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And the Greatest of These is Love

April 26th, 2017

The Greatest of These is Love

I read an article the other day about a young female student who had become a Chaplain for a local hospice in her first year of study in a theological seminary.  Her professor asked the class how they were applying their biblical education to the people they had been helping.  When it was her turn the new chaplain reported, “I just sit with them, and listen to them share about their families.”

The professor laughed condescendingly and retorted, “Do you really think that people on their deathbeds want to chit chat with a first year seminary student about their personal lives?”  He went on to list to the rest of the class the spiritually significant elements of life and death that should be pondered and discussed when ministering to individuals facing the end of their lives.

The article reports that this young woman went on to serve as a Chaplain for hospice care for thirteen more years after graduating from seminary.  She explained that what she learned over a decade of ministry to people on their deathbeds has affirmed and validated her initial experience back when she had first started.  “People who are dying don’t care to debate theology or receive sermons about the significance of religion in their last days on earth,” she said.  “For the most part, they talk about their loved ones-who they will miss and with whom they wish that they had spent more time.  They share about the love they didn’t receive that they wish they had, and even those they hoped to see in the afterlife.  They tell me about who in their lives became like family to them, and who they wished they had loved on more without reservation.  Overall, what I have observed is that my knowledge of God is not as important to people, it seems, as my ability to love on them as God would if He were sitting by their side.”

This article should challenge us to consider—what will our last conversations on earth be like?  What will be our main concerns?  About whom will we think, and what stories will we tell?  Will we have any regrets?  What will we feel good about that we have done?  Will anyone even be there when the time comes?

What are you doing to show love?

If these are questions that pull on your heart-strings, chances are there are areas of your life that could use some restoration, revision, and re-direction.  The Bible records Paul of Ephesus encouraging the Romans by his conviction that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love; neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38 NLT).  Who in your life is worth the effort it would take to show unconditional love with this kind of passion and zeal?  In what ways do you wish you could feel this kind of love, and what will it take to become someone who is able to receive it?  What can you do today that will bring you closer to answering those questions with the comfort of certainty and joy?

When asked which was the greatest commandment in the Law, Jesus replied, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV).  You might have faith that the answers to those questions will come in the future, or even hope one day you will answer them how you imagine yourself doing so…but what are you doing to show and receive love today?

“Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Tara Milstein - Road to Freedom

by Pastor Tara H. Milstein Pastor Tara is an Assistant Pastor/Worship Leader at Road to Freedom.

More Than Conquerors: Turning to Scripture to Subdue Panic Attacks

April 24th, 2017

Using Scripture against Anxiety

Panic attacks can be a serious concern for anyone going through recovery. Anxiety, fear and panic could have been what triggered drug or alcohol use and driven you into addiction, but panic can also be a response to attempts at sobriety.

In some cases, when your body has become physically dependent on a substance, such as heroin or prescription pain killers, it doesn’t know what to do when it stops getting that substance. Withdrawals can trigger numerous physical, mental and emotional reactions, including panic attacks.

What many people who have never experienced a panic attack don’t realize is that it’s usually a combination of all three: you don’t just feel anxious; your body can lock up and make it difficult to function or even breathe. Other panic attack symptoms can include:

  • Feeling sick to your stomach
  • Experiencing chest pain
  • Feeling as if you are being smothered
  • Experiencing unrealistic sensations
  • Dizziness or feeling like the room is spinning
  • Fear that you will lose control or be unable to return to a normal state of mind

The fear inherent in a panic attack can grow, making the attack worse and worse. Luckily, there are proven methods for dealing with and reducing panic attacks. At The Christian Treatment Center, our professional, experienced counselors work with you in group and individual therapy as well as through recreational activities so that you can learn appropriate coping skills to help get through panic attacks.

What does the Bible say about panic attacks?

We believe that faith and studying the Scriptures, alongside proven clinical approaches, can help those in recovery. That includes helping you deal with panic attacks. Here are several Bible verses that you can turn to during times of worry, fear or anxiety to help you keep panic from taking over.

The Armor of God

The Armor of God section of Ephesians begins, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

The section goes on to discuss the spiritual protection that God provides for all his children by using an armor metaphor. It says that your struggle isn’t with flesh and blood: you aren’t putting on physical armor and taking up a physical sword to vanquish your enemy. Those who are battling addiction and dealing with panic — which attacks the body, mind and soul — know this first hand. The armor you need is mental, emotional and spiritual, and the words from Ephesians provide you a formula for equipping yourself.

  • Begin with the belt of truth: be honest about your situation, your mistakes and your needs
  • Add the breastplate of righteousness: make a commitment to follow and obey God and put him — not panic — in control
  • Cover your feet in the readiness of the gospel, so you are able to move when God directs
  • Take up the shield of faith, relying on Christ to help you instead of relying on your own decision-making
  • Choose the helmet of salvation through your belief in Christ
  • And study the Scriptures, so you are able to use them as a sword to battle addiction and panic

A Spirit of Power

In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul advises his young charge that God has not provided him a Spirit of fear. Instead, he says, we have a spirit of “power, love and self-discipline.” It’s up to us to make the choice to use the Spirit God has given us, and through Christian counseling and addiction treatment, you can learn to turn to that Spirit instead of turning to drugs or alcohol at a time of stress or panic.

More than Conquerors

Finally, Paul gives us a Christian battle cry in Romans 8:31-39. He writes that nothing can separate a person who loves Christ from the love and grace that God provides through his Son. That includes addiction, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Paul says God is for us, so who — or what — can stand against us. “Nothing,” he says.

A comprehensive approach to treating panic attacks

Leaning on these Scriptures and God’s promise for your life doesn’t just make addiction or panic attacks magically disappear. The same is true for someone with a chronic illness such as cancer: prayer and Bible study doesn’t always cure it. That’s simply not the way the world works.

Incorporating an understanding of Scripture and relying on God’s Word for advice and comfort can help you battle addiction and recovery. At The Christian Treatment Center, we believe that a comprehensive approach that invokes best clinical practices and faith can treat your mind and soul, making it more likely you’ll attain success and long-term sobriety.

If you are dealing with addiction or panic attacks and don’t know where to turn, call us today. Our counselors are available to take your call at (844) 402-3605.

I Do? – A Marital Struggle with Addiction

April 17th, 2017

Married Couples Struggling With Addiction

Addiction and Marriage Statistics

Increase in Addiction Occurrences

Drug and alcohol addiction has seen a steady increase year over year in the past decade. Approximately 21.5 million American adults struggled with a substance use disorder in the year of 2014 (National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH, 2014). Of those 21.5 million Americans, almost 80% are dealing with an alcohol use disorder (NSDUH, 2014). The counselors at The Christian Treatment Center can help those currently dealing with a substance addiction.
The United States is currently in an addiction epidemic. Drugs and alcohol are easier to come by and people are dealing with overwhelming amounts of stress with substance abuse. Turning that stress over to a higher power can actually reduce the desire to use. In fact, according to MDPI (2014), extensive research shows that a strong affiliation within a religious community actually protects from addiction. It is also a key part in the successful treatment of a substance abuse problem.

Decrease in Divorce Statistics

Despite significant increases in those dealing with a substance addiction, divorce rates have slowly declined over the last decade. In 2006, over 10 years ago, approximately 2,193,000 per 294,077,247 divorces occurred, making it 7.5 per 1000 (Divorcestatistics.org, 2014). In 2016, the United States is down to 6.9 divorces per 1,000 total populations (CDC.gov, 2016).
The slow decrease in divorce rates per population is an indicator that married couples are sticking it out more often, despite tough situations. Married couples struggling with ‘for worse’ situations, such as addiction, are seeking out help, turning to religion, and working toward the recovery of their marriage. Hand your addiction and marriage problems to a higher power. If divorce seems like the only option in this difficult addiction cycle, the counselors at The Christian Treatment Center can be reached at (844) 402-3605, 24 hours a day. Help is confidential and there is no pressure to do anything more than call.

Addiction and How it Affects the Marriage

Christian Meaning of Marriage

The two words “I do” have a significant meaning behind them. They create a connection between you, your spouse, and God for life. These words mean that you accept one another for better and for worse. Although the good times are usually very good, the bad times are generally very difficult. Even when times get terribly hard, you have made a commitment to be there for your spouse. Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins (1 Peter 4:8). If you are finding it difficult to remember your Christian vows in the face of addiction, The Christian Treatment Center counselors can help with a free and confidential consultation.

Signs and Symptoms that Addiction May Be Affecting Your Marriage

Addiction is one of the most destructive and damaging things that a marriage can go through. Learning to navigate the marriage while one spouse is struggling with addiction takes a lot of work and dedication. It tests out the religious strength of your marriage. It pushes you to the ‘for worse’ limits. It can sometimes be difficult to identify the specific areas that addiction is ruining in your marriage. Identifying these struggles is often the first step to addiction recovery.
A few problems that are common in marital discord when addiction is involved include:
Enabling: Enabling is when one spouse essentially covers for the other. They may call into work for them or take care of them when they are under the influence. Enabling becomes especially destructive when it also affects the enabler’s life.
Abnormal argument styles: When drugs or alcohol change the way you argue, there may be a problem present. It affects the ability to effectively work through disagreements, putting additional strain on the marriage.
Poor financial situations: This occurs when one spouse depletes savings accounts or makes poor or secretive financial decisions to fund the addiction problem.
Domestic violence: Domestic violence caused by alcohol or drugs is never an excuse.

Do not be misled. Remember that bad company corrupts good character. 1 Corinthians 15:33. If you or your spouse is dealing with any of these tell-tale signs, consider getting in touch with a Christian counselor at The Christian Treatment Center for a free and confidential consultation.

Christian Based Addiction Help

Services Offered

You may choose to seek a counselor for marital help. You also might see a counselor for addiction treatment. When the two problems become one, however, it takes a specialized treatment counselor who is familiar with the Christian bonds of marriage being tested with addiction. Counseling may entail many different forms of treatment, including individual addiction counseling for the suffering spouse, individual counseling for the supporting spouse, couples counseling surrounding the addiction recovery, and marriage couples counseling. A few of the services you might receive from counselors at The Christian Treatment Center include:

Turning to religion has strongly been associated with positive addiction related outcomes (PMC National Institute of Health, 2014). Many empirically backed studies have shown that working specifically with a Christian based addiction treatment center can provide you with the background needed to understand and recover from addiction.

Additional Services

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14). For an additional and complete list of available services at The Christian Treatment Center, contact one of our professional and confidential counselors at (844) 402-3605. They are familiar with the struggles of addiction in a religious aspect.

Is Divorce an Option?

When Children Are Involved

Marriages tend to struggle in many areas during time of addiction. Adding in children tends to complicate the situation even more. When children are involved, the steps taken will depend on their age and awareness of the situation. They may have a lot of questions about the outcome of the marriage or the person that is struggling with addiction. Failing to handle this communication in a positive and open manner can affect the family structure.

When Divorce May be an Option

Despite strong Christian beliefs, divorce may have crossed your mind a time or two during particularly difficult situations. Perhaps you are the spouse who has been mixed into the destructive patterns of a substance user. Maybe you are the person who is struggling with addiction and you feel guilt surrounding your actions. Many Christians wonder if divorce is ever an option in a Christian marriage. It depends where you look. Matthew 19:6 states that, so they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together. God intends for your marriage to be forever. However, Moses states two reasons for an allowed divorce.
• Adultery
• Abandonment
Adultery reduces trust and involves deception, two characteristics that go against your Christian marital vows. Some would compare the cycle of addiction to both deception and abandonment. If you feel lost in your marriage and are struggling with thoughts of divorce, our Christian counselors at The Christian Treatment Center can provide you with a free consultation.

Final Thoughts

There is a light at the end of what seems like an extremely long and dark tunnel. There is a possibility of recovery, both in an addiction and in your marriage. If your marriage can make it through this incredibly difficult time, imagine what you can accomplish together. Your marriage bond with each other, and with God, will be stronger than ever. Remember the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10). All it takes is the courage to make that initial call for help at The Christian Treatment Center at (844) 402-3605.

How to Handle Anger in Recovery

April 10th, 2017

What the scripture says about anger for those in recovery

Anger is a natural part of the recovery process for many people. Whether you’re dealing with chronic addiction and frustrated with yourself or your situation, or you’re dealing with misunderstandings and conflict after time spent in rehab, anger can be both a helpful and harmful emotion. When you react with anger and are aware of it, your emotions can help you understand the situation and discover triggers that lead to drug abuse. When you let anger get the better of you, though, you can hurt yourself and others and might put yourself at risk for relapse.

The Bible offers us many words of wisdom about anger; let’s take a look at five pieces of Scripture that provide direction for us in times of anger.

1. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

James writes about the type of anger that causes us to take action — the wrong type of action. The Bible repeatedly tells us that God can be wrathful and act on that wrath, but we aren’t God. When we act with anger as the leader, we usually don’t make righteous decisions. Instead, we lash out at others or ourselves. For someone in recovery, anger and hurting can lead to a return to drug abuse either to numb those emotions of anger, the regret, or to take something out on ourselves or others.

James reminds us of lessons many were taught in grade school. When you feel angry, he says, take a breath. Count to ten. Listen first and wait until you are calm to speak. Human anger isn’t going to get you very far, he says.

2. “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.” Proverbs 29:11

James isn’t unique in his message. Being slow to anger and trying to manage your fury is something taught throughout the Bible. Proverbs tells us that only fools let their rage fully vent. That doesn’t mean you should keep your emotions inside, bottled up where they might explode. It means that you should be wise and calm in how you communicate with others, and when you need to vent or discuss a situation, seek an impartial, calm and trustworthy ear.

Here, you might see one value of counseling throughout the recovery process. By talking things through with a professional, you can avoid saving up anger and lashing out inappropriately at others or at yourself. Keeping rage from building also reduces drug abuse triggers related to unresolved emotions.

3. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

In this second selection from Proverbs, the Bible reminds us of another reason not to lash out in anger. It’s the old “more flies with honey” situation, and it’s true. Gentle, calm communication is often more effective than yelling. As someone in recovery, when you can communicate your needs, fears and goals to your loved ones in a calm way, they are more likely to be able to help you seek sobriety. As a loved one to someone in recovery, when you can avoid angry outbursts, you’re more likely to get through to or be able to support your family member.

4. “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips” Colossians 3:8

You might have rid your body of drugs through detox, but your journey is far from done. You probably know that drug addiction is a chronic condition that you could struggle with the rest of your life; so is the human condition. Humans are flawed creatures, and if you are Christian, then those flaws are something you might be working on for the rest of your existence in this earthly realm. Colossians reminds us that we have to always strive to get rid of the things that are ungodly if we have any hope to make slow improvements as we grow.

5. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27

Finally, Ephesians lets us know that we can be angry without sinning, which opens the door for those dealing with drug addiction and substance abuse to process emotions and situations in a very normal, healthy way. Instead of hiding from your anger, make sure you feel it and work with professional counselors to deal with the issues that are causing you frustration.

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger or fears; reach out to loved ones, professionals or the Christian Treatment center for help today. You can call our counselors anytime, day or night, to find out about treatment options if you are dealing with anger that led to drug abuse and addiction.

Taking Heart in the Easter Message: Rising from Addiction

April 3rd, 2017

Easter Message - Rising from Addiction

Easter — and springtime in general — is a time of revival. That’s true spiritually as well as physically. In the world around us, life is blossoming again after winter; even in southern climates that remain fairly lush through winter months, spring brings baby animals, Easter flowers and garden planting. All of these things remind us of hope and new beginnings — and the redemption that was granted, to every person willing to accept it, by a Savior more than 2,000 years ago.

For those struggling with drug addiction, springtime can be a time of renewal. It’s also a time to reflect on the Easter message and how that grace and miracle plays out in our lives on a daily basis. Here are three ways the Easter story is relevant to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Even those who fall away are granted forgiveness

One of the elements of the Easter story that is often overlooked is how Jesus was abandoned by his closest friends as his hour of need approached. During the last supper, he predicts that it’s going to happen. After telling the disciples that one of them will betray him, he adds that they will all fall away. “Not I,” says Peter. “I’ll never do it!” Jesus tells him that before the rooster crows the next morning, Peter will have denied Christ three times; much to Peter’s horror, that does happen.

Despite the lack of support and the fact that his friends run and hide once he’s arrested, Jesus offers them grace and forgiveness. There’s a two-prong lesson in this part of the story for those in recovery. First, whether you are just seeking Christ for the first time in your life or you have fallen away from him through addiction, know that he will receive you back openly if you simply ask.

The second lesson is about forgiving others and seeking forgiveness. Often, the people who are closest to you fall away as you fall deeper into an addiction cycle. Even entering recovery can seem to drive some friends or family away, and it’s natural to be frustrated or angry with them. Seeking to follow Jesus means taking his lead in these things, though, and Jesus would forgive. Work with your counselors and other recovery professionals to understand when you should simply forgive and when it may be healthy to seek reconciliation.

Nothing has defeated the light that is Christ

Another lesson from the Easter story is that nothing has defeated Jesus. Not even the devil — not even death — could put out his light or stop his message. The Bible says that the light — which is Christ — has come into the world, and the darkness has not overcome it. For anyone who accepts Jesus into their heart, that statement can be made more personal. The light has come into you, and the darkness has not overcome it. Even in what might seem like the darkest hours of addiction or recovery, if you are walking with Jesus, there is light — there is hope.

Inside Tomb - Easter

Faith in unseen outcomes is essential

Finally, the Easter story points us to the need to have faith in God’s plan even when we can’t see the outcome. After he rises from the tomb, Jesus visits his disciples. Thomas, ever known from this point on as the doubter, won’t believe it’s Jesus until he sees the wounds on his hands and sides. Jesus tells them that they are lucky; they’ve walked with him and seen miracles, and it’s easy for them to believe. Much harder, says Jesus, for all the people who have not personally seen these things to believe — and yet they do.

When you’re dealing with life-altering addiction and substance abuse disorders, it can be difficult to see past the current problems to have faith that God has an ultimate plan for you. It’s hard, sometimes, to have that kind of faith when you aren’t able to actively see it impacting your immediate need. Some people ask, “If God has a plan for me, why doesn’t he get rid of my addiction right now?”

Unfortunately, we live in a broken and troubled world, and disease and struggle is part of that. Addiction, like other chronic illnesses, isn’t something God always chooses to heal with a sudden miraculous event. Sometimes, his plan involves another way and another path. The Easter story — and Christ’s devotion to the path his Father set out for him — provides us with an illustration of how to have faith in the unseen and how to follow God’s path through trials and tribulations.

During this season of revival and renewal, take time to talk to Jesus about what you need to revive in your life. Consider taking one action around Easter to revive yourself, your commitment to sobriety or your relationships with others.

If you or a loved one are seeking immediate help for substance addiction or abuse, reach out to a counselor today, we are available 24/7 for guidance.(844) 402-3605

The Link Between Aggression Disorder and Substance Abuse

March 14th, 2017

Substance Abuse - Aggression Disorder can be a link

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

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

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

What is intermittent explosive disorder?

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

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

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

How does IED relate to substance abuse?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Verses For Your Addiction Recovery

March 10th, 2017

Addiction Recovery - 3 Verses For Your Journey

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

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

Romans 12:1-2: A Living Sacrifice

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

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

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

Jeremiah 18:6: Clay to the Potter

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

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 3:18: Transformed in His Image

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

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

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

If you’re dealing with a new desire to quit or you can’t find your way out of addiction and into the journey of recovery, the Road to Freedom can help. Call us at (844) 402-3605 any time of the day or night to find out how.

4 Reasons to Find a Church Family after Rehab

March 6th, 2017

4 Reasons to Find a Church Family After Rehab

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

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

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

Church Membership Comes with a Spiritual Support System

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

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

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

Church Members Pray for Each Other

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

Fellowship is Good for the Mind, Body and Soul

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

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

Getting Involved in Church Lets You Make a Difference

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

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

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

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

Supporting a Loved One In Active Addiction

March 6th, 2017

Supporting a loved one in active addiction

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

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

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

Stay True to God

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

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

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

Pray Together

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

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

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

Be Available

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

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

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

Forgive

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

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

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

Continue to Love

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

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

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

Handling addiction as a Christian is desperately hard, especially for those who feel as though they aren’t worthy of the love and support of God. Road of Freedom is here to help, providing a Christ-centered approach to detox, rehabilitation, and therapy for those in need. Contact Road to Freedom at (844) 402-3605 to get the help you need. (Read more about  Supporting Christians in Active Addiction in our recent blog

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

5 Ways You Can Boost Spiritual Health and Grow Your Faith

February 27th, 2017

5 Ways you can boost spiritual health

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

Express yourself through writing or art

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

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

Read about faith, scripture and Jesus

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

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

Some books we recommend include:

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

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

Obey God’s commands and his pull on your heart

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

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

Show love to others

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

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

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

Fast Appropriately to Draw Near to God

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

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

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