According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 in 10 young adults has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, and 1 in 7 is addicted to alcohol or some other drug. In a recent Kaiser Foundation survey, two-thirds of American young people said they had someone in their family who suffered from addiction. These numbers are expected to jump dramatically since the pandemic’s seismic disruption on our lives.
The fact that addiction has become the number one cultural problem in the United States should not be news to anyone who has to deal with people suffering and their families. Physicians, teachers, and especially pastors are being bombarded with addiction problems so frequently that recovery ministries are becoming a rapidly developing need in nearly every church in the country. Across all demographics, addiction to chemicals and compulsive behaviors is applying tremendous pressure to families in our communities and in our churches.
A great deal of attention is paid to the process of recovery from addiction, and indeed, no family can heal while this active addict is bringing chaos into an already stressed time. There is no reason why we can’t help those suffering without lending support to their families; it is short-sighted. Spouses, siblings, parents… for every person suffering in addiction, there are many more suffering because of the addiction.
One exemplary organization helping this effort is PALS, or Parents of Addicted Loved Ones. While speaking at their recent national conference in Phoenix, I was blessed to share the stage and some behind-the-scenes face time with legendary Christian writer Dr. Kevin Lehman. He is the author of over 50 bestsellers, including “Have a New Kid by Friday” and “The Birth Order Book.” His message to the audience was that when we focus our attention on BOTH the person suffering with addiction and the family, we have a much greater likelihood of lasting sobriety.
Treating the individual and releasing them into a dysfunctional support situation is a recipe for failure. By paying attention to the wreckage left in the wake of addictive behavior, we can hope to bring the entire family unit back to health. Despite what modern culture says, the family (in all its various forms) is still God’s plan for our lives. In addition to promoting Dunamis groups to bring addiction to the feet of Jesus, making room for PALS groups or developing a support group for spouses of addicts is an essential piece of the healing puzzle.
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:15
Learning a new perspective and adopting a less toxic or angry view of the person with an addiction is our best bet for a long-term life in God’s plan for our lives.
Dr. Lehman says it best: “Everything is more effective when it’s done in love rather than in anger. Love is really a decision.”
The statistics on drug and substance disorder are staggering. We've put together this FREE downloadable resource for your church to use to better understand what is happening in today's world.
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