We Can Do It Together With God

Everyone running to politicians for funding in order to fight the drug abuse epidemic does not cut it, exclaimed an animated presenter at a workshop at the Bucks County Faith Summit/We Can Do It Together event Saturday in Newtown, PA. Instead, a grass roots, autonomous group like that of Narcotics Anonymous with everyday people, recovered drug abusers is what is needed to help people get clean.

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. He came back to Dr. Jung, who told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully  recovered.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

Drug and alcohol abuse have a common root.

The Oxford Group

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy:

  • 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

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives.

Today, there are groups and meetings held in churches that treat drug addictions as sin (we all are sinners), which through Jesus can be overcome. It was a breath of fresh air that the convention promoted a faith-based solution to the problem of drug abuse.

Christian booklets and other materials were available at some of the many stations at the convention. There was a copy, in summary form, of Narcotics Anonymous. Faith based talks and Christian songs were included in the convention.

At the workshop before the one with the animated presenter, the presenter called addiction a disease. Someone in the audience challenged calling drug abuse a disease. While waiting in line to fill out some paperwork, I figuratively gave her a high five.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease_theory_of_alcoholism

Drug abuse is a choice, a sinful one. It is, as Biblical counselor and author Ed Welch said, voluntary slavery.

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. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 13-14

With God, you can overcome the voluntary slavery of drug abuse.

Heal The Land

I don’t know what she was on, but most likely a young woman was on something when she locked herself in the lady’s room at a fast food restaurant in Bristol, PA last night. A paying, female customer who needed to use the lady’s room found the lady’s room locked over a period of more than fifteen minutes. She intermittently went to the rest room door, knocked several times and asked “is anyone in there?” Over and over, but no reply.

Finally, an employee unlocked the door to find a young woman passed out on the floor. But shortly, the woman got up, and like the bride of Frankenstein, started walking away. As she walked out of the rest room, the woman who was waiting to use it remarked “other people need to use” the lady’s room. I didn’t hear the response, but the bathroom hog’s tone sounded smug, flippant.

It looked like she was trying to get into her car. Employees walked out, and the woman sauntered off. The police were called, and soon an officer showed up as did an ambulance with its lights flashing and sirens blaring. I think they found her.

I read the book Narcotics Anonymous a few years ago. By a former druggie’s own testimony, he admitted that a drug abuser is selfish – that the whole world revolves around him and the only thing that matters is getting that high. How he affects others is of no concern.

This was the case last night. It didn’t matter to that woman that she locked herself in the lady’s room, as if it were a flop house when there are other people who may need to use it.

The problem with the war on drugs is that authorities are placing all the blame on drug pushers. I’ve seen the signs in lower Bucks County “Push Out The Pusher”, with the message to call a number to report suspected drug dealers. I’ve read that authorities said, in so many words, that they are going to mollycoddle drug users.

Now counseling for druggies, dopes, is good, just as it was for drunks in the early 20th century. We finally realized that to resolve the problem of chronic drunkenness, we’re not going to do it by taking away everyone’s liquor.

Today, US Attorney Jeff Sessions is going about fighting the “opioid crisis” the same way we did with the alcohol problem during prohibition. To quote an old folk song “When will they learn. When will they ever learn?”

To overcome the drug problem, you have to go about changing individuals from the inside the right way. Calling drug abuse a disease is an epidemic in itself. Here in a brochure from the Bensalem police entitled “Bensalem Police Assisting in Recovery” (BPAIR) it states “Our primary goal is to connect people with substance abuse disorders with treatment programs and facilities. “Substance abuse disorders?”  That makes it sound as if these druggies have some kind of genetic problem they were born with. Are they lactose intolerant? Truth is, drug abuse is a matter of the will, and, as stated in the 12 Steps program, a character flaw. It’s a choice, a sinful one!

The problem with calling drug abuse a disease, as I’ve heard it called by many in authority – politicians, that nudge from the Addiction Network – is that it absolves the doper of responsibility for his behavior. It’s to say it’s not his fault.

“Alcoholism” and “addictions” are simply sin. Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” — I Corinthians 15:34. “The primary problem is moral and spiritual, not medical, and cannot be addressed without that perspective,” wrote Franklin E. Payne, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, in Augusta, Georgia.

“Addiction is a disease – not a personal failure”, said congressman Donald Norcross, D-New Jersey, in reference to the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force he’s part of. http://levittownnow.com/2017/05/31/congressman-fitzpatrick-named-vice-chair-bipartisan-heroin-task-force/

Critics of the disease theory, as reported on Wikipedia, say the disease theory, which is applied to drug and alcohol abuse “exists only to benefit the professionals’ and governmental agencies responsible for providing recovery services, and the disease model has not offered a solution for those attempting to stop abusive alcohol and drug use.”

The alternative to the Elliott Ness Round the suppliers up initiative and that it’s not their fault it’s a disease agenda is a program that reflects the views of A First Century Christian Fellowship, which later became known as The Oxford Group, which made regular reference to God. Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, by the way, greatly minimized the use of God in the program.  Today, Celebrate Recovery closely matches the philosophy of The Oxford Group.

The Oxford Group’s Philosophy:

⦁ 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

Only when we return to God and following his ways will we be able to deal with the drug and other problems.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Equip for Every Good Work

How to best counsel someone with a problem, such as drunkenness is being wrestled with in the marketplace of ideas.  Addressing the question of whether Christians should attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or treatment centers, Wayne Jackson challenges the idea of what he calls  a “hybrid religio/secular organism” such as AA. He’s concerned that, although the goal of the programs may be noble, they dilute the Word of God and don’t fully help people.

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/385-what-about-alcoholics-anonymous

Early on, AA had a schism.

In 1921, a Lutheran minister founded A First Century Christian Fellowship, which was later called the Oxford Group.

The minister summed up the Oxford Group’s philosophy:

  • 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

AA co-founder Bill Wilson joined The Oxford Group and learned their teachings but later broke away. These teachings influenced the structure of AA and helped form the foundation of the 12-step program.

The schism: AA subscribes to the idea “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” The Oxford Group: The Biblical view that the King of King and Lord of Lords can break the chains and set you free of any bondage holding you captive. Expedia reports the differing views: “In AA, the bondage of an addictive disease cannot be cured, while the Oxford Group stressed the possibility of complete victory over sin.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

Fidelity to scriptures isn’t a concern that started in the 20th century with counseling people. During the early years of the church, the apostle Paul and company toured the churches to make sure they were in line with God’s Word. In Sunday school class, when I saw a diagram of the route the apostles took, noticing the guys were traveling away from Crete, I remarked that they must have been running from the Cyclops. I was mistaken. The Cyclops hung out in Sicily. He liked Sicilian pizza. That’s one thing we have in common.

In the 20th century, churches in America, liberal churches, lost fidelity to scriptures. To them, the Word of God didn’t mean the Word of God, but was subject to human ideas that contradicted God. My mother used to call these churches “social clubs.”

While the traditional churches in America were preoccupied with fighting liberalism in the church, they let secular modern psychology infiltrate their ranks. For people who came to the church with problems, churches took on a policy of defer and refer to the modern mental health menagerie.

Don’t let me tell you where to go (some people have told me where to go) to church for counseling and for fellowship with true believers and communion with God. Study the Bible and learn for yourself and find a church that most closely matches scripture. This is a trend that Martin Luther started with the Reformation.

It’s important not to mix worldly beliefs that contradict scripture in counseling and in other matters. Sure, they may have in common the goal to help people. But some things just don’t mix. I wouldn’t hang out with the Cyclops just because with both like Sicilian pizza.

There are counseling programs out there that are in sync with scripture. One national one is Celebrate Recovery. It uses the 12-step program and matches each step with scripture. It seems to follow the philosophy of the Oxford Group. http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/twelve-steps

The closest Celebrate Recovery program from lower Bucks County, PA is in Ewing, NJ. Visit the link above to find Celebrate Recovery locations in your area as well as to learn more about the program.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

-2nd Timothy 3: 16-17