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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.


Listening in Recovery: To Yourself, to Therapists, to the Still, Small Voice

July 10th, 2017

Why listening is important for addiction recovery

For most people, the thing they know about recovery is that you talk about your addiction. It’s shown on television and in movies: aren’t you supposed to verbalize your addiction and share your story? While that’s true in many cases, and sharing and talking about substance abuse can be a healthy step in recovery, listening is also critical to successful treatment and ongoing sobriety.

What does it mean to listen during recovery?

Listening is not the same as hearing. Unless you have a physical impediment, you automatically hear every sound around you. In a group or individual therapy setting, in Bible study or pastoral counseling or even at a shared table during meals, you are hearing the words spoken to and around you. That doesn’t mean you are listening.

Hearing is passive. It happens to you because you are equipped with ears that work. Listening is active: it is something you chose to do as you take action to engage with the speaker and process what he or she is saying.

Probably the biggest step to take when listening in recovery is to STOP. Stop talking. Stop considering everything in your own mind. Stop making assumptions about the speaker or what he or she is about to say. Instead, listen and receive their words.

There are different types of listening you might employ during recovery, and you will probably use several types of listening skills as you work through treatment. Here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Critical listening involves taking in the words and information in an attempt to gain information and make decisions. You might use critical listening when you’re learning about nutrition, coping mechanisms or studying Scripture.
  • Discriminative listening means you take non-word context clues into account, including the volume and passion with which words are spoken and body language. You aren’t discriminating against the listener, but you are building a fuller picture of what they are saying. You might use this as you listen to people share their testimonies and stories in group settings.
  • Sympathetic listening provides the other person with the chance to share their emotions and experiences with you; this is something you might employ during group sessions or during fellowship times. By supporting others in recovery, you become part of a structure that also provides you with support.
  • Therapuetic listening is a type of listening pastors and counselors who work with you might use. They are trained to react and work with you in a way that helps make speaking a cathartic and healing process for you.

Who should you be listening to?

During recovery, you might listen to a variety of people and voices. First, you’ll be hearing from counselors, pastors and other providers. Whether they’re offering stories, Scripture knowledge or education on addiction recovery, listening fully to them helps you prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for sobriety outside of treatment.

Second, you’ll likely listen to those who are in recovery with you. In some cases, you might simply be providing an audience for them so they can share their story in a cathartic way. In other cases, you may glean some wisdom, insight or support from what they have to say. It’s important to listen without coming to rely heavily on other patients, as they are also seeking the same recovery you are.

Third, you need to listen to yourself in recovery. Start learning to know what your body is telling you and work with therapists to understand triggers and stressors that put your sobriety at risk.

Finally, at the Christian Treatment Center, we believe you should always listen to God first and follow him. Work with pastoral staff and through Bible study to better understand what God is telling you.

How to listen for God in your life

Listening for God is a spiritual skill that comes with a lot of practice, and the voice of God is unique for every person. Some people hear him audibly, some hear that still, small whisper, and others feel him in their hearts. Some people say God talks to them through the things they read or see; others find his words in Scripture alone.

To get better at listening for God:

  • Spend time in prayer. Instead of filling the time solely with what you have to say to God, sit quietly and give him time to speak to you.
  • Read and study Scripture, on your own and with others.
  • Talk to others about God, Jesus and the Bible on a regular basis.
  • Start looking for God in all things: from the movie you watched on television to the stroll you took in the yard.

Listening is a critical step in a solid recovery. If you’re dealing with alcohol or drug abuse now and need someone to listen to you, call The Christian Treatment Center now to find out about our Road to Recovery program. (844)402-3605


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Isn’t my Faith in God Enough to Handle my Addiction?

July 3rd, 2017

Isn't my Faith in God Enough to Handle my Addiction?

Sometimes, without context, Scripture can lead us to a conclusions or down a road that very quickly seems to admonish seeking help. God’s love and ultimate plan can lose focus when you put the microscope on a single verse or chapter in the Bible without considering everything else that comes before or after. Even honing in on some red letter words from Jesus without considering what else Jesus said — or the life that Jesus lived and died for us — can lead you astray, so it’s no wonder that many Christians can be left with the impression that seeking help for their addiction or substance abuse disorder might be wrong or unnecessary.

Let’s look at a few verses, how they can be taken out of context to give you the wrong idea about seeking help, and what we believe God really wants for you.

All things through Christ

Philippians 4:13 is a great verse, and it’s a favorite for Christian coffee mugs and t-shirts. It says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That short statement from Paul says just how much be believes and relies on Jesus, a message that every Christian should be striving to practice. Taking that statement alone, however, we often misinterpret it to believe that we shouldn’t seek help because we need to rely on Jesus – that relying on anything or anyone BUT Jesus would be less-than faithful. But this interpretation discounts completely the fact that God often acts through others, and it also completely removes the sentence from everything else Paul is saying in that chapter.

Right before Paul says he can do all through Jesus — talking in this context about how he has learned to be content through Christ in all circumstances — Paul thanks the Philippians for sending him aid. Right after the statement, he tells the Philippians they have done well to share in his distress. Clearly, Paul is not downplaying either seeking assistance or giving it. He’s saying he’s content in Christ, but that it’s great that these other people, who are following Jesus, are reaching out to help him as Christians ought to do for each other.

God’s mighty power

Ephesians 6:10 is another coffee mug verse. It says “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” This verse begins the famous armor of God sequence in Ephesians, which tells us to arm ourselves with the tools God gives us so that we can follow his will and resist the temptations of the devil. Taken completely alone, this section of Scripture might cause Christians to believe that praying, reading the Bible and other spiritual preparation is all they need to deal with an issue such as substance abuse.

However, the armor of God is spiritual. While faith, prayer and all the other spiritual disciplines are certainly major parts for a faith-based recovery program, if your addiction is also physical in nature, then spiritual armor might not be all the help you need. It’s also true that some things in our life can keep us from putting on the armor of God, leaving us at risk spiritually. Addiction can be one of those things; if you can’t put on the armor of God because of your addiction, then you can’t stand fully on Ephesians 6 to deal with your addiction.

What does the bible say about getting help for addiction?

The ever-present help

Yet another one for the t-shirts, Psalm 46:1 tells us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” But if anyone knows that seeking help isn’t wrong, it’s the psalmist. Whether you’re reading Psalms written by King David or someone else, certain themes emerge. These are people who loved — who adored — the Lord their God. But they are also people who dealt with a wealth of woe while in this world, and sometimes they did so with the help of their friends and supporters. They didn’t seek that help instead of God; they sought that help through and because of God — and the help was given for the same reasons.

Yes, God is bigger than your addiction

The same Psalm, in verses 10 – 11, says “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Yes, God is bigger than your addiction. But you are not. And you also don’t know how God is acting in your life to be with you and to be your fortress. We believe that God provides a way for his plan to unfold, and we also believe that God acts through people on earth. One reason is so those people can help each other.

It is not wrong to seek help for your addiction. It isn’t putting God on the back burner: it’s seeking help through your faith and through God so you can have a stronger, better future. To find out more about faith-based addiction treatment, call us today.


Am I a Functioning Alcoholic?

June 26th, 2017

Am I a Functioning Alcoholic

We often talk about how drinking an alcoholic beverage now and then isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While many Christians don’t see eye-to-eye on the topic, many people who follow Biblical principles believe that a social drink here or there or a glass of wine with dinner is a safe habit. There’s even some indication that very moderate drinking might have health benefits for some people. That being said, it’s important to be able to tell if or when you’ve crossed the line between having an occasional drink with friends and addiction.

Alcoholism is often painted in a very certain way: articles say to look for signs that a friend is not performing at work, living up to social or family obligations or is changing habits. But not all alcoholics show these signs; some people struggling with addiction are able to keep up appearances in almost all aspects of life. That means they still do well at work or school — if their addiction is discovered, people are often surprised, saying things like “It seems like they had it all together.”

This is called functional alcoholism (or a high-functioning alcoholic), and it can be dangerous because it lulls a person into believing they have their drinking under control. It also makes it easy for someone not to seek treatment. If your drinking isn’t yet causing serious issues in your life, you might think that you can keep going as you are.

The risks of functional alcoholism

Excessive drinking is never a healthy habit, even if you can do so and remain productive at work or in other areas of your life. Outwardly, you might believe you are fine, but a constant influx of alcohol into your body can cause serious long-term health consequences. It’s also probable that you aren’t quite as in control of your drinking as you might believe. If you are “functional” while drinking, imagine what you might be able to accomplish if you were sober!

It’s not just your body at risk when you remain in a state of functional alcoholism, either. When you drink, your cognitive functions don’t work the same. That means you might make risky decisions or do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Functioning alcoholics often find themselves in sexual relationships, legal woes or other situations without fully understanding exactly how they got there.

What is a functional alcoholic?

The signs of functional alcoholism

If performance at work or an inability to keep up with obligations doesn’t clue you in, what are some signs that you or someone you love is a functioning alcoholic? First, if you drink heavily, you are at risk. Heavy drinking is described by WebMD as seven drinks in a week (or three in any one day on a regular basis) for women. For men, the numbers jump to 14 a week or four a day.

One night of celebration and imbibing (though not always the wisest choice) doesn’t mean you have functional alcoholism. At the same time, every person and every body is unique, so you could have a substance abuse problem without hitting the drinking numbers defined by WebMD. Some other signs of functional alcoholism include:

  • You get drunk when you had no intention to do so, and it happens on a regular basis
  • Your relationships are put at risk or damaged because of drinking, but that doesn’t cause you to stop
  • You joke or are sarcastic about what you might refer to as your habit, problem or even alcoholism
  • You lie about drinking or try to hide it, even if you don’t think you are an alcoholic
  • You make excuses about why you drink so much or try to assure friends and family that you don’t drink as much as they think you do
  • You have been arrested or cited for DUI, even if you blamed it on a one-time situation
  • You are struggling to keep up with obligations and having to put on a front to make people believe you are doing okay

What Should You Do Next?

If you believe you are a functioning alcoholic — or even if you aren’t sure but think it’s a possibility — then don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Talk to a trusted friend or family; ask them if they’ve seen the same signs you have and what they think. Reach out to a family doctor or therapist, or call The Road to Freedom to find out about options for recovery.

Your life doesn’t have to be falling apart before you seek help. Don’t let the fact that you can keep up appearances fool you. Functioning alcoholism can last for years, but often, it becomes more difficult to maintain your lifestyle as you feel the need to drink more and more. Even if you are functioning in the world today, if you can’t stop yourself from the next drink, it’s time to get help. Call Today (844)402-3605


Paying for Christian Drug Addiction Treatment: ACA, Sharing Plans & Your HSA

June 19th, 2017

What is the cost of Christian Drug Addiction Treatment?

In many cases, drug rehab and addiction treatment is at least partially covered under a health insurance plan. If treatment isn’t fully covered, though, you may be able to pay for some of the expenses with funds from a Health Savings Account, or HSA.

Coverage for addiction treatment under the ACA

If you are covered by an ACA-approved plan purchased via the state or federal marketplaces, then behavior health and substance abuse treatment benefits are a part of your plan. That doesn’t mean that your coverage will be 100 percent covered, and you should also raise questions about insurance coverage with admissions counselors to ensure you know the facts, but federal law doesn’t allow ACA-approved insurers to treat addiction treatment substantially different than it might treat medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer.

If you can’t afford an ACA-approved plan and need substance abuse treatment, your admission counselor may be able to help you start the application process for Medicaid. Medicaid coverage is available to individuals who fall below a certain income threshold and it does include substance abuse benefits.

What if you have a faith-based medical sharing plan?

Due to both the cost of traditional health care coverage and philosophical differences with ACA plan requirements, many Christians are opting instead to belong to a faith-based medical sharing plan. Such plans typically require members to belong to a church and profess Christian values, including a belief in God, the Holy Scriptures, and Jesus as the Son of God and Savior.

While medical sharing plans do satisfy coverage requirements for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties (as of 2017), they are not the same thing as insurance. Because of that, they don’t have to be regulated in the same way. Faith-based sharing programs typically don’t pay for certain types of treatment or preventative measures, such as birth control, and they often don’t include sharing allowances for mental health or substance abuse treatment.

If you have a medical sharing plan, review all the documents you received when you signed up or call the plan customer service line to find out whether addiction recovery expenses can be part of the sharing network. If your plan does allow sharing of addiction treatment bills, explain the plan to your admissions counselor and ask what type of discount is offered for self-pay patients, which is what you’re considered to be in such a situation. Your medical sharing plan can also often offer assistance with planning for invoices and appropriately settling bills following treatment.

Paying for Christian Addiction Treatment

Covering substance abuse treatment expenses with an HSA

Finally, whether you’re covered by an ACA plan, part of a medical sharing network or don’t have coverage at all, if you have a Health Savings Account, you can use those funds to cover certain costs associated with addiction recovery. An HSA account is funded with your money, and while there are some rules on how you can get reimbursed for medical costs from it, it’s not controlled by an insurance company or your employer. Allowable costs are automatically approved and reimbursed after you complete applicable paperwork and submit invoices or receipts.

Some things you can use HSA funds to cover might include:

  • Copayments or deductibles to licensed providers of addiction treatment services
  • Invoices and bills related to treatment in inpatient or outpatient programs or for individuals services from doctors or counselors
  • Medications — both over-the-counter and prescription — that are related to your recovery
  • Nontraditional treatments that are recommended or ordered by a medical provider, including, but not limited to,:
    • Acupuncture
    • Massage
    • Some recreational treatments
  • Travel costs incurred while attending treatment, NA/AA meetings or follow-up doctors and therapy appointments
  • Meal costs incurred while traveling or attending treatment

Each HSA may have it’s own processes and detailed rules, so ensure you understand what those are as you file for reimbursement.

Don’t put financial concerns before your own health

It’s important to note that financial worries should not be a reason that you completely forgo treatment for addiction or substance abuse. Putting off treatment because your worried about paying for it can make the situation much worse and lead to even more expensive treatment needs. Many options for treatment exist, and numerous assistance programs and billing options let providers work with you so you can get the help you need.

If you are dealing with substance abuse or addiction and you have coverage, gather your insurance cards or other documents and call The Road to Freedom now to find out about treatment. Even if you don’t have coverage, call us to speak with a caring, licensed admissions counselor who can help you understand your options and what steps to take next.

For anyone — of any income level and background — professional addiction treatment is often the best way to seek a sober, more positive future. Call Now for More Information  (844)402-3605 .

Read more on The Cost of Treatment & Insurance


How Do You Know that Professional Addiction Treatment Is the Right Choice?

June 12th, 2017

Is Professional Addiction Treatment right for you?

If you have underlying mental health issues that make it impossible for you to make a sound decision about addiction treatment, you can be involuntarily admitted to a treatment facility. In most other cases, addiction treatment begins because you make a choice to seek it. It’s true that many people enter rehab at the insistence of friends, family, employers or churches, and they aren’t always 100 percent on board with the concept immediately. While professional addiction treatment counselors are trained to work with individuals of all types, successful rehab is usually easier when you are fully engaged and working within the process.

Are you ready for drug or alcohol rehab or treatment?

That being said, you don’t have to be able to check off certain traits to be “ready” for addiction treatment. If drugs or alcohol are interfering with your life or putting yourself or loved ones at risk, then it’s time to seek treatment. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you lying, stealing or cheating in order to hide or fund your use of drugs or alcohol?
  • Are you engaging in illegal activity because of your use of drugs or alcohol?
  • Are you skipping work, social engagements or church to hide your intoxication from others?
  • Are you showing up at church, work or family events high or drunk?
  • Is alcohol or drug use getting in the way of other things you would like to do with your life?
  • Are you unable to say no to drugs or alcohol?
  • Do you drink at all times of the day or when you’re alone?
  • Do you have physical symptoms when you haven’t used drugs or alcohol in a while?
  • Do you require more and more drugs or alcohol to relieve physical symptoms or get drunk or high?

If you can answer yes to any one of these questions, then professional addiction treatment is likely the right choice for you.

Hands Praying

Why is now the right time for addiction treatment?

Now is the right time because when it comes to addiction, things usually only get worse. Without experienced intervention, the situation gets continually worse without getting better. Even if you believe you have your addiction in hand or that you can stop using drugs or alcohol anytime, if you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, then your life isn’t as controlled as you might believe.

As Christians, we often recognize the truth of the phrases “There go I but for the grace of God,” but even Christians who believe in and love Christ can find themselves facing serious consequences because of drugs or alcohol. Failing to make a decision now to seek help could result in:

  • Further use of substances that continue to degrade your physical and mental health
  • Ongoing and even permanent damage to organs or systems within the body
  • Legal troubles if you are caught with illicit drugs or driving under the influence
  • Loss of your job, which can happen if you are caught using drugs even if you are showing up every day and performing as required
  • Loss of relationships with friends or family members due to your behavior, especially if you are trying to hide your substance abuse from others

Reasons Christians might say no to treatment and why they shouldn’t

Many Christians avoid seeking treatment for drug or alcohol use until things get out of hand and some of the above consequences occur. They might believe that they have the situation under control or that because they are Christian, they have the strength to get through the issue alone. In truth, the Bible tells us that alone, we have no strength. Our strength comes from God. Sometimes, the strength God provides comes in the guise of others who can help us.

Addiction Treatment Help - Phone CallAnother common reason Christians don’t seek treatment for addiction is because they are too embarrassed about the circumstances and are worried that someone in their family, church or community might find out about it. While recovery professionals are bound by both ethical and legal codes to protect patient confidentiality, if you are involved in the community or church, it can be difficult to enter a rehab program without at least explaining your absence to a few key people.

You should never let your worry about what church members or others will say keep you from recovery. Christians are taught not to judge and to love each other, so you might be surprised by the support you receive when you let others know you are struggling.

Even if you don’t receive support — and being judged and outcast because you sought rehab is a sign that you might not be in the right church community to begin with — it’s still critical to turn to professional addiction treatment if you are struggling with addiction. Call Road to Freedom today to speak to a caring counselor for more information about how you can get the support and help you need from licensed providers. Call us Today (844)402-3605.


What Does Scripture Say About Alcohol?

June 5th, 2017

What does scripture say about alcohol?

Alcohol: it’s a dividing liquid among many Christians. Some say God doesn’t want you to touch a drop of adult beverage. Others say “Even Jesus himself drank wine.” The debate about whether or not drinking alcohol is a sin has been held for centuries, but here are some facts about what Scripture says:

  • The Bible never forbids drinking alcohol in an absolute statement
  • The Bible steers clear of saying alcohol, itself, is wrong
  • Scripture does have a lot to say about overusing alcohol or getting drunk

All Things in Moderation, for Those That Can Moderate

Overall, the Bible seems to fall on the side of moderation. It treats wine as a beverage that should be consumed for a variety of reasons, including fellowship and health. Some theologians argue that the wine the Bible encourages isn’t something that wouldn’t get you drunk and that Jesus only drank mild sweet wine. However, there are passages in the Bible where the Pharisees and others accuse Jesus of drinking and eating with sinners — possibly with the implication that some people involved were getting drunk or a bit rowdy. Jewish tradition also called for drinking real wine in several celebrations, which meant wine itself was not the problem.

What does scripture say about alcohol - wineIn fact, Jesus’s first public miracle involved wine. He and some of his disciples were attending a wedding in his hometown, and the wine ran out — a grave faux pas for the host. Jesus’s mom asked him to address the problem, knowing he could; thus, the miracle of turning water into wine occurred. It wasn’t just any wine, either, it was the best.

Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” It seems that enjoying fellowship and time with other people, particularly when you’re living in the Spirit, is something that pleases God — even if you also enjoy a single glass of wine or other adult beverage at the time.

Even in Biblical times, people knew that alcohol had some health benefits. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells his young apprentice: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illness.”

The problems of alcohol, says the Bible, aren’t in sipping an occasional social drink or having a glass of wine in the evening for health. The problem comes when you step outside of moderation or are unable to moderate yourself. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”

Don’t Put Alcohol Before Yourself, Your Family, Your God

Alcohol itself isn’t the sin, but putting it before yourself, your family and your God is a sin. That’s why many Christians draw the line between enjoying a beverage and drunkenness. Addiction is a chronic condition — with treatment needs much like a physical illness. Addiction, like alcohol, isn’t a sin in itself, but when you elevate your addiction above all else, serving it instead of serving God and others, then you might be falling into sin.

Proverbs 20:1 says that “wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” It’s clear that, while the Bible seems okay with an occasional drink now and then, it’s not okay with alcohol being the leading force in any life. Proverbs 23:31 even says not to look at wine if it’s enchanting you! “Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!

The message: turn away from alcohol if you can’t keep it in a place where it belongs. Scripture seems to think that place is in a healthy lifestyle that puts God first, followed by others and yourself.

Just Because You Can Drink Doesn’t Mean You Should

The conclusion here is that, even though alcohol itself might not be a sin, you shouldn’t drink at all if you know alcohol might take over your life. And even if you can imbibe with moderation, that doesn’t always mean you should. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say — but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” — but not everything is constructive.

For each adult Christian, whether or not to enjoy an alcoholic beverage from time to time is a personal choice that needs to be made after understanding yourself and God’s plan in your life. If you feel like the decision is out of your control and you can’t say no to alcohol — or if alcohol has taken the leading role in your life — you might be dealing with a substance abuse disorder or addiction. For information on getting treatment and removing alcohol as a factor in your life, contact The Road to Freedom, (844)402-3605.


Speaking Grace into Addiction: What to Do if a Loved One is Struggling with Drugs or Alcohol

May 29th, 2017

What to do if a loved one is struggling with addiciton

When someone you love is struggling with drugs or alcohol, the situation can be stressful and paralyzing. In some cases, family and friends fall into traps such as ignoring the problem or secretly hoping that it’s not as serious as it might seem. Loved ones might even make the same excuses for someone’s substance abuse that the person using drugs or alcohol makes for himself or herself: they’re dealing with stress and it’s a temporary thing, they only drink when they’re in social environments or they are controlling it themselves and still able to function at work.

Engaging in such denial isn’t helpful for your loved one or yourself, and can actually put the person in addiction — and his or her close friends and family — at greater risk. For Christians who see someone struggling with substance abuse or addiction, there are even more reasons to speak up: the Bible tells us that we shouldn’t let our brothers and sisters be caught in sin.

Don’t let someone struggle with addiction alone

Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

While enjoying a beer with friends isn’t necessarily a sin, turning away from the life God provided and turning instead to drugs or alcohol can be a sin. When someone is caught in addiction, they often create an idol out of what they crave, which is a sin in itself. Add to that the actions many people take when seeking or using drugs, and sin is definitely involved in the equation.

By standing aside — whether out of denial or discomfort in approaching the situation — Christian friends and family let someone remain in sin and don’t open potential doors for the person to be restored in the Spirit and return to Christ.

The Matthew 18 Confrontation

The Bible is very clear about the difference between confronting a brother and sister in Christ about sin and being judgmental of others. For Christians, this means treading carefully both when approaching someone who isn’t Christian and when confronting a fellow Christian about addiction. It can be a good idea to follow the Matthew 18 example when you want to talk to a loved one who is Christian about their substance abuse. In the passage from 18:15-17, Jesus is actually talking about people who sin against each other in the church, but the advice is applicable in addiction situations too.

Jesus gives us a sort of technical manual to follow in these cases. First, he says, go to the person in private to discuss the matter. In the case of substance abuse, if you have reason to fear the safety of you or the person in question should you approach the matter alone, plan ahead with another loved one or a church, substance abuse, medical or mental health professional.

Loved one with addiciton

If that doesn’t work, Jesus says to return to the person, this time with a few more trustworthy people. In the substance abuse world, that might look like a small intervention, with friends and family reaching out together in love.

Jesus says next bring the matter to the entire church, but remember that he was speaking about a matter within the church. When dealing with addiction, the equivalent step might be seeking outside professional help for your loved one, especially if they are also struggling with mental health issues and you don’t believe they can make a voluntary decision about seeking rehab and treatment themselves.

Growing Spiritually Together

It’s important to remember that approaching a loved one about addiction or substance abuse should never involve judgment. Instead, it should be a process by which you grow spiritually together. Ephesians 4:15 says, “. . . speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”

Before you approach someone who you believe is struggling with addiction, prepare yourself with prayer and by spending time with Christ. Ask for God’s guidance in the matter so that you can handle yourself with grace and speak the truth in a way that is firm but loving. By showing someone you really do care and that, even if you can’t understand what he or she is going through, that you aren’t judging them, you increase the chance that they will listen to what you have to say.

If you aren’t sure how to approach a loved one about drugs or alcohol use — or if your friend or family member is ready to learn about treatment options — call The Road to Freedom today for more information.  (844)402-3605.


Addiction’s Impact on Children: Seeking Recovery for the Entire Family

May 22nd, 2017

The impact of addiction on the whole family

A recent Road to Freedom blog post covered some topics related to addiction’s impact on family and family relationships. Addiction, like any other chronic condition, has a lifetime affect on families, including your spouse, your parents or siblings and even less immediate relatives. Drug or alcohol use and all the behaviors and pitfalls associated with that can also have a powerful, negative impact on the lives of your children — now and in the future.

Drugs and alcohol can leave children without parents

The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System notes that more than 85,000 minors ended up in foster care in 2015 related to one or both parents using drugs. In fact, addiction to drugs is the second leading factor in the removal of children from homes; the leading factor is child neglect, which can sometimes be associated with drug or alcohol abuse.

In some cases, parents are able to reunite with their children following recovery, but the temporary loss can be devastating to children. Even more frightening is that continued drug or alcohol use could lead to a permanent loss, either because children are removed from the home permanently or because their parent dies because of a drug or alcohol overdose or risky actions related to use.

Addiction creates a chasm in relationship

Addiction can create a gap in your relationship with your children. As a parent, if you are struggling with drug or alcohol use, then you are probably not fully present in your child’s life. You could be missing important events, forgetting about things they told you or generally ignoring them because you are struggling so much with your own issues. It’s even possible that you are neglecting them — even if you are still able to provide food, clothing and shelter, if you’re constantly thinking about drugs or alcohol or coming home drunk or high, it’s a good chance you aren’t attending to the mental, spiritual and emotional needs of children.

Continued drug abuse puts your child’s future and faith at risk

Not only does drug abuse put your children’s earthly future at risk, but it could also put their faith in danger — a grave concern for Christian parents.

When parents abuse drugs or alcohol, studies have shown that children are more likely to engage in similar behavior as teens or adults. Letting addiction get to a point that children are completely aware of it can send mixed messages, and kids who don’t know any other way of living might not even realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol until it’s too late.

Addiction can also put children’s futures at risk in financial and other ways. Parents who are struggling with addiction can be pushed by withdrawals and other factors into make decisions they would never make otherwise, such as selling family heirlooms or necessary items to pay for drugs or dipping into children’s or college savings accounts for the same purpose.

However addiction is impacting your family — and if you are dealing with chemical dependency, it’s certain that your family is suffering too — your children’s faith might be at risk. Parents who are struggling with addiction might be less likely to get involved with church or attend on a regular basis, which means children don’t either. Your actions can also cause discouragement, resentment and anger in children, all of which can lead to spiritual problems down the road.

Impact on the family

Paul talks about the importance of setting good examples and not provoking children in several of his epistles. In Colossians 3:21, he writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, less they become discouraged.” He repeats this message in Ephesians 6:4, saying “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The message isn’t just about drug use, but it does apply: parents should avoid engaging in action that could set their children on the wrong path. If you’re already caught in the cycle of such action, seek help and look for assistance in ensuring your children also get help.

Recovery for the entire family

The Road to Freedom isn’t just for you — it can be for your entire family. The Psalmist said, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb.” God has provided people for us to love and cherish, just has he loves and cherishes us.

For someone caught in addiction, one of the best ways to love and cherish your family is to seek help. Often, children want nothing more than having mom or dad healthy and whole again, and letting them see you taking those steps can be a big move in the direction of reconciliation and recovery for everyone. For more information about how you can seek recovery through rehab and involve your children and family in the process, call us today. (844)402-3605.


Is Your Job Forfeit if You Go to Rehab

May 17th, 2017

Can I keep my job during rehab?

One reason many people struggle with an addiction alone is because they believe that entering rehab could have negative consequences on their life. Even if they do get sober, they believe they might come out of rehab without a job or having lost connections with friends and family.

In truth, friends or family members who desert you simply because you admitted to a problem and attempted to seek a healthy, legal and even Christian resolution to it aren’t always someone you want around anyway. When it comes to a career, though, it might seem understandable if an employer has to replace you with someone new if you’ll be gone a few weeks or even months due to rehab. Fortunately, the law might be on your side in protecting your job.

Federal acts that might protect your job during rehab

Both the federal Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act provide some protection against discrimination for individuals who are in recovery for drug treatment. To that end, covered employees can’t be let go from their jobs simply because they entered a recovery program. To be eligible for this protection under the ADA, you must work for:

  • A federal government agency
  • A state or local government agency
  • A private company with at least 15 employees

The Rehabilitation Act only applies to federal employers or any other employer who receives revenue or financial support in the form of federal money, such as through a grant, aid or government contract.

Will I lose my job at rehab?Because the ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to support someone who has a disability, some employers will hold a job space for individuals going through rehab. This is because, in some cases, chronic addiction is seen as impairing a person’s ability to function in an otherwise normal manner.

Another federal law that might help protect your job if you enter a rehab program is the Family and Medical Leave Act. It affords covered employees the ability to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12-month period if a serious health condition requires treatment. Substance abuse is covered under FMLA. Depending on your employer’s policies, you might also be able to use accrued paid time off or vacation time to cover some of the leave, ensuring you or your family is still paid.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a free, downloadable booklet detailing the rights many works have under federal laws with regard to taking time for rehab.

Other factors in job loss due to drug or alcohol addiction

It is important to note that drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t get you off the hook for being let go for other reasons, and testing positive for drugs at work is often a reason for immediate termination as listed in human resource policies. If your employer finds you engaged in any illegal activity on the job, they also usually have the right to fire you.

Other reasons that you might be let go that could relate to drug or alcohol use include:

  • Being constantly late or absent from work because you are using
  • A drop in work performance related to chemical use or withdrawals
  • Aggressive or other inappropriate behavior in the workplace related to your drug or alcohol use

Once you cross certain lines with your employer, it can be more difficult to make a case for returning to work after rehab. This is one reason that it’s often better to confront the problem sooner rather than later. You might be worried about losing your job if you go to rehab, but an even bigger worry should be losing your job if you remain in the cycle of addiction.

Choosing sobriety over career success

Many people make the choice to chase career success over sobriety. At The Road to Freedom, we believe this is a mistake for many reasons. First, it puts you in the position of battling addiction alone, which is a good way to lose that battle. You might find success initially, but eventually you’ll be found out or something will go wrong, and at that point, you’ll only have more to lose.

For Christians, this path is especially bad because it involves acting in so many ways that goes against Scripture and Christian beliefs. To hold onto success while abusing drugs and alcohol, you may have to lie. Eventually, you could find yourself cheating, stealing or mistreating others just to get the next high and hide your addiction.

At Road to Freedom, we work with you to find a path back to sobriety so you can pick up career pieces or move into a completely new — and drug free — phase of life. You might be surprised how many employers are willing to help you make such a step, especially if you make it a point to seek help before things get too bad.

No matter where you are in addiction, though, or what has gone wrong, it’s never too late. Call us today for more information on our rehab program. (844) 402-3605.


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