit to sobriety and seek treatment for your pain and suffering.

Will God Forgive Me?

Making mistakes that go against God’s teachings can be very hard to bear, especially for those who feel as if they have rejected their faith forever in the course of their transgressions. This is, of course, not true. If you are ready to admit your mistakes, seek forgiveness, and work to overcome your sins, you are able to seek forgiveness from Christ and deepen the bonds of your relationship with Him.

1 John 1:9 states that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” When you are ready to give control over to God, you may seek the forgiveness you deserve.

The Road to Forgiveness

While God is willing to forgive the sins of his followers, simply asking isn’t enough. These steps can help you work through your feelings and struggles as a Christian to seek forgiveness and dedicate yourself once more to the teachings of Christ.

1. Acknowledge Your Sins

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” – Psalms 51:1

Before you can seek forgiveness, you must accept the reality of wrongdoings. This step involves coming to terms with the mistakes you made and being prepared to confess to the wrong you have done.

2. Confess to God

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” – Psalm 32:5

While God is omnipotent and omnipresent, forgiveness requires true confession. In order to receive the forgiveness you seek, you must confess your mistakes and take ownership of your actions.

3. Change Your Behavior

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” – Acts 3:19

In order to truly work through your sins and prove to both God and yourself that you are committed to a better life, it’s important to show your dedication to a Christ-like existence. This means changing your behavior and resisting the temptation to sin. While this can be a challenge when confronting an addiction, seeking outside help in order to change your behavior may be the best course of action.

4. Seek Forgiveness From Others

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:14-15

Admitting to wrongdoing does not erase the mistakes you have made. If your drinking or drug use hurt those around you, it’s important to atone for your transgressions. In order to unburden your soul, you must seek forgiveness from those you have wronged and make restitution whenever possible.

5. Ask God for Forgiveness

“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

After accepting your mistakes, confessing to God, changing your behavior, and seeking forgiveness from others you have wronged, you are finally ready to ask for forgiveness for your sins. As long as you are pure and honest in your dedication to move beyond your mistakes, God will forgive you for your transgressions and help you to lead a better life in His image.

Seeking and receiving forgiveness for your sins isn’t an easy journey, but it’s a necessary step in strengthening your relationship with God. However, overcoming addiction isn’t something you can do alone. When you are seeking Christian help in recovery, Road to Freedom is here for you. Offering faith-based resources, Bible study, and Christian counseling, our team is can help you rediscover sobriety and move forward with confidence. Please contact us at (844) 402-3605 to get the help you deserve.

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Bible Verses to Help You Through Recovery

July 31st, 2017

Here are some verses to help you in your early recovery

While addiction therapy and counseling are essential for achieving and maintaining sobriety, people learning how to live, think and act as drug-free individuals often experience depression, frustration and hopeless as they struggle to find meaning and peace. In addition to talking to addiction counselors about distressing emotions and thoughts, our clients also rely on powerfully moving Bible verses to help them through darker moments in their lives and reinvigorate their faith in God’s goodness and strength.

Bible Verses to Encourage and Inspire

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Bible Verses for Peace and Serenity

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. Philippians 4:6

Bible Verses about Faith and Trust

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto youMatthew 17:20

Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon youDeuteronomy 31:6

Do not be afraid. I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am the Lord, your God because you are precious to me and because I love you and give you honor, do not be afraid—I am with you. Isaiah 43: 1-5

No one stood by me the first time I defended myself; all deserted me. But the Lord stayed with me and gave me strength. 2 Timothy 4:16

The Lord will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life. The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8

Bible Verses about Hope, Purpose and Meaning

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a futureJeremiah 29:11

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-33

 

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Reading Through Recovery: Christian Books on Addiction

July 24th, 2017

Christian Books on Addiction

Reading Christian books on recovery is one way some individuals discover paths to sobriety, come to understand their place in God’s plan or find encouragement in their own struggle with drugs and alcohol. While simply reading books doesn’t usually help someone recovery fully from a substance abuse disorder, we believe that reading can be a healthy habit and outlet during rehab and through the years of recovery that follow. But, what should Christians in recovery read?

Obviously, we think reading the Scriptures is a good idea for anyone, but outside of that, every person has to find the right type of book for them. Here’s a short list of recommended Christian books on addiction and related subjects that provide a jumping off point for your explorational of Biblical and spiritual literature on the topic.

Prayer Steps to Serenity: Daily Quiet Time Edition

This book by L. G. Parkhurst is available in both paperback and an affordable Kindle edition. It’s a great companion book for those who are getting involved with the 12 Steps during recovery, but you don’t have to be following the 12 Steps to benefit from this devotional book. The book includes 60 short meditations that can be used for individual prayer, Bible study, reflection time or even group discussions. The meditations are all related to topics involved in the 12 Steps, such as righting your wrongs, praying and seeking to do right.

The Life Recovery Bible

This is a New Living Translation Bible with passages and devotionals incorporated throughout that are specific to recovery. The Life Recovery Bible was written by leading addiction experts Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Carrying it allows those who are recovering to have ready access to the Scriptures and to written guidance in seeking passages that speak to addiction.

NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

This is another Bible that incorporates extra devotionals and information for those in recovery. If you’re going to start reading Christian books on addiction, then starting with a recovery Bible is a good idea, and this version lets you access the user-friendly NIV Scriptures, recovery resources and a year’s worth of addiction-relevant devotionals.

Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens

This book tells the true story of Jackie Pullinger, a woman who felt called by God to preach Christ in some of the darkest areas of Hong Kong. While not a recovery book in the sense of some others on this list, it presents a powerful, courageous look at what addiction and drugs are capable of and how the love of Christ is more than able to overcome addiction — even in dangerous, dark places.

Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions

This book by Dr. Gerald G. May covers a variety of types of addiction, making it a good Christian book on recovery for those dealing with substance abuse disorders or addictions to gambling, sex, food or other activities. Dr. May covers topics such as how spirituality and addiction can be related and impact each other and how substance abuse is sometimes an attempt to exert control over our lives in in appropriate ways.

Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story

This memoir from Korn co-founder Brian Welch tells the musician’s story, including his dramatic conversion to Christ and his battle with drugs and through recovery. In this book, Welch tells about the years of his life caught in sin and addiction and how he ultimately ended up finding Jesus. The honest way he talks about his addiction may resonate with many, and the fact that someone so publicly caught in drugs and the related lifestyle turned to God and recovery in this way is inspirational to those in recovery.

These are just a few Christian books on addiction and recovery. Pastors, Christian therapists and even librarians can probably recommend many others, so if you don’t get inspired by something on this list, don’t give up.

If you’re not already in recovery and are dealing with substance abuse or addiction, don’t rely solely on reading online and off. Instead, reach out for help from professionals. At The Christian Addiction Treatment Center, our Road to Recovery program combines proven rehab and behavioral therapy techniques with Biblically based methods to help you break free from addiction and improve your relationships with Christ.

For more information about how you can break out of the addiction cycle with God’s help, call us today. Our caring admissions counselors are always available to take your call.

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Addiction Industry in South Florida Impacted by Federal Crackdown

July 17th, 2017

Federal Crackdown - Addiction Industry

One of the foundations of addiction treatment is honesty. First, you have to be honest with yourself about your addiction: it’s not just on television and movies that one of the first steps toward recovery is admitting the problem. At The Road to Freedom, we also believe you have to be honest with your family, your God and the professionals who are guiding you through recovery. Here, we make the commitment to return that honesty.

It’s a shame, then, that not all providers in the addiction industry — or the healthcare industry at large — make the same commitment. Unfortunately, a few people or organizations act outside of professional boundaries, sometimes in an effort to increase revenue, and that can be bad for everyone in the industry. It can be especially unfortunate for someone seeking help with a substance abuse disorder.

We support the recent efforts by the government to crack down on fraud in the healthcare sector. Here’s a quick summary of what’s happening currently and why it’s positive for those caught in addiction or seeking recovery.

FEDs are cracking down on fraudulent billing and prescription writing

The U.S. Attorney General said the recent crackdown, which affects dozens of organizations nationally, is perhaps the largest of its kind in American history. Two of the areas that were targeted during these recent moves by law enforcement were fraudulent billing and illegal distribution of prescription drugs. Some providers who were lying on billing forms or billing for more services than they provided were arrested, as were numerous individuals who were prescribing or distributing opioid that weren’t medically necessary.

When providers submit fraudulent claims, it hampers the process for every other provider. Good claims get caught up in limbo as healthcare payers try to discern what is fraud and what is legitimate, which can make it harder for honest, caring providers to seek payment for the work they do. That puts all true addiction recovery facilities in potential financial risk.

The supply of narcotics and opioids through supposedly legitimate channels also makes it difficult for those in recovery and those providing addiction treatment services. The easier it is to get these addictive drugs, the harder it is to stay sober. Ready supply also increases the number of people who end up in addiction in the first place.

South Florida Addiction Industry Crackdown

Consequences for those who take illegal kickbacks

The federal crackdown also included some arrests related to kickbacks or patient brokering. A kickback occurs when one person is financially rewarded for recommending or transferring a patient to another organization. A hypothetical kickback situation might look like this:

  • A family medical doctor has a relationship with an addiction recovery center.
  • The family medical doctor is paid a certain amount of money for every person he refers to the center.
  • The doctor now has a conflict of interest: he financially benefits from referrals, so he may be tempted to refer people only to that center (even if another facility or treatment might be better for the situation). He might also be tempted to refer people who are not in need of treatment at all.

The vast majority of medical providers do not engage in this type of behavior. But it does happen, and it creates challenges for legitimate addiction treatment centers. It also means that individuals facing substance abuse disorder may not end up in the best possible treatment program for their needs.

Seeking addiction treatment from honest organizations

South Florida Addiction RegulationsFor families or individuals seeking addiction treatment in South Florida, these concerns are very real. At the same time, fear of a few fraudulent providers should never keep anyone from reaching out for the treatment they need. Here are a few tips for finding honest, high-quality recovery facilities.

  • Ask a trusted medical provider or therapist for recommendations. Recommendations from providers you’ve trusted for years aren’t illegal. Most doctors and therapists are happy to give some options, and no one is paying them to push a certain facility.
  • Take time to peruse any site the addiction center might have online. If the facility seems transparent and have a wealth of information about treatment, addiction and how they operate, it’s a good sign.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau or other review sites for a trend of negative reviews or actions. Remember that any business is likely to have one or two negative commenters, especially on the internet, but a consistent trend might be worrisome.
  • Finally, take time to talk with admissions counselors at a facility. Take a trusted friend or family member with you if you like; sometimes having someone else feel out the situation and provide you with feedback helps you feel more sure of a decision.

The burden of these arrests and new regulations mostly fall on to treatment providers, not the patients. Our promise to our patients is that despite any regulations or financial hardships, we will not compromise our quality of treatment provided to our patients. You can contact The Road to Freedom right now to find out how our faith-based recovery programs work.

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