“Drug overdose has surged to become the leading cause of accidental death in the United States”, wrote congressman Mike Fitzpatrick in a recent op-ed to LevittownNow.com.
The drug epidemic is not something law enforcement can just “arrest its way out of”, said Bucks Co. Assistant District Attorney Matt Weintraub, adding that we need a plan that “reduces the supply and demand, while helping those in the throes of addiction,” the congressman referenced in his op-ed.
I agree. But how do we go about it?
Lately we’ve been bombarded with ads for drug abuse treatment. There’s one in particular that’s been coming on constantly, where a bearded guy with a stethoscope and scrubs tells us how grave the drug abuse problem is and Augustly states “It is a disease,” and offers services, which, he ads, may be covered by your insurance.
Another ad for drug abuse treatment mentions “it’s not a 12 step program.”
Both of these sources are wrong.
What is addiction and how do we solve it?
“Addiction is a repetitive, pleasure-seeking behavior that is habitual in spite of moral or physical reasons (i.e., harm) that should rationally preclude its practice and that displaces spiritual obligations,” writes Franklin E Payne Jr., MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Payne rejects the conventional wisdom that addictions are strictly medical but are moral and spiritual. Drug and other substance abusers cannot be helped, the professor says, unless the problem is viewed from that perspective.
The root of the problem is sin, not disease.
Although there is a physical dependency, the mental drive for pleasure or comfort far exceeds the physical drive, according to Dr. Payne, who adds that such compulsive behavior should be labeled “besetting sin” rather than as an “addiction.”
Besetting sin is to doggedly continue to pursue bad, sinful habits, taking things to extremes, becoming enslaved by sin.
“As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly. “
All “addictions” have this common root.
The only way to overcome these problems is through biblical principles. A businessman whose business was destroyed because of alcohol abuse went to psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung for treatment. Shortly after a year long treatment with Dr. Jung, he returned to his drinking. When he went back for treatment, Dr. Jung told the man that his case was nearly hopeless and the only hope was for a spiritual conversion with a religious group.
The 12 Steps Journey Program, a free, walk in program which is held at two different churches, two different nights in Bucks County, PA, operates on the principle that Dr. Jung recommended to the drunk who returned to his vomit.
The first step in the 12 steps program: “We admitted we were powerless over the effects of our separation from GOD-that our lives had become unmanageable.”
The 12 Steps Journey Program addresses a host of problems that have a common cause: alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety, depression, anger, etc.
Today many churches are offering treatment programs to help troubled people overcome besetting sins. This is a step in the right direction to tackle the drug epidemic and other problems that are rooted in sin.
To help drunks overcome their problem, before Alcoholics Anonymous, Dr. Franklin Nathaniel Daniel Buchman, a minister, started a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, later called “The Oxford Group”. It’s philosophy to treat the problem:
- All people are sinners
- All sinners can be changed
- Confession is a prerequisite to change
- The change can access God directly
- Miracles are again possible
- The change must change others
This philosophy applies to other human behavioral problems.
There is help for those who seek it.
“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted”