“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:
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