Breaking The Chains!

Today government initiatives are focusing on going after drug dealers to curb the flow of drugs to fight the drug abuse epidemic, just as Elliott Ness and his Untouchables went after bootleggers during prohibition. Reasoning that because 10 percent of the population has a problem with alcohol, authorities realized that taking booze away from everyone didn’t resolve the problem, and prohibition was repealed.

Instead of trying to stop the supply, efforts were made to help individual drunks break their bad habit, a besetting sin.  Before the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous was formed, what was known as The Oxford Group was formed by a Christian missionary. The church then got involved, as it should, to help people break the chains of addiction and restore them to the way God intended them to be.

All the King’s Horses

Even as far back as 1931, it was discovered that the shrinks can’t adequately resolve addiction problems. A business executive was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for alcoholism for a year, but then went back to the bottle. Dr. Jung told him that he may be a hopeless case and that his only hope may be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. And he did, and he overcame his life destroying problem.

Today the churches need to pick up the torch. Many of them are, in Bucks County and vicinity, for example. At many of the community meals I go to for the homeless and needy I’ve seen signs for The Twelve Steps Program.

Breaking The Chains of Addiction, a faith based group that helps people overcome their addictions, meets at First Baptist Church in Morrisville, PA, 50 Pennsylvania Avenue, Tuesdays, at 7 p.m.  Breaking The Chains also meets in South Philly at Third Baptist Church, 2400 S. Broad St Fridays at 7 p.m.

Celebrate Recovery, a national program that helps people overcome drug and alcohol addictions as well as other problems, has a few chapters not far from Bucks County.  Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. New Life Presbyterian Church, 425 East Roosevelt Blvd. In North East Philly hosts Celebrate Recovery.

The church needs to bring light to the world, helping to restore broken people.

Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi 

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.”

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “

-Matthew 5:13-16

No Direction Home?

You can take people by the hand, but you can’t pull them. It’s noble to reach out to people who need a helping hand. But in some cases, they don’t want to listen to advice or follow the right path.

After people visited him in the hospital, worked hard to get him in a nursing home, moved his worldly  possessions  from his sold home into storage, counseled and encouraged him to straighten out and tried to get him into more programs to help him overcome his besetting sin of chronic drunkenness, he walked away from the nursing home. When he was distraught around the public library in Levittown, PA our friend in the homeless and needy community in Bucks County, PA, a police officer encouraged him to return to the nursing home. He didn’t.

At Tuesday night’s community meal for the homeless and those in need, our friend was greeted by his friends. He thanked those who have been helping him.

The reason for bolting from the nursing home? He described it as being quite filthy. I find that dubious, as do others.

He told me he planned to find a hotel and drove away from the dinner. The social worker he was working with, he said, was looking for a room for him.

Now, he’s on his own, with no direction home, as Bob Dylan sang.

The man needs to be sequestered in a home, where he can get the treatment, mostly counseling, that he badly needs, as well as a place where he has to stay away from the bottle and cigarettes, which he craves.

A few years back, I kept company with a homeless woman who had just walked away from her husband, a well-paying job, fancy cars and a great house in an upscale neighborhood. She was well educated. The woman was leery of going to the homeless meals, as she thought people didn’t like her being there. I encouraged her to go, and we often went to the meals together. I also brought food to her tent, as she was quite thin and may have gotten thinner.

For awhile, we did positive things such as discuss books we got out of the local library, would reference books we’ve read, talked about art…  She got a job but was fired, accused of being involved in a stealing ring. She had a problem with the bottle, and soon returned to heavy drinking, and habitually stole things. She sometimes broke down crying, lamenting to me that she was homeless.

Drunkenness, like other crutches to escape life, leads nowhere. A problem drinker’s girlfriend and I used to say that he thinks the answer to problems is in the bottle. He may think that a genie will pop out and say “your wish is my command.”

Actually, the bottle abused is a tyrant! It’s an example of pursuing something that entices you but brings you to despair, as Bob Dylan sang about the youth who left their comfortable homes in search of something better. The grass was no only not greener – it was brown!

People who engage in destructive behavior such as drunkenness can lose their jobs, their houses, family and other relations with people. They are so enamored with the bottle that it become more important than anything else.

As a result of his heavy drinking, Dr. Robert Smith, aka Dr. Bob, one of the Alcoholics Anonymous founders, almost didn’t finish medical school and put his business and family life jeopardy. But with God’s help and through AA programs, after staying with the program, Dr. Bob was able to put this destructive behavior at bay. The 12 Step program grew out of Alcoholics Anonymous, which continues to be a successful program.

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. …” – Proverbs 23:39-35

Put On The New!

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? A particular to which this question applies is the case of T-Rex, who just waved his preliminary hearing to simple assault and harassment. T-Rex is not really a dinosaur, but a fictional name to protect the innocence of a man whose been in the Bucks County, PA jail since a little before Thanksgiving.

Today he waved his preliminary hearing and will be formally arraigned in a month. At the district court today, the victim told a court officer that he’d like the perpetrator, who has a problem with alcohol, to get into an inpatient alcohol rehab program in lieu of a fine or other punishment.

The idea is to resolve the problem of the man habitually coming to community meals for the homeless and needy drunk and verbally and in the latest case that got him jailed, physically assaulting others. It would be a waste of a man’s life to go through a revolving door between jail and freedom. Although the guy is homeless, he has worked while homeless at various jobs. T-Rex has some good warehouse skills, such as a certain forklift license. Also, unlike some people in the homeless and needy community, he is not a user who mooches from others.

Now that T-Rex has had a time out, confined to jail, he’s had time to think about what he did, and, realizing there are consequences for his actions, he may realize the seriousness of his situation. As a host at one of the churches where T-Rex raised a ruckus said, he’ll have the opportunity to think about his sin.

People can change and overcome problems, with help, if they really want to. Putting people away and throwing away the key is not the answer. At least not before giving them the opportunity to get straight.

In my circle of friends and acquaintances in lower Bucks County, I’ve found some people with substance abuse problems who have overcome the problem and are almost like new!

The first step, like that security monitor on the ad where some thugs just broke into a bank and just reports it, is to acknowledge you have a problem. And that you need help.

Drug and alcohol abuse is not a disease but a character flaw, and to overcome substance abuse problems you must first recognize that fact. The root of this is sin.

I know people who have successfully completed a 12 step program. The program is a good framework to plug in the right stuff. One such program with the right stuff, which uses the steps, is Celebrate Recovery:

Historically, Alcoholics Anonymous has been very successful in helping people overcome their problem with alcohol. Today, programs, such as Celebrate Recovery, combines all substance abuse problems with healing other hurts, bad habits and hang ups, as they all have a common root.

It’s a new year. I don’t like clichés like “New Year’s Resolutions”, but it is a new year and time “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”   -Ephesians 4:22-24

A Change is Gonna Come

Although a private charity organized and got funds for the project, most of the funds to convert the Santa Rosa Motel to homeless housing came from federal and state housing money and from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a noble project, but taxpayer funds eventually run dry.

In my research about the causes of homelessness, I found that some sources say it is the lack of public funding. This is not the root of the problem.

People are homeless for various reasons, such as substance abuse and other issues that take them out of the job market. Another problem is the economy.

The economy seemed to be the biggest contributor to homelessness when it became rampant in the late 20’s, when Herbert Hoover was president, and during President FDR’s New Raw Deal. Because of progressive policies, where we were about as close to socialism (which we were progressing to) as our country ever was, a lot of people were out of work. Those who did work, had trouble making ends meet with the government confiscating much of their paychecks and because the government interfered with the marketplace, making things more expensive.

A free market solution to energy is the sine qua non to a robust economy. Plentiful, low cost energy reduces energy costs and takes less money out of people’s pockets. The Marcellus gas pipeline, for example, will accomplish this.

There are a lot of homeless in Bucks County, PA.  Although the Bimbo of Bucks County, aka PA State Representative Tina Davis touted how much she has helped the homeless, and said she’ll continue to do so, she praised PA Governor Big Bad Wolf for signing an executive order to ban drilling on state lands. The bimbo admitted that, as former governor Tom Corbett argued, this drilling would help the economy and would raise $75 million to balance the budget. Yet, she cavalierly said that “protecting the environment” trumps this.

This kind of wonton behavior by out of touch elites fosters homelessness. By kowtowing to the pseudo environmentalist special interests, these progressives show callous disregard for the citizenry. When they campaign, Wolf and Davis may as well go door to door and hand out pink slips and eviction notices, as the Big Bad Wolf is in the business of blowing houses down.

As Ray Charles sang, “a change is gonna come.” Changes to this country are in the works. The former Witch of the West Wing won’t continue her war on coal and other viable energy sources in favor of the so-called alternate, unworkable energy initiatives. The Witch, the Bimbo and the Wolf are all sh**birds of a feather. Like FDR’s New Raw Deal, they harm the average person.

Substance abuse and other personal problems also contribute to the homeless problem. For these problems there is also a free market solution.

Between 1920 and 1933, the government established prohibition, banning booze for everyone. Then, instead of forcing abstinence on everyone because ten percent of the population had a drinking problem, a voluntary, free market, Christian solution to help drunks overcome their problem was used. The Oxford Group, modeled after 1st century Christianity, was established in 1921. Later, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Today there are programs on the market to help people overcome substance abuse and other human failings, such as Celebrate Recovery, which applies Biblical principles to the 12 Steps Program.

The economy, the environment, and our morals all work together. A healthy economy, driven by good stewardship of the environment, and a country’s good morals work together for good. Dysfunctional people, such as substance abusers, can’t be responsible on a job or run a business responsibly.  AA co-founder Bill Wilson ruined a promising career on Wall Street because of his chronic drunkenness. In the 50’s, when my grand uncle ran a wholesale toy company, there were ethics, honor. When you made a business deal, a man’s handshake was his bond. No need for lawyers and long, expensive litigation or even negotiations.

Finding shelter for Bucks County’s homeless is stifled by hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless. Because of some problem people, which you’ll find today in any population, even private efforts to create shelter for the homeless is stonewalled by the judgmental establishment. Like the progressives in the early part of the 20th century, Bucks County won’t facilitate shelter for the homeless. Even the so-called emergency shelter in Levittown has a waiting list, thanks to the revolving door of druggies from nearby recovery houses and drunks and druggies who are return customers to the flop house.

Now that we’re throwing the bums out of public office, which is a positive reflection of our culture, we can start winning the war on poverty, substance abuse and other dysfunctions, and find a solution for homelessness.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

-2nd 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.

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.”

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.

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

A Firm Foundation

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” -Psalm 40:2

A broken dipstick was pulled out of a car engine. It took some drilling, but the auto shop was able to pull it out.

I was a broken dipstick, and God pulled me out of the pit, as he did King David.

Except for physical problems, where medicine is needed for a cure, drugs are not the answer to people’s problems. The pop 60s song In The Year 2525 is prophetic. Starting at the year 2525, the lyrics go through a crescendo of years, culminating in the year 9525.

What’s going to happen in the year 3535 has modern psychology down pat.

In the year 3535
Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lie
Everything you think, do and say
Is in the pill you took today

A problem with thinking today is the idea that a problem, such as alcohol abuse, is not the fault of the abuser. It is treated as a disease and to remedy the problem you just need the right chemical brew to get into the pink.

The Bible commands Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit…

Drunkenness is a sin, as is overeating, drug abuse, sexual perversion, etc. I’ve been brought up to believe that smoking is not a sin per se, but lately I started rethinking this – that smoking is a sin, period.

There are many things that we can help.

On, psychology’s view of guilt and moral responsibility is satirized in a folk song by Anna Russell:

I went to my psychiatrist to be psychoanalyzed

To find out why I killed the cat and blacked my husband’s eyes.

He laid me on a downy couch to see what he could find,

And here is what he dredged up from my subconscious mind:

When I was one, my mommie hid my dolly in a trunk,

And so it follows naturally that I am always drunk.

When I was two, I saw my father kiss the maid one day,

And that is why I suffer now from kleptomania.

At three, I had the feeling of ambivalence toward my brothers,

And so it follows naturally I poison all my lovers.

But I am happy; now I’ve learned the lesson this has taught;

That everything I do that’s wrong is someone else’s fault.

– Via Adams, p. 8

In an article about Alcoholics Anonymous, Wayne Jackson says the concept “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” is ludicrous. I agree.

What’s termed “alcoholism” is really habitual, besetting sin. Being constantly drunk, high, overeating, or continuing in other sins is wrong, a sin against God, which often negatively affect other people.

In my associations here in Bucks County, PA, I know many people stuck in the rut of getting drunk or high, stopping the sin for a time but falling right back into the rut.

When my grandmother learned about her neighbor’s husband’s problem with alcohol, she remarked “take him to the Lord”. That’s necessary and is just a first step. Salvation, once one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, is immediate. But life here on earth is a journey, with traps that we, with our sinful nature, fall into, as illustrated in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Like the drunks and druggies (and gluttons) I know, I started walking the right path, but then lost my way. The last time I stepped off the King’s Highway, I really got into a mess. I fell into deep depression and had such anxiety that my heart pounded when I was trying to sleep that I almost called 911. I felt isolated.

We all come back in our own time, God’s time. A problem with modern psychology is that it is treated as a science. Human behavior is not like a kid’s science project, where you make a mountain of paper mache with a hole in it, dump in baking soda, add red dye and vinegar and you create a volcano.

During one period when I strayed from the King’s Highway, a woman at college from Campus Crusade for Christ witnessed to me. After having talked with her a few times, she got flustered. “Why don’t you believe?! Haven’t we rapped enough?!”  Well, it’s not up to her. She assumed that, like the volcano science project, if she used the right formula, she would create a predicted result.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to cure the madness that has beset the best minds of my generation, but it doesn’t work that way. Neither would bringing The Reverend Ernest Angley, the faith healer, where he’d just say “I see your condition in my vision” work to instantly stop the insanity.

People beset with problems do come around. I finally did. Others in my circles in Bucks County have.

This doesn’t mean that you are never tempted. The trick is that when you are tempted, with God’s help, you overcome sin. The apostle Paul wrote that sin should not dominate in your life.

Salvation is immediate. Sanctification, where God molds you into conformity of what he wants you to be, is a lifelong process.

Romans 12:1, 2:  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

She Thinks She’s a Tree!

“Hey buddy! You have to help me. It’s my wife. She thinks she’s a tree!”, said a man who knocked on the door on the Soupy Sales show. “Then why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”, Soupy replied.

“Come on dear,” said the frantic man as he pulled a tree past Soupy’s door.

I joke, but there is a serious problem in our country today with substance abuse and other problems, particularly in Bucks County, PA.

Because the church hasn’t been effectively helping people with problems, and out of desperation, people have been turning to secular psychology and psychiatry. Although churches are starting to offer Biblical solutions to problems, it is still ingrained in us that we need “professionals” to handle big problems.

There is a problem with much of modern psychology and you may as well be the woman who thinks she’s a tree who is just dragged away, as chances are you won’t get the help you need.

This is what I found, as did others with mental health clinics associated with the Bucks County health industry. A couple years ago, I lost my job, my dog, my house and had other problems and I psychologically went on a downward spiral, through a virtual black hole. Some of the problems were a result of my own doing. Nonetheless, although the Salvation Army helped me get on the right track, people there palmed me off to Penndel Mental Health, where I was given Paxil, which made me worse. The cognitive behavior therapy gave me a methodology to work things out, but it wasn’t the cure.

I just heard “The Addiction Network” ad come on again, where a bearded guy with glasses and scrubs makes his spiel and Augustly states “addiction is a disease”, inflecting the word “is”.

On pastor and Christian counselor Jay Adam’s website, the notion of drug abuse, and by extension, mental problems being a disease is addressed:

“Mental Illness

Posted on August 22, 2016 by Donn R Arms

Folks let’s get this straight. The mind is not a physical organ. It cannot have a disease, illness, or injury in anything other than a metaphorical sense such as a sick economy or a sick joke.

Typhoid fever — disease
Spring fever — not a disease
Scarlet fever — disease
Bieber fever — not a disease”

For sure, drug “addiction” has physical symptoms. I know from experience that the dope I got from someone in a lab coat has severe withdrawal symptoms. But my anxiety was caused by my mental attitude, precipitated by my habitual ungodly behavior. I got my anxiety, and depression under control and continue healing as I try to submit myself to God and his ways, fighting my fleshly, sinful nature and get my head right. There is some merit to cognitive behavioral therapy, in that what you think results in subsequent behavior and that it is at least concerned with personal responsibility and decision making.

As one of the characters on Monty Python and The Holy Grail said, “it’s only a model.” You have to fill in the blanks in the flowchart in cognitive behavioral therapy.  After evaluating behaviors/outcomes as a result of thinking, you may want to rethink what you did. The flowchart:


I fill in “thoughts” with the right stuff, God’s Word, or at least basing my thoughts on scripture.

The 12 Steps, which was started by Alcoholics Anonymous, is the right stuff. It is faith based. More than 90 percent of substance abuse treatment centers used AA principles and more than 30 percent of referrals to AA came from various treatment centers in 1949.

I recently saw the movie The Untouchables again, which depicted the corruption and degradation of the so-called progressive period. By 1949, our society started healing from the social ills, and I use “ill” as a metaphor.

I personally know people who are incessantly off and on in their attempts to stop abusing alcohol and other substances. This happened to a guy during the early years of AA. He even was treated for his problem by Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung. About a year after finishing treatment with Dr. Jung, the man went back to the bottle. The Doc’s prescription was “a spiritual conversion with a religious group” as he was considered a nearly hopeless case. And with God’s help, he overcame!

There is hope with God.

Recovery is not instant. In fact, it can take a long time to change bad habits and heal wounds. One bad, sinful problem I’m working on is unforgiveness, harboring resentment against people who grossly wronged me. As the case with any problem, you have to admit you are wrong and allow God to change you. There are people in the homeless and those in need community who, despite concerned, caring people reaching out to them,  continue their bad habits, with is actually besetting sin.

I’ve been trying to help a lung cancer patient who wants to give up and has engaged in irresponsible, destructive behavior. She has, however, made some progress. People who reach out to help people are not responsible for results; just doing the right thing.

The problem with modern psychology/psychiatry is that it tends to treat human behavior like science, the physical world of inanimate objects. This doesn’t work. Contrary to Marxist thought, two different people in the same place and situation don’t always behave the same. This is a materialist view of humans. In fact, I think Marx wrote of “Dialectical Materialism.”

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 5: 15,16

The Beat Goes On

The government continues its war on drugs. The latest: Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick issued a survey to find out what role the government should have in the opioid epidemic. In Bucks County, PA last year, 117 died from overdosing on dope, as reported in

The government’s war on drugs has been as pathetic as the war in Vietnam, with policies as lame as President LBJ’s handling of the Vietnam “war.”

The beat goes on. Drums keep pounding a dysfunctional rhythm to the brain. La Dee La T Dee, La Dee La Dee Dah…

For sure, drug abuse is sad, and people are hurting, but we are going about it fighting the wrong way. They certainly need help.

“This bill acknowledges that drug abuse is a disease, and cannot be solved by arrests alone,” the article reports. I agree the problem cannot be solved by arrests alone, but it is not exactly a disease.

“The disease model of addiction describes an addiction as a disease with biological, neurological, genetic, and environmental sources of origin.[1] The traditional medical model of disease requires only that an abnormal condition be present that causes discomfort, dysfunction, or distress to the individual afflicted. The contemporary medical model attributes addiction, in part, to changes in the brain‘s mesolimbic pathway.[2] The medical model also takes into consideration that such disease may be the result of other biological, psychological or sociological entities despite an incomplete understanding of the mechanisms of these entities.”-Wikipedia

Wikipedia also discusses the problem with calling “addiction” a disease:  “Critics of the disease model, particularly those who subscribe to the life-process model of addiction argue that labeling people as addicts keeps them from developing self-control and stigmatizes them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. A disease, such as bronchitis can be treated with medication and by stopping smoking. It also can be prevented by not inhaling tobacco smoke, dust, or other pollutants.

When I was in the Navy, a guy was being silly and asked me “why do they call it dope?” I told him it was because guys like him did it. He didn’t, but I just wanted to be a wise guy.

Seriously, doing dope is a dumb thing to do. As former first lady Nancy Reagan said “Just say no.” (to drugs).

Mrs. Reagan’s remedy may sound over simplistic, but that’s the bottom line. Certainly, people with a substance abuse problem need understanding and counseling and need to get to the root of the problem. But when you start with the premise “addiction is a disease”, as that dink in blue scrubs and stethoscope who comes on the TV to hawk a drug abuse treatment center Augustly states, by calling the problem a disease, you are absolving the person with a substance problem of responsibility.

We all do dumb things, myself included. But you have to deal with problems the right way.

The 12 Steps Program which is used in programs for people with problems, works! The first step is to admit that you have a problem, which is a result of a character flaw, and that you need a higher power to better manage your life. That higher power is God.

The 12 Steps Program grew out of Alcoholics Anonymous. Back in 1949, more than 90 percent of alcohol rehabilitation treatment centers used the principles of the 12 Steps Program. More than 30 percent of AA’s referrals came from these centers.

A business executive back in 1931 was treated by psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year. He stopped abusing alcohol, but soon after he finished treatment with Dr. Jung, he went back on the bottle.  When the executive returned to the doc for treatment, Dr. Jung said he could not help him and that his problem was hopeless, except, he may find hope by experiencing a spiritual conversion with a religious group. This what the 12 Steps Program is.

I’m a great believer in the 12 Steps Program. It’s helped me deal with problems other than substance abuse. It’s not instant, like the faith healing of Reverend Ernest “I’ve got your condition in my vision”  Angley.

It takes time to heal, but, if you submit yourself to the program and God, doing things His way, you will be delivered from the slavery of sin.

“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” – Romans 6:18

The Right Stuff

In 1949, after a group of recovering drunks and Alcoholics Anonymous  members founded Hazelden Farm, a Minneapolis refuge and treatment center, 93 percent of alcohol treatment centers used  AA concepts in their treatments. Also, AA got 31 percent of its membership from treatment centers.

What does that tell us?

It tells us that Alcoholics Anonymous has the right stuff. Or at least it is on the right track.

Today in Bucks County, PA, there are reports of pleas to have the government pass bills to fight the drug abuse epidemic. For example, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015.  As reported in, The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will:

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts — particularly aimed at teenagers, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations — to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery;
  • Expand the availability of Naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives;
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment;
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents;
  • Launch an evidence-based opioids and heroin treatment and intervention program to assist in treatment and recovery throughout the country;
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.

Although this act has some good ideas, the key is to get at the root of the problem. Back in the early part of the 20th century, our government’s plan to control alcohol abuse was prohibition – to just keep the booze out of people’s hands. But prohibition ended, and there was a new strategy: Instead of taking away alcohol from everyone because 10 percent of the population had a problem with it, work on changing people from the inside, bringing God into the equation.

Enter Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps Program.

Tonight, at a community meal for the homeless and those in need in Bucks County, I had a conversation with a friend who had had a problem with substance abuse and went through a 12 steps program. It worked for him, and he has put his substance abuse problem on the ash heap of history, or at least keeps the problem at bay.

“Addictions” are a matter of selfishness, the friend said. Humility needs to learned in order to work well with others and to overcome substance abuse, he added. Abusing drugs and alcohol is a case where one seeks self gratification.

The first step to getting clean is to admit that we are powerless over the sin of addiction that has taken hold of us and that only through a higher power, God, can we overcome.

No matter what the problem – alcohol, drugs, anxiety, depression, anger… – there is a root cause common to all.

Drug Overdose Deaths In PA Increase 14-Fold In Last 35 Years, reads the headlines in an article dated March 16, 2016 in   All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men Still hasn’t put Susie and Johnny Druggie back together again. All the workshops, all the educational drug turn in programs, all the law enforcement…

The inordinate number of recovery houses in lower bucks County is not resolving the drug problem, Instead, it’s creating problems. More crime in the community, overcrowding at the shelter and, as the druggies leave or are thrown out of the houses, they join the ranks of the homeless, in many cases causing more public disdain for other homeless people who became homeless for a different reason.

By 1949, we made great progress on alcohol abuse and had put the evils the progressivism of President Herbert Hoover (and the congress) and President FDR’s New Raw Deal behind us and moved on to a less dysfunctional, more better (to use a Cajun phrase) society. People changed from the inside by attending Bible believing churches, reading the Bible for themselves as well as Christian authors such as C.S. Lewis and taking responsibility for their actions.

By 1969, we regressed, becoming once again a dysfunctional society, where people wallowed in narcissism, selfishness and exhibited other negative character traits. Author Tom Wolfe coined the phrase “Me Decade” to describe the 70’s.

We lost our moral compass at Woodstock, where rich spoiled brats became Noble Savages. The dysfunctionality soon became mainstream. We recently had a reenactment of this at Rio De Janeiro, where members of the swim team vandalized a gas station and lied about being robbed at gunpoint.

But we can get our moral compass back. Today’s drug epidemic is not the cause of our problems but just a symptom.

I’ve noticed churches in Bucks County stepping up to the plate and holding substance abuse programs. And Bible believing churches are spreading the Word. Christian posts and links and commentary are inundating Facebook.

To quote Eric Burdon and the Animals, “We’ve got to get out of this place. If it’s the last thing we ever do. We’ve got to get out of this place” to build a better life for me and you.

“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.”  -2nd Chronicles 7:14

Who’ll Stop The Insane?

“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

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. “

.-Proverbs 26:11

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

-Hebrews 4:15.