Editor Feb 14 : 17:02
How to effectively reach out to those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Biblically, chemical dependency boils down to being enslaved to drugs and alcohol and a person can't get out of it without God.
You will meet "users" and "abusers", it is crucial to know the difference.
It is not necessarily sinful to use alcohol but its wrong to abuse.
Addiction = when getting drunk or high progresses to the point where you have no choice over it anymore.Question: How do you know when you are enslaved?
Answer: You keep getting the consequences for using and they get worse and worse but you keep using.We have to be willing to get honest with ourselves and accept on an emotional level that we are powerless over drugs.Ephesians 1:18,19 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
God wants for our hearts to see the truth about who we are in real life. We have an awesome power at our disposal if we submit to God, that is, the same power that raised Christ from the dead.
There is no problem in the addicts life that God cannot fix. The question is the same as Jesus asked the paralytic, "Do you want to get well?"
When reaching out to the addict, as with anyone, there must be a relationship forged, a genuine caring relationship. We need to understand that drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent today and that many people you meet will have a problem.
Don't be naive
Many Christians who have had drug/alcohol problems themselves assume that others don't. There is a one in three chance that this person either, is a user or, is being affected by a user so you need to be wise and ask questions.
Most people have experimented with drugs & alcohol at some point in their lives. Your job is not to figure out if someone has used but how much they have abused.
Watch for indications of drug/alcohol use. Use the list given on this page.
Visit their homes
Watch for drug paraphernalia - we have to be wise when we study with people.
Walk in a room and look around
- what kind of pictures are hanging on the wall?
- what type of music do they listen to?
What type of person are they?
- do they miss appointments?
- do they miss work on Fridays and Mondays?
- Monday: hangover from weekend, so can't go to work
- Friday: starts partying Thursday night.
- have they been in the hospital a lot? why?
- do they appear to always have cold or flu?
- they have a good job but they're always broke
- are they always just paying off bills?
- people tend to minimize their using; lie to themselves; part of the deceit
- people think that if they get away their problems go away
- or if you go away you'll get good drugs
- or effort to control things - i.e. "this cocaine is killing me but if I go to the city it will be better
- talk to people about where they go- find out where they spend time
Type of job they have
- some of favorite jobs for abusers: bartender, pharmacy, painter, hospital, selling drugs, liquor store, clubs or self-employed,restaurant work. Also, house painting, plumbers, landscaping.
- gives them free time to drink.
- haven't completed school or anything else, frequent job changes
- people who quit before they are fired
Smell of alcohol, red eyes, slurred speech
- don't think too well, poor memory
- in trouble with law, alimony, back debts, wrecked car, old debts, drug debts
- talk to wife about his using a little too much
- Is it a pattern? drinking and drugging makes you pathological liar - you have to do it to maintain
- Check out the lies
- blaming others for problems; blaming God.Pray and ask God to expose things
- no matter how perceptive you are you will miss some things; there are people who are slicker than you
- before a study ask God to expose whatever needs to be talked about
When the study begins
Assess persons willingness to accept responsibility for themselves; this is what we do when we give them the Berean challenge in the Word study; don't want to waste God's time
- get them to determine whether or not they want to do some things
- addicts are used to manipulating others to do things for them so when they find church people, they try to get them to do it one more time.
- you want to spend time with people who are serious about studying.
Get them in relationships with other people
- Don't be only person in their lives.
- Get other people to say what they see in them - get help
- When you study sin don't ask if they use, ask how much they use
- Play your hunches
- Assess whether or not they are powerless
- Look at the consequences
- Do they continue to use after the consequences?
Study out repentance thoroughly - 2 Cor 7 - draw distinction between worldly vs. godly sorrow.
- realizing what sin has done to God gets them to repent
- reading the Word changes their heart
- look for alarm, urgency, willingness to see justice done
- don't baptize someone because they look like they are sorry
People that truly repent will go to any lengths to change
- Asking for advice and taking it will change them
- May be necessary for someone to go to detox for week to 10 days - after 7-10 days most drugs are out of system then it becomes a spiritual problem. After they get out of detox, get them to church, into relationships, into the Bible.
- Stay away from psychiatric hospitals because first thing they'll give them is thorazine because they think it's a psychiatric problem - make sure it's a drug detox center they go to.
- Doing a journal will help person determine whether or not they have repented.
- Person who has genuinely repented will not use again
- Believe what people do not what they say!
Work with people who want to come to church, read the Bible. Need to win people who want to change.- Rescuing = pouring time and energy into someone who doesn't want to help themselves
- You can't do something for someone if they don't want it.
- If you don't accept your limitations you will always be a rescuer.
- Attitude of concern and love is good but if you get in there and pay their bills you will always be a rescuer
- Rescuing = Enabling
- You will enable them to continue to use while you take care of them.
- Sometimes we feel guilty that we don't give people money but we are enabling them to die.
- When you play the part of the rescuer and people don't get better and take advantage of your 'kindness' you feel victimized.
- As a victim you get angry and start persecuting the addict, they in turn comes back to you as the 'real' victim and says things like "how could you as a Christian treat me like this?". At this point you feel that you have misjudged the person and you then start to rescue them again.
- Jesus helped people who were willing to help themselves.
- Get them to take notes, etc. so you can assess what they want to do.
- An addicts mouth can kill them - the most loving thing you can tell them: "I'll believe what you do not what you say."