Category Archives: life controlling problems

Whole Solution for the Whole Community


We are a faith-based organization for at-risk young adults. We are committed to helping families in crisis with troubled loved-ones through a referral network of Christian ministries that provide diverse services complimenting each other for the purpose of healing and restoring broken families. We also provide immediate support and crisis counseling at the moment of the call. We help process the individual through the crisis they are involved to a place of personal responsibility and the depth of a rational mind change.

Oftentimes people in crisis can be defiant, have numerous overlapping life controlling problems, because of frustration are unmotivated, involved in immoral lifestyles, including promiscuity, drug abuse, alcohol and other facets of outright rebellion that are directly connected to idolatry. The underlying root cause of sin (to choose to turn off the mark) is idolatry (1 Cor. 10:1-14). Idolatry can be defined as: When we hold in high esteem, regard, honor the created and not the creator God. We begin to ask the questions that take the individual from a place of irrational thoughts about themselves to a ration thought process that causes them to be convinced about their state and want a change. We get enslaved to what we love more than God. How do we define our individual idolatry? What are we giving our allegiances, value, time, energy, money, life to? It is also important for us to consider that also Good created things we can give ourselves over to, for these things we love. Things such as family, employment, our pastors, and numerous other good things can enslave us, people could gladly choose Good things to enslave themselves. Good things do not mean that they cannot become out little gods.

It is important for us to find out what enslaves us so we can define what the underlying root cause of the surface problems that is evident in our life. Answer these questions and they will lead to what enslaves you?

· What are your greatest fears?

· What do you care about most?

· What are you passionate about?

· What motivates you every day?

· Where do you run for comfort?

· What do you complain about?

· What makes you the extremely angry?

· What makes you the most happiest?

· How do you explain yourselves to people or introduce yourself to people?

· What are you mad at God about?

· What are you mad at your selves about?

· What do you Brag about?

· What do you sacrifice to with your money, time, and energy the most to?

· What are our greatest hopes and desires?

· What are you waiting for?

The combined services and collaborative efforts of our network of ministries help to begin to address the needs of the whole person by providing a whole solution through spiritual nurturing re-pattern of the mind, emotional health and social enrichment. We are convinced that this is the solution to strengthening families and communities throughout America. The inner Transformation is because of the working of Grace, which does not demand nor modify a behavior changes with only unreliable temporary irrational solutions. Inner transformation is an inner process of integration in our mind to pattern our thoughts with God’s mind which causes transfiguration by joining the human and the divine through revelation of absolute truth internally. Behavior modification is the process of forcing external change of self-defeating behavior. To cause change only on the external is only to provide Band-aid solutions for an individual’s surface problems from the outer. This external behavior modification comes from secular reasoning and humanistic counseling in the form of behaviorism that is prevalent in recovery models. It will work in the short term to cause a ceasing of external surface self-defeating and life controlling problems. Behavior modification is only impermanent because the source is temporal and methods are not focused on changing the mind rationally. The underlying primary root cause of the self-defeating and life controlling problems are not defined as irrational thought patterns and habits therefore the idea of personal responsibility is never considered because of the diseasing of behavior.


The Grace of God ( Who God is and What God has performed) teaches us the rational expression of God which internally convinces us in our mind, deals with the underlying root issues that caused the surface self-defeating behaviors by internal re-patterning of the mind. The battlefield in our mind needs to change from patterns or habits learned from outer and external stimulation from our past experiences, billions of projections per second from the world system, and from our adversary the devil who goal is to enslave out thought patterns. God, the Holy Spirit works through our human spirit to re-patterns our mind by God’s amazing abundant Grace as the source that reliably reconstructs our mind from the irrational to the rational from the inside. The transfigured mind will cause a metamorphosis, transfigures our free will(Volition), rebuilds our value system in our conscience, and restructures our reacting emotions to responding from new Christ mind. The new Birth of our mind occurs at the moment we begin our relationship with Christ. New Birth birth plants the person, the Holy Spirit whose primary role in our life is to convince (convict) us. Our newness is the new birth given to those who choose life of Grace. Grace does the work and patterns our mind actively inside of us because everything about God’s Grace is constant, reliable, authentic, dependable, unbroken, unceasing, devoted, and therefore eternally continual. This symphony of Grace has that refer frequently and usually initially only to our personal salvation. It is defined as the favor

of God meaning that we did not deserve and could not ever earn the non-meritorious Gift of God. The frequent missing of the daily life giving constancy of grace, to realize all of who God is, performed and continues to reveal himself as the source in His character and nature in our daily life.

The results of this network of ministries are proving to be a solution to strengthen people, families, and their communities throughout America and overseas. After 15 years and over 11,000 hours of working with troubled young adults and families, we have discovered that the common thread woven through the diverse fabric of our nation’s people is the lack of purpose and identity.  There are many people of all ages, from the inner cities to suburbia, who are wandering aimlessly in search of the answer to the same question man has asked for thousands of years, "Who am I, and why am I here?"  Unfortunately, drugs, gangs and other negative influences are competing heavily for the hearts and minds of America, with a heavy impact on young adults everywhere.  The availability of such overwhelming negative influences in every sector of our society is a deadly mix for everyone.  Our non-profit is on the forefront of working with such difficulties, and has united and brought leadership to a unique network of Christian organizations, bringing real solutions for young adults and families! 



Our vision is to reach multitudes of young adults and their families, and to produce a remnant of people that will glorify Jesus in and through their lives. We want to assure that these young adults to become a blessing to their local Churches as well as their communities. This is vital because the church is suffering from the eventual extinction with 86 percent of young adults leaving the church by their 18th birthday and never returning. This generation is in utter crisis becoming more and more post-Christian in their world-views. Our society needs to be build upon the young adults who are the future of our society. The unreached and un-churched young adults are reachable through non-judgmental, relevant non-traditional contemporary methods which are authentic and real without the appearance of hypocrisy.

From among these young adults that we have reached, God will separate some for the work of the ministry. Our society is no longer producing morally healthy young adults on a large scale; it is also our goal to establish a community of strong families, which are hopefully the partial purpose of local churches. Eventually, neighboring Churches will catch on until the whole city is filled with strong living organisms of believers, thus creating a strong city. Strong clusters of cities won to Christ will inevitably restore a strong and mighty nation under GOD, which in turn can impact the whole world.

Our vision is to reach multitudes of young adults and their families, and to produce a remnant of people that will glorify Jesus in and through their lives by God’s Grace. The living remnant cannot occur by self focused and behavior modification which secular traditional treatment of life controlling problems has predominately focused on in recovery programs. This will provide assurance to themselves and many others that Christianity is not a bunch of rules and behaviors. The personal life of Grace in their lives can and will build depth of capacity. Living epistle’s will emerge and display God’s masterpiece to encourage each other and attract those still in the world surrounding them.  It is the duty of every person to be a servant of Christ, and a spiritual leader to the lost and dying generation. It is a challenge to become less self-serving and self-sacrificial. This is God’s eternal purpose is to establish a family in light of the fact that it will serve as a catapult to produce a godly seed. Through the perfection of succeeding generations, we will one day become that glorious church without spot or wrinkle for which Jesus will return. This occurs only by the working of Grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness and this present temporal world values.

This is our eternal dream. We understand that this is definitely not a quick fix solution to the problems of this generation. On the contrary, this process is one of much time, great cost, sacrificial commitment and a life time of dedication. Although the task may seem too big to tackle, we are convinced that it is our most noble duty to do that which is right in the eyes of Almighty God. He alone can take our small sacrifices and efforts to magnify them to the magnitude of a worldwide revival. It is our hope that in our life time we can see this dream come to pass. If for some reason we don’t, we together at the least will sow a sure seed for the salvation of future generations. Nevertheless, whether in our lifetime or in the lifetime of our successors, we are convinced that this dream will come to pass.



· Addiction Recovery & Treatment
Biblical Counseling and spiritual treatment for those battling life controlling and self-defeating behaviors of any kind

· Crisis Intervention
Serving those who are facing a crisis situation and need immediate help

· Family Counseling & Restoration
Individual and Family Biblical Counseling

· Friendship, Dating & Marriage Education
Healing from past relationships and preparation for future challenges

· Parent Coaching & Workshops
Valuable resources to families with children of all ages

· Recreation & Fitness Programs
Achieving or maintaining physical health with encouraging role-models

· Social Maturity & Emotional Health
Building healthy relationships through planting high impact churches across America to reach this generation in crisis.



Our mission is to reach our nation for God while restoring godliness and morality in America. We work alongside and in cooperation with networked churches, agencie

s and community based organizations in orders to provide specialized services to those in self-defeating crisis and others who have life controlling problems trapped in idolatry. Teaching personal responsibility and teaching the rational whole counsel of God’s Grace.

Our goals and efforts are fueled by the desire to strengthen families and communities by providing healing to emotionally disturbed and behaviorally defiant young adults; who find themselves trapped in the web of drugs, alcohol, fornication, violence, and rebellion. These life controlling or self damaging behaviors are simply a set of complex surface problems that have slowly formed in response to unresolved and underlying deep seated issues in their mind. The lack of internal mental harmony results in irrational actions on the surface. They emerge from lack of control of emotions and therefore the free volition is compromised by corrupted value systems and integrity. We look at everyone as an individual because God has made us with wonderful uniqueness and are completely beautiful in His divine design. We must encourage this uniqueness and make religious cultural demands to have them conform to what we believe is a reflection of Christ. No one is the same and can be helped by the same strategies over and over. Our observation is that this is why most young adults have revealed in numerous statistically proven studies to have honest desires to never return to church or traditional Christianity. A very small percentage does return later in lives which are usually second or third generation believers.

This mass exodus with over 9 million young adults is growing by the hour and young adults are one of the largest Christian un-reached group in America today. These unreached young adults will not go to church before the reach 18. This generation is becoming extinct and lost more than any other generation in the church today.
We are convinced that these problems in our society root back to the sinful nature and the compromising of Christian values in this present post-Christian world system. We believe that a sure solution can be found in and only when God, family, and church join in a collaborative effort with singleness of purpose to bring about healing and the restoration of authority in the lives of troubled young adults. Young Adult Crisis Hotline is committed to spiritual nurturing the whole person. We also provide seminars and training methods to develop relevant young adult ministries in local church and in Christian community centers at no cost.

Our Ministry

Young Adult Crisis Hotline is a faith-based, nonprofit organization for families in crisis. We offer help through an established network of ministries. Oftentimes those we help defiant unmotivated young adults that are involved in immoral lifestyles.

The Young Adult Crisis Hotline provides an accepting non-judgmental place to call in the midst of crisis caused by these self-defeating and life controlling behaviors:

Anxiety, Depression, Abuse, Addiction, Relational Issues, Family Abuse Or Assault, Addictions, Aggression, Anger, Anxiety & Panic, Attention Deficit Disorder, Behavioral Problems, Depression, Eating Disorders, Emotional Problems Gender Identity Issues, Grief, Loss, Inner Conflict, Learning Disorders, Life Issues, Life Transitions, Medical Problems, Suicidal, Active Military & Veteran Issues, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Self-Esteem Problems, Sexual Issues, Stress, Women’s Issues, Gang Intervention, Gambling And Other Life Controlling Problems And Issues That Lead To Crisis.

With our family discipleship and our biblical counseling ministry we believe in including family members so that they are integrated in the process of biblical education and equipping. This is vital to the progress of patterning that they can model after and build upon the disciplines taught in the Word of God. This is accomplished through Bible based counseling that helps to have a rational integrated mind of Christ. Biblical Coaching and Counseling can be arranged via phone-conference, in-person or at the family’s residence. Organized parent workshops allow interaction between families who face similar situations. Participants are able to encourage one another as they walk through the healing and recovery process of their loved ones.
All of these different services combined address the needs of the whole person by providing spiritual nurturing, recreation, vocational training, academic achievement, health and social development all in one program. We, at the Young Adult Crisis Hotline and Biblical Counseling Center, are convinced that this is the solution to strengthening families and communities throughout America.

Young Adult Biblical Counseling Center offers families a therapeutic rational spiritual treatment plan. Rather than subjecting our students to the limitations of behavior management models which primarily have an effect on the outward man, the focus is on spiritual renewal resulting in inner-transformation through a personal relationship with the integrated mind of Jesus Christ.

In His Grace Forever,

Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP

Young Adult Crisis Hotline and

Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD



The Bending Process :Examination

In the process of counseling as pastoral counselors are instruments to bring specific categories doctrine in helping people examine their heart in light of the Word of God. We help them in their process of bending toward God’s mind instead of their own mind. This process of bending takes time and care. We are to present them unto God in the process of their personal decisions toward the truth. We help individuals realize that absolute truth is the way to begin to think rationally and with sober thoughts. To think with sober thoughts in John 8:32 brings great freedom. Acting on truth releases the power of freedom into your life and circumstances. The turned and changed mind will be a spiritual awakening and source for strength.

The path of surrender and freedom depends upon how we assist them to look at themselves. This is defined as living the life of Faith which is to begin the journey of a yielded life. This process unfortunately is often clouded with worldly introspection and toxic guilt. The reason introspection causes guilt and not a genuine repentance is because it uses the cognition.

Cognition Definition:

The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.Those processes involved in the gathering, organization, and use of knowledge.Reasoning by direct retrieval involves retrieving a known fact from memory to solve a problem. Reasoning involves constructing or retrieving images from conceptual memory and examining or manipulating them to solve a problem.
The internal structures and processes that are involved in the acquisition and use of knowledge, including sensation, perception, attention, learning, memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Cognitive scientists propose and test theories about the functional components of cognition based on observations of an organism’s external behavior in specific situations.
Cognition throughout life can be broadly described as an interaction between knowledge-driven processes and sensory processes; and between controlled processes and automatic processes. Over time, there is a trade-off between the amount of surface information that is retained in the internal representation of objects or events (bottom-up processing) and the amount of meaning that is incorporated (top-down processing).
The process of cognition which the mind acts and states. This reflection depends upon self-consciousness instead of God-consciousness. A reflective looking inward is the spy of self that looks to condemn instead of building and bending toward the will and Rational expression of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

When we examine ourselves, we try to test the quality of our hearts with the Word of Grace, not the word of self-condemnation. The Word of Grace develops God’s character in which God’s nature rationally through the Word of God helps our mind to prove and ascertained the quality of one’s own state. This also through Grace internally changes us from within which then changes our conduct. This process has to start with our motives which is developed first in the Battleground of our Mind. Motives particularly cause action concerning our feelings. The reflective examination reveals with the mirror of living water the true state of our spirit, soul, and body. The process of examination does not produce toxic guilt or shame because it is God centered and not self-oriented. The examination produces the consciousness of who God is and what he has done not who we are and what we have done.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD


REV. C. H. Spurgeon is these excerpts below from the New Park Street pulpit sermon # 218

“Stand not only on the mountains of your public character, but go into the deep valleys of your private life. Be not content to sail on the broad river of your outward actions, but go follow back the narrow nil till you discover your secret motive.Look not only at your performance, which is but the product of the soil, but dig into your heart and examine the vital principle. “Examine yourselves.”

Examine: that is a scholastic idea questions him, to see whether he has made any progress,—whether he knows anything. Christian, catechize your heart; question it, to see whether it has been growing in grace; question it, to see if it knows anything of vital godliness or not.

A military idea. “Examine yourselves,” or renew yourselves. Go through the rank and file of your actions, and examine all your motives. Just as the captain on review-day is not content with merely surveying the men from a distance, but must look at all their accoutrements, so do you look well to yourselves; examine yourselves with the most scrupulous care.
And once again, this is a legal idea. “Examine yourselves.” You have seen the witness in the box, when the lawyer has been examining him, or, as we have it, cross-examining him. Now, mark: never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own heart, and as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person—one that hath bye-ends to serve, you set traps for him to try and find him out in a lie, so do with your own heart. Question it backward and forward, this way and that way; for if there be a loophole for escape, if there he any pretence for self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart will be ready enough to avail itself of it.
And yet once more: this is a traveler’s idea. I find in the original, it has this meaning: “Go right through yourselves.”

Forgiveness: By Grace “Changes our Mind”

If we are to enter God’s rest by experiencing the fullness of Christ’s resurrection power in our lives, we will need to consider whether there are still judgments against others dwelling in our hearts. Obviously, when we received our salvation, we were not required by God, to list, individually, every person who had ever hurt or offended us and then repent of our anger, resentment and bitter root judgments toward each person (Heb. 12:15). But, if we are to mature in Christ through His grace as we continue on in our Christian walk, we must be willing to release these people from our judgments (Matt. 6:12-15).

      We were justified by the sacrifice Christ made on the cross on our behalf so that, through salvation, we might enjoy the fullness of the benefits of sonship with him. These benefits were made available to us through our repentance and God’s forgiveness of our sins. Yet, scripture clearly indicates that if we are to continue as recipients of God’s good favor, we must resolutely adopt an ongoing attitude of forgiveness toward others (Matt. 7:1-2; Luke 17:3-4). Most Christians understand the importance of this basic principle. It is a staple of Christian teaching.

    But there is another, very important aspect of forgiveness that is often overlooked – Our personal repentance for the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have developed in our lives in reaction to the original offenses against us.

How Reactive Judgments can Keep Us in Bondage

    Much of how we think, feel, and act today is derived from our past reactions to both the positive and negative influences in our lives.  Inevitably, ungodly behaviors develop from some of these reactions. For example, if we suffer rejection and hurt, we may form a negative judgment about the one that has rejected us. To hurt feels like weakness; to hate feels like strength. So, in our attempt to alleviate the pain we feel from rejection, instead of reacting with forgiveness, we begin to develop critical, judgmental thinking toward others  (Heb. 12:15; Gen. 4:5-8). From this position of blaming, we often come to believe that we must develop and rely on protective mechanisms of behavior in order to “survive” emotionally. For example, we may become shy and withdrawn, or perhaps bold, manipulative and aggressive.

    Whenever we do not choose the option of forgiveness toward those who have offended us, we are fostering the development of self-reliant attitudes deep within the heart. Rejecting the avenue of forgiveness, we learn to rely on our own efforts to overcome the personal offenses we experience and become well-practiced at trying to maintain control in our personal relationships in order to feel emotionally safe.

    Sometimes, in trying to achieve this control, we develop an acute sensitivity regarding what we perceive to be the thoughts or feelings of others. We come to rely on these hypersensitive perceptions, as distorted as they may be, in order to circumvent conflict in relationships and avoid the anguish of further rejection.

From an unforgiving heart, we will often pursue an emotional compensation for past rejection, placing unrealistic demands and expectations on others and even on ourselves. Of course, by placing this unattainable burden of performance on the people in our lives and on ourselves, we are actually setting ourselves up for further disappointment and rejection. Truly, what we have sown in past judgments to accommodate the sinful nature, we will reap through unhealthy, destructive patterns of behavior in present day relationships (Gal. 6:7-8).

    Over a period of time, we grow to depend on these behavioral mechanisms and they become a fixed system that we regularly use and trust. It becomes daily, monthly, yearly, increasingly difficult to believe there is a better way (Prov. 14:12). Even if we begin to intellectually understand the reality and complexity of our dysfunction that prevents us from healthy relationship with others, we often find that we cannot, of our own power, free ourselves from the sinful inclinations of our souls. Thankfully, our Father God does not expect us to gain freedom from the multitudinous layers of dysfunction that have developed within our souls, by relying entirely upon our own efforts.

    It is, instead, the recognition of our inability to effectively disengage from the judgmental patterns of the old nature and the protective behavioral mechanisms we have constructed in opposition to healthy intimacy with man and God, which brings the opportunity for real change by the power of God! This change occurs through our belief in and surrender to the process of repentance and sanctification, which are both ongoing works of the Holy Spirit within us (Rom. 2:28-29; 8:1-11; Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23-24).

In the article Overcoming Foundational Root Judgments a working model is given for overcoming the specific root judgments that have formed in our lives and the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that we have developed in reaction to personal offenses from our past. But before we can use the working model effectively, it will be necessary to clear up some of the common confusion surrounding repentance and sanctification.

Grace for Repentance is a Divine Gift that God Wants to Give

    Unfortunately, as a result of our predisposition toward a works-oriented, performance-bound mentality, we often misinterpret what is needed for the process of personal repentance and sanctification to occur. Our tendency is to try to work out our repentance and sanctification by depending primarily on our own efforts and understanding, instead of believing, trusting, and asking God to do this supernatural work within us, according to His understanding (Gal. 3:3-5).

Sometimes, in shame and exasperation, we erroneously believe that God has not freed us from our repetitive sin patterns because we have not felt bad enough about our sin, or we have not tried hard enough by our own efforts to become free (Eph.2:8-9). We often believe that if we could just feel ashamed enough about our sin, God would respond by empowering us to overcome the sin (Rom. 8:1; 10:11).

    But shame cannot purchase grace. Faith is the tool we must use to apprehend the power of God’s grace. Faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross and faith in Jesus’ resurrection power through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to bring freedom to our souls. Ordinarily, we fail to comprehend this truth, because we have “fallen away from grace” through a persistent attitude of worldly self-reliance that has infiltrated our religious beliefs (Gal. 5:1-5).

    We must make every effort possible to avoid the e

ntanglements of sin in our lives, but we must also realize that we can never, solely by the efforts of our fleshly wills, come to full repentance. William Evans, in The Great Doctrines of the Bible states, “Repentance is not something which one can originate within himself, or can pump up within himself as one would pump water out of a well. It is a divine gift. How then is man responsible for not having it? We are called upon to repent in order that we may feel our own inability to do so, and consequently be thrown upon God to perform this work of grace in our hearts.”  
( Italics mine).

Relying on the Holy Spirit

    When we invite God to perform a work of grace unto repentance in our hearts, we will begin to experience a heartfelt sorrow over our sins. We will desire to turn away from the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that we have developed in reaction to personal offenses from our past.

    But the next step on the journey to complete repentance, the one that we most commonly stumble over, is the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, which occurs between our sorrow and our new godly behavior. The Holy Spirit, by the grace available to us through Christ Jesus, has the power to literally separate us from the ways of the old nature, which compelled us toward ungodly behavior in the past. 

       As Evans says: “The Holy Spirit seals, attests, and confirms the work of grace in the soul by producing the fruits of righteousness therein. It is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus who gives us free-dom from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). He is called the Holy Spirit, not only because He is absolutely holy Himself, but also because He produces that quality of soul character in the believer. The Spirit is the executive of the God-head for this very purpose. It is the Spirit’s work to war against the lusts of the flesh and enable us to bring forth fruit unto holiness.”  8  (Italics mine)

    If we do not actively believe in the Holy Spirit to do this work within us, we are missing out on the incredible power of grace that is available to us through our faith relationship with Christ. It is an important part of the foundation of both our salvation and ongoing sanctification. As scripture reveals,
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”
                                                                                         -Heb. 4:16

We Rest in His Finished Work

    When we repent of the sinful attitudes and behaviors that have developed in our lives, Christ’s finished work on the cross is made available to us by the active work of the Holy Spirit within us, in response to our dependence upon Him to do a sanctifying work of inner transformation. This is known as resting in the finished work of Christ. (Heb. 3:16-19; 4:8-11; John 19:30). Rest is rest! Transformation by our own efforts is not transformation at all. It is unbelief – trusting in self more than we trust in God. (See Heb. 4:11, 3:18-19; Isa. 30:1-15).

    The supernatural power for the transformation of our souls is not found in our own efforts and works. It is a work of the Holy Spirit:

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
                                                                                      -2 Cor 3:17,18

The Influence of Our Old Nature Rebels  Against Believing God

    Mankind’s complex performance-bound mentalities derived from the old nature, rebel against the simplicity of grace (Gal. 3:1-5 and 5:1-5). Believing on God to do for us supernaturally, what we cannot do for ourselves, is both humbling and seemingly too simplistic!

    We struggle with the concept of rest, because resting in the finished work of Christ demands an unconditional surrendering of our complex prideful self-determinations, which we have depended on throughout our lifetime.

    But that which we are unwilling to surrender will inevitably lead to a testing of the quality of our works, in which all that we have done through our own self-directed efforts will be burned up:
“his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”
                                                                                             -1 Cor. 3:13-15

God Will Remove the Bitter Roots

    True freedom from the sinful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have developed in our lives is accomplished by asking and believing on God to circumcise our heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, (“…and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code” Rom. 2:29) removing bitter roots (strongholds of judgment toward self and oth-ers) (Heb. 12:15), and severin

g the ungodly weeds (behavior and belief systems) which have grown up from these bitter roots. As God does this sanctifying work in us, we will then be able to experience the life of Christ in those previously dark, unforgiving, unrepentant areas of our heart.

     Apart from this reliance on the power of God we will find ourselves wandering through a spiritual desert, searching for rest, frustrated by our inability to gain freedom from our ungodly behavior patterns.
    When we finally surrender to the truth and invite the Holy Spirit to do this work of grace in our hearts, we will begin to experience the peace and joy, confidence, assurance, and fullness of life, which always result from an act of faith in the finished work of Christ.

Look again at Jesus’ words,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
                                                                                         -Matthew 11:28-30

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD


Family Intervention: Addiction and Life Controlling Issues


An intervention is an orchestrated attempt by one, or often many, people (usually concerned family and friends) and an interventionists to get someone to seek professional help with an addiction or some other life controlling problem.

People sometimes engage in self-destructive behavior, rejecting any assistance others may offer. Intervention, when done correctly, is extremely effective in helping these people accept help.

Long used for substance abuse (alcohol abuse, drug abuse) and addiction (alcoholism, drug addiction), intervention is now also used for compulsive behaviors including gambling, sex addiction, computer addiction, and eating disorders.

The kindest and most loving thing family and friends can do.

Interventions have been used to address serious personal problems, including, but not limited to, alcoholism, compulsive gambling, drug abuse, compulsive eating and other eating disorders, self-mutilation,  "workaholics", and various types of poor personal health care.


Interventions are either direct, typically involving a  face-to-face meeting that has challenge to the alcohol, drug dependent person (the most typical type of intervention), or other self-destructive behaviors.

In the same sense, direct interventions tend to be a form of short-term coaching aimed at getting the addicted person into inpatient rehabilitation.

Plans for direct intervention

Plans for a direct intervention are typically made by a concerned group of family and friends,  rather than by the addict. Often the addict will not agree that they need the type of help that is proposed during the intervention, usually thought by those performing the intervention to be a result of denial.  Typically, the addict is surprised by the intervention by friends and family members.

Prior preparation

Prior to the intervention itself, the family meets with a  interventionist. Families prepare speeches in which they share their negative experiences associated with the target’s particular addiction-based lifestyle, to convey to the target the amount of pain his or her addiction has caused others. Also during the intervention rehearsal meeting, each group member is strongly urged to create a list of activities (by the addict or individual with life controlling problems) that they will no longer tolerate, finance, or participate in if the individual doesn’t agree to check into a rehabilitation center for treatment or get intensified counseling for their specific life controlling problem. These usually involve very serious losses to the individual if s/he refuses.

What the person may lose

These items may be as simple as no longer loaning money to the addict, but can be far more alarming. It is common for groups to threaten the individual with permanent rejection (banishment) from the family until treatment is sought. Wives often threaten to leave their husbands during this phase of the intervention, and vice versa. If the individual happens to have any outstanding arrest warrants or other unresolved criminal issues, the threat is usually made that he or she will be turned in to the authorities.

Family and friends present every possible loss that the family can think of to the individual, who then must decide whether to check into the prescribed rehabilitation center and get the prescribed intensified counseling if this an alternative, or deal with the promised losses.

The process of the intervention will have various stages and these are some that I have noted below. I have also noted my personal experience with interventions as a Christian coach and pastor. The experience is extensive and has an extremely high success record. Therefore, I would like to share with you the process and my personal thoughts  behind the process for intervention. This is not a guide written in stone and is flexible because every person is an individual. My interventions are conducted locally and are usually at no cost for my complete participation.  Usually my travel expense, and other expenses are reimbursed if they are needed to travel more than 50 miles. Donations are usually given to our foundation the Young Adult Crisis Hotline for my time, however this is no a condition and not mandatory.


Critical Crises often offer particularly good windows of opportunity for motivation and intervention. These usually occur in these stages:

  • Pre-contemplation, in which the individual is not considering change.
  • Contemplation, in which the individual is undecided, weighing the pros and cons of change.
  • Determination or preparation, where the balance tips in favor of change and the individual begins considering options.
  • Action, which involves the individual taking specific steps to accomplish change.

During an successfully conducted intervention, with me as  a Christian Counseling and coach the addict or the  individual with life controlling problems does not feel manipulated, forced, directed, coerced, or advised. Direction is typically accomplished through open-ended questions and selective reflection of past and current behavior rather than through more overtly confrontational strategies and advice giving. This is not like other direct confrontational styles that secular interventionists would rather use in an intervention. I like to personally walk, individuals and their families through a series of what are their future goals and how their current behavior hurts the chances of them attaining their future goals. This is where we weigh out the current state and the future. In interventions that I  participate and conduct, I prefer using encouragement and reinforcement to use the individuals own words, desires, plans, and goals to make a sincere commitment to treatment or long-term intensified counseling. 

The interventions are like this  metaphor, the client and counselor are working a jigsaw puzzle together.

Rather than putting the pieces in place while the client watches like most secular interventionists, the counselor helps to construct the frame, then puts pieces on the table for the client to place. The basic conditions of client-centered pastoral counseling and  coaching  provide a strong foundation, with particular emphasis on the strategies of open-ended questions and reflective listening. Such supportive and motivation-building strategies are employed until resistance abates and the client shows indication of being ready to discuss change.

During interventions I might also show agreement with the client’s points of view which shows empathy and personal care. Then I like to re-frame the initial agreement with the goal of motivating the client to a place of reality and rational thought . The goal is still remains encouragement and reinforcement  instead of  confrontation. This encounter, will slowly  challenge the client  in the sense of bringing the client face to face with a difficult reality and thereby initiating change in their mind about their particular life controlling issues. This encourages a client to have personal responsibility and ownership of their own unwelcome behavior. This therefore with out using a threatening confrontational  approach encourages discussion rather that conflict. We have turned the intense conflict to a place of opportunity which produces unity.   

This final action stage of an intervention begins  of confession/admission of their hopelessness and need for help.  This reveals the individuals sincerity and  begins to remove layers of denial.

The client is in the process to “change their mind” about their behavior, which increases the chances if long-term recovery because repentance was initially involved which produces personal responsibility. This leads to Counseling with Rational expression of God which decreases resistance behaviors and has reframed new meanings of Grace to the individual. Many of these times of God’s Grace takes the form of the counselor giving voice to the client’s behavior to instruct and teach verbalizations of the need for change.

If denial which is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that  are too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimization) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny personal responsibility (Which is transference: characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another). I employ another reoriented approach and have increased family involvement in the intervention.

I essentially have carefully taken notes on the individual’s goals and the puzzle the client has constructed  for us and begin the intervention from the initial stage. The family at this point know that we will enter into weighing consequences for lack of personal responsibility. The family will at this point be the reinforcement mechanism keeping the client as the  central focus of the intervention.

I will begin by explaining essential the part of personal responsibility and action to the client. Then I will encourage the concerned group of family and friends  to begin with their prepared speeches to share their negative experiences associated with the target’s particular addiction-based lifestyle, to convey to the client the amount of pain his or her addiction has caused others. Then I will discuss what promised loss. At this point I will ask for the  prepared lists of promised loss that the concerned group of family and friends  are willing to stand by if the target doesn’t agree to check into a rehabilitation center for treatment or agree to mandatory long-term intensified counseling. These usually involve very serious losses to the addict if s/he refuses.

I re-evaluate the individual and the atmosphere to see which direction the intervention  will proceed toward and ask for feed back from the individual how they will feel when these lists of promised loss are enacted. I again will use motivational methods to show the target how much more they gain instead of lose if the choose personal responsibility and ownership. I will re offer the non-negotiable option to seek inpatient treatment or mandatory long-term intensified counseling.

At this point, have evaluated the target extensively and  learned a lot about the target and have more information to  discern the individual’s the denial factors, their responses or reactions and the authenticity for genuine desire for change.  

discern : rationally recognize mentally and see if can understand the difference responses : usually objective well thought out)

reactions : usually subjective and emotionally driven

This is a vital part of the intervention if we have come to this point because we never want manipulated desire which will never  develop a sincere commitment and genuine repentance.  Without a sincere commitment from the individual real change rarely occurs because they feel  forced to get help and usually never complete the treatment. This is because they have the wrong motivation for going to treatment to begin with.

If the individual remains in denial or refuses to get help at this point I encourage the concerned family and friends to keep their promise of loss and to follow through with them immediately. I then address the individual and encourage them to contact me when they are ready and want to make a sincere decision for treatment.

If the opposite takes place and genuine desire is evident for treatment and the individual is ready after weighing the losses. I encourage action and immediate placement into a program that we have already retained in the preliminary meetings. 

The process of motivational reversal usually does not take place and the loss becomes the eventual encouragement for change of the desire of the individual.  This is because the denial of their self-destructive behaviors runs deep in their sub conscious mind. This is usually is the case in long-term addicted individuals with co-dependent  family members, who  the addict knows lack the backbone for action to fulfill the promised loss. The family members of close friends who will not follow through with their promised losses are only extending their own personal agony and the suffering of their loved who is the target. They have also wasted a lot of vital time that could have been spent with others who need the help that was freely given.

During the next several weeks, I personally will follow through with each individual when ever possible who was at the intervention. I will encourage that the promised losses are followed through and am constantly evaluating  to see when the losses will create the proper sincere motivation for change.

If the intervention was initially successful but the individual however did not follow through with the required treatment options in the time prescribed we will follow through until they do or we enter into another intervention where the promised losses ar

e laid out to the individual. This sometimes occurs because of poor time-management skills and lack of follow through on the part of the client which is a common behavior with the addicted and those with life controlling problems.

Summary of

Intervention Goals:

In an intervention, the goal is for the addict or target to take personal responsibility and make a sincere commitment for action and treatment for their self-destructive habits and behaviors.

An addict or individual with life controlling problems often compares himself to peers and reaches in the conclusion that he is normal. As a result he never realizes that he has lost control. What they need in this condition is honest rational objective feedback that their self-destructive habits and behaviors are dangerous and deadly. A skilled interventionist, with the support of family and friends of the addict or target, can help them to realize the situation through the process of an intervention. The interventionist, who gets an idea of the nature and degree of the addiction through meetings with the addict and family, can make constructive opinions on the addict’s behavior.

Through intervention the addict will understand the limits his concerned friend and family have set and realize the fact that they have a problem. They also will know that because of love they were address by their concerned friends and family. More significantly; they will understand that their concerned friend and family will not continue putting up with their self-destructive habits and behaviors. The beginning of liberation of suffering, for both the addict and the family, is the primary agenda of any Intervention. Changing the self-destructive behavior at the source of suffering is always the focus of an intervention.

The sought after result of the intervention, obviously, is getting the individual with life controlling issues to agree that a problem exists and ask for help. The interventionists, at this time, are required to possess enough knowledge to help with referrals of treatment that would be suitable to that particular person as an individual. No one is the same, everyone does not  fit into a mold and each plan must be specifically tailored to each individual. This is not a “one size fits all” strategy.

Then it is vital to comprehend the variety and efficiency of different treatments so that the recommendation can be individualized.

Advanced and highly effective treatment methods for drug and alcohol addiction are available in a wide range of methods. A number of treatment and recovery program options can be considered for every patient. With a lot of choices, it would be advisable if those intervening on behalf of the abuser agree on the program or method most suited for the addict a preliminary meeting prior to the intervention. The availability of these various treatment centers are always a concern, therefore the selection and eventual placement of an appropriate treatment program a difficult task.

Also, in the preliminarily meeting, after deciding on the treatment intended to be proposed for the addict, is required to contact the chosen facility to see if their is availability. The admittance procedure, financial obligation and mode of treatment must be thoroughly discussed with the family.

This is to determine if there is insurance involved and if cost restraints will also be a consideration of treatment. The cost for inpatient treatment varies considerably for 30 day programs with ranges between $4900 and $13,500. The average cost for a licensed 30 day treatment facility is usually $7,500 to $8,900.

If cost restraints, lack of insurance or no funding is available for treatment from the friends, family members, or their employer it will make it extremely difficult for placement into treatment. It is rare that public beds are available and are usually reserved for those in the various entitlement programs.

Free treatment is rare, however available at several homeless shelters, Christian missions with recovery components, foundation’s adult based recovery programs like the Salvation Army and teen challenge. Remember, the individual usually must be detoxified before admittance is even discussed. Please take this into consideration also in the degree of cost and planning.

Addicts live and die on their chance to recover so this is not a decision to be made on the spur of the moment. Convincing the addict of the effect of the treatment is as important as making him recognize his addiction. Moreover, he can be give valuable opinions while selecting an appropriate treatment program.

Everyone is biologically different and responds to Treatment can be different for each. So, the methods and time of treatment vary from patient to patient as the reaction varies according to the individual stage of addiction. In fact, the roadmap for the treatment program takes shape here.

To get the maximum out of it, intervention needs to be conducted on a sober person that is not intoxicated. More importantly, the one who undergo intervention needs to remain sober throughout the entire process of intervention. In any case, attempting an intervention while a person is on a high or intoxicated will usually not be productive because the addict cannot see many of their problems when in a fog of intoxication.

The broken lives and countless numbers of  young adults are being healed and reconstructed daily by our interventions. We have numerous success stories of Young Adults that have come through the valley and in the end have thanked God for the valley. Today they are helping others and serving God all around the world as missionaries, pastors, youth leaders, and Sunday school teachers

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD


Is Addiction a Disease?

Is Addiction a Disease?

Is it a Disease or sin?

Many doctors and insurance companies accept addiction as a disease because it is:

1) Predicable

2) Progressive

3) Physiologically debilitating characteristic of the normal functioning of a living organism

4) Treatable.

When a chemical or behavior interferes with the productivity, tranquility, efficacy, or well-being of any of these area and when a person is made aware that this is happening but still priests in using or acting out then that person is addicted not diseased.

By calling it a disease individuals are less likely to be condemned and more likely to get treatment that insurance companies will finance.

“The disease concept is out of tune

with the facts and a serious obstacle to rational solutions.”

It basically comes down to personal choice. What determines whether a person becomes dependent is how much he consumes and for how long, rather than his personality, psychodynamics, or biochemistry. Addiction is a progressive. It engulfs its victim psychologically and physically that creates a moral condition for which he or she is responsible. By calling addiction a disease, it tends to relieve personal responsibility. Its root cause is sin that remains not isolated becomes habitual which causes the surface problem of overt sickness.

God established protective boundaries for His children because He knows the dangers of disobedience, for the transgressor as well as for others affected by the sin. His Word warns us not to give in to temptation but to follow Jesus in a life of sacrifice, which is the way to true contentment. In contrast, the world says satisfaction is found in acquiring goods, wealth, status, and friends. Satan whispers the lie that gratification comes from self-indulgence. His goal of turning us away from God started with his temptation of Adam and Eve. The Creator had given them access to every tree in the Garden of Eden but one. The first man and woman stepped outside the limit set by the Lord, ate the forbidden fruit, and became separated from Him. Satan used doubt (“Did God really say?”), deceit (“You will not surely die”), and self-delusion (“You will be like God”) to achieve his aim (Gen. 3:1-4). He made rebellion against God—which is the root of all sin—seem very attractive. And the Enemy’s methods are the same today. The only way we can withstand the world’s clamor, the Devil’s whispers, and our own selfish desires is by immersing ourselves in God’s Word. We must focus our attention on knowing the Lord in all His fullness, believing His promises, and obeying His commands. Only through our relationship with Christ will we be able to fight the battle against sin and stand firm.

Sin plays no favorites. It works its way into every-one’s life without regard to age, race, or economic status. Regardless of the form it takes, it always tempts us to choose our own way. Rebellion is harmful and addictive. Repetitions of sinful behavior lead to more of the same, until the action is so entrenched that we cannot stop. We become enslaved. The descent into a pattern of disobedience begins in our minds. Once our thinking is involved, the influence extends to our behavior, eventually progressing until we are more entrenched than we ever imagined. Deception permeates the whole process. We tell ourselves there is no harm in what we’re doing. After all, other people behave the same way. Sin’s demands keep increasing, and yet its benefits are only short-term. Eventually, we experience emptiness instead of satisfaction, pain in place of comfort, and loss rather than gain. Habitual sin splits our mind and emotions. Then we spend less time meeting our responsibilities and more time satisfying cravings. Our care and concern for others diminishes too. Over time, feelings of guilt and entrapment can take their toll and lead to a desire to self-destruct.

Every human being has an inner need for a real and growing relationship with God. When the craving is denied, unrecognized, and unfilled, a search for something else will fill the vacuum. Addiction is any thinking or behavior t

hat is habitual, repetitious, and difficult or impossible to control. Addictions have one thing in common they change moods. Almost any person can be psychologically and or physically on drugs if that person is exposed to a high dosage for a long enough periods.

In his, book Diseasing of America, addiction researcher Stanton Peele breaks with this tradition. A disease conception of misbehavior is bad science and morally and intellectually sloppy, argues Peele. “Once we treat alcoholism and addiction as diseases, we cannot rule out that anything people do but shouldn’t is a disease.”

The disease conception of addiction acts to isolate the harmful behavior from the person. Thus when we claim that drugs, much like the flu, “get a hold” of you, we conveniently deflect from that which mediates behavior: personality, values, character or lack thereof. Once someone becomes involved with drugs, we explain everything they do by saying it was due to the drugs, forgetting, in the process of this argument, that the source of the addiction is the person and not the drug. An honest look at drug-use means we cannot separate it from the person. With the disease label as a protective rampart, addicts have taken to comparing their “disease” with having, let us say, diabetes or cancer.

Procrustes name means “he who stretches”, was a giant in Greek mythology who kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, who were invited in for a pleasant meal and a night’s rest in his very special bed.. What Procrustes didn’t volunteer was the method by which this “one-size-fits-all” was achieved, namely as soon as the guest lay down Procrustes went to work upon him, stretching him on the rack if he was too short for the bed and chopping off his legs if he was too long. Along these same lines, an article on recovery in the New York Times cited the Psychiatric News, which said: “Addiction medicine is at risk of becoming the laughingstock of the medical community by forcing everything into a Procrustean model of addiction.”

Another example of mislabeling is the practice of calling behavioral problems “diseases.” Now, of course, there are some mental disorders that can affect behavior—schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of depression—that are associated with physical diseases. However, does this mean that behavior can be diseased? It is critical to recognize that there is an element of volition in behavior that is not present in real, biological diseases. People do not succumb to apoplexy the way they succumb to adultery. Stanton Peele, in his book Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control, says that “disease definitions undermine the individual’s obligation to control behavior and to answer for misconduct. They legitimatize, reinforce, and excuse the behaviors in question—convincing people, contrary to all evidence, that their behavior is not their own.”

Critics thus emphasize that a “disease” is something one has; “behavior” has to do with what one does. Addressing this issue, anthropologist Melvin Konner said: “We would all like to point at an illness—a psychiatric label—and say of our weak or bad actions, ‘That thing, the illness, did it, not me. It.’ But at some point we must draw ourselves up to our full height, and say in a clear voice what we have done and why it was wrong. And we must use the word ‘I’ not ‘it’ or ‘illness.’ I did it. I. I.”

There is no human remedy for sin.

This is a divine remedy for sin and that is the cross of Calvary.

Mark 7: 20-23

20 And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Jesus lists thirteen items that proceed from the human heart.


Romans 1:28-31

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

The Apostle Paul lists 21 items that are “not fitting” or “not convenient”.

These words describe what is happening in our world today.

Galatians 5:19-21

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Apostle Paul presents the 17 acts of the sinful nature.

In Eph 4:22 he taught to put off that which is being corrupted by deceitful desire.

Eph 2:25-28

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

The Apostle Paul lists 9 items to be “put off”

Related to this, based on reading a representative sampling of Christian recovery books, I don’t think the doctrine of total depravity has received sufficient recognition in the recovery movement. Yes, Christian recovery leaders clearly acknowledge that people are infected by sin. However, more often than not the bad in our lives is presented as being more the result of unjust social conditions or growing up in a bad environment. As one critic put it, “in place of the idea of original sin, recovery experts put forward their own first cause of all our ills—the American [dysfunctional] family.”

C. K. Chesterton once observed that the doctrine of fallen man is a Christian belief for which there is overwhelming observed evidence. Indeed, as one looks at the evidence, it would seem that our psychologized society is not getting any better. If anything, it seems that people (and society) are “sicker” than ever.

We must emphasize that regardless of the attainment of self-esteem, people will continue to behave badly and suffer the consequences for their actions because they have a nature that is bent on evil. Feeling good about ourselves will not remove or alter this depravity. Hence, seeking self-esteem as a solution to inappropriate behavior seems misguided.

In His Grace Forever,

or Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Addictions Are About Behavior, Not Disease (part 1)
by Ilana Mercer

When it comes to thinking about addiction, opinions converge. Having bought into the addiction industry’s mantra, so-called social progressives and conservatives alike share the same ideological hangover from the Prohibition era, with a twist of AA sadism: all are religious about abstinence, and all accept as bible from Sinai the wisdom of coercing addicts into treatment regimens. But perhaps the greatest error made in the attempt at humane formulations about addiction is to cast as a disease what is essentially a problem of behaviour.

The dangers of gathering more and more behaviors under the disease label is not something pharmacology moguls, politicians or health care professionals ruminate about, despite the ramifications for a society already committed to a morality lite and to diminished personal responsibility. In his book Diseasing of America, addiction researcher Stanton Peele breaks with this tradition. Disease conceptions of misbehavior are bad science and morally and intellectually sloppy, argues Peele. “Once we treat alcoholism and addiction as diseases, we cannot rule out that anything people do but shouldn’t is a disease, from crime to excessive sexuality to procrastination.”

While the application of the medical disease model to addictions was developed to “remove the stigma from these behaviours”, there is NO genetic marker for alcoholism or drug addiction. Still, the misconception that these behaviors are linked to a genetic vulnerability is aired repeatedly by the media, in the absence of evidence. The rationale for using the disease model to describe addiction even though it is intellectually dishonest is that medical treatment is effective.

Yet another deception. An overview of controlled studies indicates that “treated patients do not fare better than untreated people with the same problems.” Of note is a 4500-subject-strong 1996 US epidemiological study conducted by the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiological Survey. Treated alcoholics, it was found, were more heavily alcohol dependent on average than untreated alcoholics. Clearly a behavioral problem cannot be remedied by medical intervention. Addicts are cured when they decide to give up the habit.

The disease conception of addiction acts to isolate the noxious behavior from the person. Thus when we claim that drugs, much like the flu, “get a hold” of you, we conveniently deflect from that which mediates behavior: personality, values, character or lack thereof. Once someone becomes involved with drugs, we explain everything they do by saying it was due to the drugs, forgetting, in the process of this circular argument, that the source of the addiction is the person and not the drug. An honest look at drug-use means we cannot separate it from the person.

Heroin addicts are thus highly disposed to having social problems even before they become addicted; and truancy and smoking behavior serve as good predictors of future drug use.

With the disease label as a protective rampart, addicts have taken to comparing their “disease” with having, let’s say, diabetes or cancer. How opting to shoot up for the first time, then doing it again, then stealing cash to get some, even breaking and entering – mimic the organic disease process in cancer or diabetes is unclear.

As Peele explains, addictive disorders are known only by the behaviors they describe. In the absence of the ongoing behavior there is no way of telling whether the person is, or will be addicted. “By claiming that alcoholics are alcoholics even if they haven’t drunk for fifteen years, alcoholism is made to seem less tied to drinking behaviour and more like cancer,” but “a person does not get over cancer by stopping a … behavior”… while “the sole and essential indicator of successful remission of alcoholism is that a person ceases to drink”.

It is unfortunate that the various preventive programs school kids are exposed to are delivered by equivocating addicts-cum-activists who conveniently convey that “It” can happen to anyone, that kids have little control and that once diagnosed as an addict, always an addict. This sets in motion–where there is already some drug use–a self-defeating cycle of abstinence and relapse, not to mention an overall rise in drug related involvement.

Most youngsters outgrow their occasional binges and turn into responsible adults. For doing what they do as a rite of passage, teens and college students do not deserve to be labeled diseased. What they do need is to be held accountable for their behavior. Failure to hold the person who strays responsible for his actions means that you cannot credit the person who doesn’t. That’s the logic of diminished responsibilities all round.

For the rest, the lingering paranoia of the temperance and prohibition era, which has culminated in AA disease dogma, should be consigned to the historical dustbin.

© 2000 – 2001 Ilana Mercer
Previously Published in the Calgary Herald

Addiction is Not a Disease (Part II)
by Ilana Mercer

Any overdue blitz of the disease theory of addiction owes a great deal to Stanton Peele. So, here is an interview conducted with the author of Diseasing of America (1989). A psychologist and an attorney, Peele is an addiction expert with an international reputation. The author of 120 articles and eight books about chemical and relational addiction, Peele is a recipient of the Mark Keller Award from the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, and the Lindesmith Award for Career Achievement in

Scholarship from the American Drug Policy Foundation.

Q: Dr. Peele, do you believe addiction is a disease?

A: No. Most emphatically not. It has become the style to call negative behaviors, which people often experience as compelling motivation, “diseases.” As though nail biting, overeating, and wife beating were like the malignant growth of cancer cells. Many self-defeating and anti-social behaviors have a common thread. People engage in them because they feel degraded and disapproved of, which feeds into their motivation to continue the negative behavior. But how ultimately do people stop drinking too much, overeating, and biting their nails? They feel, internally, that the balance of their desires and rewards is not to act this way; people make positive choices when they feel they have the opportunity to engage -and are supported – in more positive choices. The toughest addiction to quit is smoking. Right now about 50 million Americans have quit smoking, over 90% without a patch or formal therapy.

Q: How have we progressed to thinking about addiction as a disease?

A: We have developed a faith in medical advances that is steeped in the legend of the “microbe hunters”, the generation of researchers and physicians who identified the bugs that cause many of the major killers of humans. This worship of medicine has become a fetish in North America. If we can describe a malady in medical terms, we feel we have somehow conquered it. Yet with psychological disorders and problems of behavior, namely addictions – such labeling and accompanying medical mumbo jumbo have not led to improvement in treatment outcomes. In many ways, turning our sense of ourselves over to medicine seems to be making things worse. Surveys repeatedly confirm that a generation of education about addiction has led to people’s spiraling out of control now more than ever.

Q: What is the science on which the disease proponents of addiction base their demand for considering addiction a disease?

A: There is no inherited mechanism that leads a person to be unable to control their substance use, to go on tremendous binges, or to leave off their connection to people and environments in order to consume a substance. Genetic theories, being the modest things they are, can never explain the experience of loss of control. An overview of the research on alcohol and drugs NEVER supports the wild claims made by some proponents of the disease model. These claims reflect fundamentally antiscientific attitudes and a lack of understanding of the confluence of human motivation in response to experience, biology and external stimuli.

Consider this example: A 1996 headline in The New York Times, declared that brain images of addiction in action show its neural basis. The article reviewed research showing that many different drugs — namely heroin, alcohol, amphetamines or nicotine — activate common neural pathways. Its author surmised that these drugs bathe the neurons at these sites so as to reduce natural supplies of dopamine, and thus stimulate a craving for more of the drugs to compensate for this depleted supply of the neurotransmitter. And this was taken to mean that addiction is purely brain driven.

In my critique of this folly I explain that a wide range of activities stimulate the same pleasure centers in the brain — including sex, eating, working, consuming chocolate. This should alert us to the fact that these brain theories tell us nothing about differences in behavior, let alone addiction. Apparently, stimulation of a pleasure center is only one small component in the entire addiction syndrome. Moreover, if any activity can be pleasurable — from work, to sex, to parenting and so on — identifying activities as stimulating the pleasure center fails to explain why people find different things pleasurable and why different people react in destructive, addictive ways to some of these things, while others incorporate them into a balanced overall lifestyle.

Peele’s position is at odds within the drug reform movement. He is a proponent of harm reduction policies such as needle exchange, but is a strong opponent of a treatment industry that relies, for the most, on coercing addicts into rehabilitation.

© 2000-2001 Ilana Mercer
Published previously in the Calgary Herald

Characteristics of the Addictive Process

Initial use of these substances or behavior is usually accompanied by mood elevation and other affective changes that lead to their recreational use. Some drugs have actions that produce other desirable psychological effects, such as relaxation. Addictive drugs activate brain reward systems. However, the activation is much more intense causing the individual to crave the drug and to focus their activities around taking the drug. The ability of addictive drugs to strongly activate brain reward mechanisms and their ability to chemically alter the normal functioning of these systems can produce an addiction.

Characteristics of the addictive process are:

! Obsession and abnormal importance of the substance or behavior

! Persistence, inflexibility and repetition of the particular addictive behavior

! Relative immunity to adverse consequences and resistance to learned modification of behavior

! The charm of an interrelated system of which, Psychological defenses (mental defense mechanisms), function in concert to protect the individual from the full realization and acknowledgement of his addiction and hence provide cover and concealment for the continued expression of the addictive process. Psychological defenses (mental defense mechanisms) are normal and universal features of the human mind that operate consciously, half-consciously and unconsciously to protect the ego from awareness of difficult or painful feelings, facts and ideas. Normal defense mechanisms of particular importance in the maintenance of addictive disease include denial, paranoid projection, and avoidance, isolation of affect, rationalization and intellectualization. Harmful and ultimately painful addictive behaviors require a bodyguard of lies, distortions, and psychotic denial to fend off the natural corrective consequences of cognitive and behavioral dissonance resulting from addiction. In a sense, however, they are merely superficial and secondary aids to the addictive process, which originates and operates at a still deeper level of the mind. The addictive process eventually transforms the worldview of the addicted individual and even realigns his sense of himself and his identity, so that they facilitate and do not obstruct the continued expression of the addiction.

Just as a powerful river finds or creates channels around anything obstructing its flow, so does the addictive process defeat the rational and ethical resistances of the person within which it is active. In addition, in the process of constructing such alternative paths for its discharge, the addiction shapes the reality of the addict’s world and his very notion of himself. The worldview that is created by the addictive process is one that is compatible with and friendly to the interests of the addiction. Worldviews that are inconsistent with the continuation of the addiction are suppressed or eliminated.

Addictive interest has been justly compared to the more commonly known stage of romantic love in which the lover thinks constantly of the beloved. An individual in such a state of mind is said to be obsessed with their love object and to subordinate every other aspect of their existence, including at times their health, work, and other relationships to the fulfillment of the almost unbearable need and longing to be united with their beloved. There are many paths and ways to recover from addiction but all require the capacity for honesty with oneself and the willingness and ability to bear the temporary but often intense discomforts associated with the loss of a love. In almost all cases, the addict must find ways to replace what he has lost with new and healthier ways of relating and dealing with life.

The painful feelings of guilt, shame and fear resulting from the conflict of addictive behavior with the individual’s own values often create states of unbearable inner stress that make it harder for the addict to refrain from resorting for relief to the very addiction that is causing the negative feelings. Abstinence requires a decision; recovery requires time and effort.

Physical recovery is the least complex of the four, even though it is often the most immediate. Physical recovery happens primarily as the result of abstinence alone. The body has an amazing ability to repair itself, especially when combined with medical attention.

Mental recovery is more complex because it includes not only issues associated with brain function and brain chemistry but with issues of attitudes, belief systems, and rational, abstract thought.

Emotional recovery is
more complex yet. It involves not only attitudes, belief systems, and rational thought, but thought’s first cousin—feelings. Emotional recovery involves learning to deal with feelings openly, honestly, and responsibly. It includes learning to express and resolve feelings in appropriate and effective ways. For most people in recovery, emotional recovery takes years.

We are all pleasure seekers. There are pleasure centers located within the human brain, which, when activated, are associated with feelings of euphoria. This is part of the daily cycle we all experience. During the day we go through naturally occurring periods when we feel comfortable, secure, happy, and fulfilled – and this is followed by periods when more negative feelings are aroused (anxiety, insecurity, discomfort). We humans are highly reinforced by positive feelings of pleasure. We want to experience euphoria again and again. Fortunately, that’s not all there is to life.

Addictive behavior can be seen as an attempt to control our daily cycles by maximizing pleasurable feelings and decreasing the frequency of negative feelings. At first we may even succeed for a while in doing this, but our basic natures have a way of catching up with us. We probably need our down phases of the daily cycle as much as we need the more positive ones – if for no other reason than that the negative parts of the cycle help us appreciate the positive ones even more. Our negative experiences strengthen us and help us to become survivors. They assist us in learning wisdom and integrity. There are few things in nature which are not cyclical. Attempts to find constant pleasure through addictive behavior are always futile. The negative phase always revisits us and brings balance back into our lives. There is no escaping our basic nature. And there is no escaping the escalating and debilitating results of the addictive process.

Addiction is an uncontrolled search for gratification through a relationship with a substance or activity to the exclusion of other more diverse life experiences. The substance or activity with which the addict forms a relationship varies with each person.

  • Many addictions aim to increase arousal. This is the all-powerful feeling that might come from cocaine, amphetamines, the first few drinks of alcohol, shoplifting, sexual acting out or gambling. This omnipotent feeling, however, is eventually undermined when the addict realizes that a dependency has been formed. A feeling of fear replaces the feeling of being all powerful – fear of losing the source of addiction and fear that others will find out how powerless the person actually is. Negative experiences always accompany the positive feelings the addict is seeking.

  • Other addictions aim to increase satiation. This is the feeling of happiness and fulfillment that might be achieved through the use of heroin, marijuana, tranquilizers, pain medication, watching TV or overeating. The feeling of satiation serves to camouflage a person’s underlying pain. Again, however, negative feelings always show themselves. The person who strives for satiation not only re-experiences the underlying pain when the feeling of satiation wears off, but also experiences the grief accompanied by the loss of the satiation high. Satiation addicts must increase the dosage of the drug or the frequency of the addictive acting out behavior to cover up their original pain. The quest for a satiation high takes over the person’s life until, ultimately, the pain returns in the form of despair.

Note that satiation reflects our quest for pleasure while arousal exemplifies our quest for power. Pleasure ( The state or feeling of being pleased or gratified.) and Power (The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively) are two of our most primitive behaviors and are experienced by children in the earliest years of life when the range of experiences is focused largely on forming one’s sense of self. Adulthood brings us beyond these simple levels of experience into a more complex, diverse and meaningful way of relating to the world. When we move past pleasure and power, we are able to form intimate relationships with other adults, to contribute to society, to understand our responsibilities to others, and to incorporate moral convictions into our actions. Addictive behavior prevents us from achieving these more complex levels of behavior found in adulthood.

Addictive behavior usually contains the following components:

Þ Acting out Behavior: Addicts create a mood through a change in their behavior that sets the stage to go into the addictive high. These “acting out” behaviors are a preliminary part of the addictive process and serve to shift the addict’s mood. During the acting out stage, the addict feels the illusion of being powerful and in control.

Þ The Illusion of the providing of loving care and attention: Most of us seek ways to achieve the providing of loving care and attention. In times of stress, but for the addict, this is tem
porary and does not allow the person to find ways to solve problems in a realistic way. Addiction is a lifestyle in which life’s problems are avoided in favor of the search for the next high. Although the addict may understand rationally that addictive behavior will not solve the problem, they develop their own logic which rationalizes the continuation of the addiction.

Þ The Addictive Object Becomes the Person’s Primary Relationship! Addicts seek to meet their emotional and intimacy needs through achieving a high until, eventually; this becomes their most important relationship. They experience a mood change and come to believe that their emotional needs have been met. This is the tragedy of addiction because the addict shuts out other people, the community and the search for spiritual answers – the real way to deal with life’s issues in a healthy manner. Other people are used, not for true relationship, but merely as props in pursuit of the addiction.

Þ The Addict Withdraws from the World. The normal way to achieve intimacy is to reach out to other people. For the addict, where the primary relationship is with the addictive substance, the illusion of intimacy means pursuing the addictive high and excluding other people. The high gives the feeling of warmth, control, and well-being – and the feeling that the need for intimacy has been met. Unfortunately, the longer the addict engages in this process, the more lonely and isolated he or she becomes. When the pain of isolation becomes intense, the stage is set for the addict to engage in more acting out behavior. The pattern becomes entrenched, and escaping it is difficult.

Þ Addicts Trust the High More than Other People Addicts begin to trust the mood change that comes from engaging in addictive behavior. They feel isolated from other people and find that others might not always come through for them. The high, on the other hand, is consistent and always available. They trust the high more than they trust others. Unfortunately, because addicts have not engaged in the normal interactions that occur between people, they lack the experience of working through the providing of loving care and attention of relationships in order to find ways of getting their needs met through others. This entrenches them in the belief that their addiction is their only friend. It works every time, while friends are not always there.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Nature of Addiction: What is addiction?

The term addiction generally refers to the situation where drug procurement and administration appear to govern the individual’s behavior, and where the substance seems to dominate the individual’s motivation and where the normal constraints on behavior are largely ineffective.

The individual is normally motivated to engage in a variety of behaviors. The relative importance of these rewards can be ranked to form a motivational chain of command. Addictive substances have the unique ability to disrupt this motivational chain of command. They do this in two ways. First, they can rapidly displace other motives in the individual’s life, thrusting them to the top of the motivational ladder. Second, they can disrupt the ability of other, natural rewards to motivate behavior.

Many factors influence a person’s initial drug use. Personality characteristics, peer pressure, and psychological stress can all contribute to the early stage of drug abuse. Stress is a major cause of addiction. When the external pressures build up some people use drugs or alcohol to shelter their stress and provide the sense of well being. The development of the addiction brings no longer relief but disharmony. Effective stress management requires two basic things:

  1. Alter our lifestyles to accommodate healthy daily practice.
  2. Go inside of our own heads, confront, and change our dysfunctional thinking with doctrine: The rational expression of thought.

Chemical dependency is a serious social, health, and metal problem. It disrupts families, ruins careers, destroys bodies, tears apart friendships, and leads to untold human misery.

Addiction can be described as:

  • Chronic:

  1. Of long duration of time; continuing
  2. Lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence
  3. Subject to a habit or pattern of behavior
  • Complex:

Consisting of interconnected or interwoven parts; with a group of related; often repressed ideas and impulses that compel characteristic or habitual patterns of thought, feelings, and behavior.

  • Progressive:

1. Moving forward; advancing.

2. Proceeding in steps; continuing steadily by increments

  • Physiologically Debilitating:

Impair the strength of; to weaken; to enfeeble which interferes the normal functioning and characteristics of a life with one’s own health, social, and economic functioning.

This learned behavior is taught to you by repetitious and habitual actions. This self-inflicted problem centers on self and the free will of personal choices.

The most common misunderstanding is that addiction refers to a state of physical dependence on a drug or behavior whereby discontinuing produces a withdrawal syndrome consisting of various somatic disturbances. Addiction is better defined as a behavioral syndrome where procurement and use seem to dominate the individual’s motivation and where the normal constraints on behavior are largely ineffective. This condition may or may not be accompanied by the development of physical dependence. This condition has also been described as a “psychological” addiction (thus distinguishing it from physical dependence termed “physical” addiction), but confusion is minimized by using the term addiction to refer to the behavioral syndrome described above and the term physical dependence to refer to the condition associated with withdrawal reactions. The distinguishing feature of the condition commonly referred to as addiction is the ability of the drug to dominate the individual’s behavior, regardless of whether physical dependence is also produced.

The activation of brain reward systems is largely responsible for producing a drug’s potent addictive properties. Personality, social, and genetic factors may also be important, but the drug’s effects on the central nervous system (CNS) remain the primary determinants of drug addiction. Other factors are likely to be important in influenc

ing initial drug use and in determining how rapidly an addiction develops. For some substances, factors may interact with the drug’s action to produce compulsive substance use. In these cases, “addictive behavior” may involve use of substances that are generally not considered addictive.

Initial use of these substances is usually accompanied by mood elevation and other affective changes that lead to their recreational use. Some drugs have actions that produce other desirable psychological effects, such as relaxation.

It basically comes down to personal choice. What determines whether a person becomes dependent is how much he consumes and for how long, rather than his personality, psychodynamics, or biochemistry. Addiction is a progressive. It engulfs its victim psychologically and physically that creates a moral condition for which he or she is responsible.

Every human being has an inner need for a real and growing relationship with God. When the craving is denied, unrecognized, and unfilled, a search for something else will fill the vacuum. Addiction is any thinking or behavior that is habitual, repetitious, and difficult or impossible to control. Addictions have one thing in common they change moods. Almost any person can be psychologically and or physically on drugs if that person is exposed to a high dosage for a long enough periods.

Our lives are a series of habits, held together in perfect sequence by our subconscious mind. Whether it is over indulgence or the task of typing on my computer keyboard, the subconscious takes me through the paces without having to think about results – or consequences. Over 90% of our daily living is an action of habit, systematically driven by our subconscious mind. Healthy habits like washing our bodies, brushing our teeth, driving a car or looking both ways before crossing the street are behaviors learned by the Subconscious mind and fed back to us without a conscious thought.

The subconscious takes me through the paces without having to think about results – or consequences. Over 90% of our daily living is an action of habit, systematically driven by our subconscious mind. Behaviors learned by the Subconscious mind and fed back to us without a conscious thought.

“Only a small percentage of the brain is under conscious control. We are responsible for this part of our thought processes. The vast majority of brain function is Subconscious.”

“Only twenty percent of our decisions come from the conscious or the reasoning mind. The rest come from deep within.”

The surface problems that hinder our progress are only a result of the root causes with in us. These root causes are our internal adversaries and barriers deeply rooted with in our unconscious and subconscious mind. These hindrances have been designed to oppose us internally because of repetition and affirmation for periods of time.

The term addiction generally refers to the situation where drug procurement and administration appear to govern the individual’s behavior, and where the substance seems to dominate the individual’s motivation. Two features that distinguish addiction from other behaviors are its extreme motivational strength and its motivational toxicity. Motivational strength refers to how hard the individual will work to obtain the substance, while motivational toxicity describes the substance’s ability to disrupt the individual’s normal motivations. This latter characteristic is particularly interesting because it may serve as a defining characteristic of addiction.

The individual is normally motivated to engage in a variety of behaviors. The relative importance of these rewards can be ranked to form a motivational chain of command. Some motives will rank high, being extremely influential in the individual’s behavior, while others will rank low, being relatively unimportant. The relative positions of motives on this chain of command will vary from individual-to-individual as do what motives are even included on the list.

Addictive substances have the ability to disrupt this motivational chain of command. They do this in two ways. First, they can rapidly displace other motives in the individual’s life, thrusting them to the top of the motivational ladder. Second, they can disrupt the ability of other, natural rewards to motivate behavior. The drug addict characteristically places substance use as their top priority, while losing interest in life’s other rewards. The intense desire to experience the effects of the addictive substance combined with the inability of natural rewards to engage behavior is subjectively experienced as a “loss of control.” This perception, in a sense, is correct: the normal controls on the individual’s life have lost their significance and behavior focuses on procurement and self-administration of the addictive substance.

No-one sets out to be an addict – to be dependent on a particular drug.

Unfortunately with many substances the process is inevitable, and it’s only recently scientists have started to understand what’s going on when a drug user becomes hooked.

Clare Stamford of University College London, who studies the biochemical process of addiction, says: “People continue to take drugs because they like what the drugs do and want to keep on taking more.

“Unfortunately, people keep taking drugs because if they don’t, they get plummeted into a withdrawal syndrome which can be uncomfortable and life threatening.”

Drugs like morphine and heroin work by entering a “reward system” in the brain.

The quicker the effect of a drug wears off, the more addictive it tends to be.

But the issue of drug addiction goes far deeper than just a biochemical process in the brain

They attach themselves to custom-built receptors into which the drug molecules fit like a key into a lock.

We live in a society that is terrified of feelings. In the addictive system that characterizes our culture, feelings are avoided through the institutionalization of shame and the use of the addictive process. Both are diversions. Both are taught and supported by external forces. Each feeds upon and reinforces the other. Alternatively, shame is used to avoid facing an addiction and then the addiction is used to avoid facing the shame. Both are used to distort, deny, or divert feared and unwanted feelings. The use of the addiction as a “fix” to avoid experiencing shame is a temporary solution; it merely results in compounding the problem by increasing the shame. And so the cycle continues.

A PROCESS addiction is an addiction to a way of living (which sometimes leads to acquiring an addictive substance). For example, the “dry drunk” is a person who exhibits the behaviors, attitudes, and thinking associated with the active alcoholism, but without using the chemical. A dry drunk is not using the infective agent, yet is acting as if she or he was. Thus not drinking alone does not constitute recovery; in order for an alcoholic to become sober and maintain sobriety, she or he has to make major changes in attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, thinking, and practice.

Thus addicts confuse the intensity of acting out, with intimacy, in feeling connected in the moment of intensity, the addict believes it is a moment of intimacy. In fact, it is a nurturance through avoidance. For the addict, different objects and events (eating, gambling, drinking, chemicals, etc.) all have in common the ability to produce a positive and pleasurable mood change, which is fundamentally rooted in emotional isolation, not in true relational connection. The process of addiction involves movement, development, and change. As an addiction develops, it becomes a way of life, a lifestyle.

This cycle causes an emotional craving, resulting in a mental preoccupation, leading to a behavioral action, which leads back to the emotional hunger. Thus for an addict the feeling of discomfort becomes a signal to act out, not a signal to connect with others, oneself, or with God. The more a person seeks relief from an inner emptiness and pain through addiction, the more shame they experience. Hence, she or he becomes shame-bound and loses self-respect, self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-love. The tragedy, and the powerlessness, of the addictive process are seen in the abuse cycle of the addict seeking refuge from the pain of addiction by moving further into the addictive process! Progressing , the delusional system will become more complex and have a quality of rigidity. The delusional system [of the addict] is commonly described as a wall surrounding the person.

Rituals have been described as a language of behavior, designed to give comfort at times of crisis or during times of conflict or stress. Addicts use rituals and addictive rites to create a mood, to ease their tension or discomfort, and so produce a sense of release. This inner struggle between control and release is a characteristic theme of a person involved in an addiction. Thus another way of describing the addictive cycle is as follows: Control Phase – Trigger – Release Phase – Shame – Control Phase etc.

Withdrawal creates a big hole or emptiness which may have precipitated the original numbing behavior. Thus, if the addictive process is rooted in compulsive acting out from feelings of emptiness, then in the recovery process the addict can learn to fill the emptiness in new ways which nurtures the Self. Addictions serve to disassociate the addict from his or her spiritual core. Frequently, the addict has learned the survival strategy in childhood of disconnecting from his or her feelings as a means of adapting to a painful emotional reality. Hence they become aware of an emptiness that cries out to be filled. Their addiction becomes the process of trying to fill the void.

Does the concept of “recovery” contradict the spiritual truth of becoming a “new creat

ion” in Christ?

  • “Recovery” is in the Bible – The term “recover” actually does appear in the Bible in 2 Timothy 2:26. The Greek word used there, “ananepho” actually means to “return to a state of soberness, as from a state of delirium or drunkenness.” (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W. E. Vine, pg. 263).
  • Recovery is sanctification – Using the concept of recovery emphasizes the fact that it is a process, and not something that happens in an instant. This is just how the Bible refers to sanctification — the continuing process of growth into the image of Christ. In Romans 12:2, the Apostle Paul refers to sanctification as a process. In this passage the word translated “transformed” is in the Greek present passive indicative tense, which implies an on-going activity, rather than a one time act. Paul, then, exhorts believers to actively and consciously engage in an on-going process of separation from their old sinful way of life and to increasingly set themselves apart to God through a continual renewal of their minds.
  • Recovery is an on-going process of “yielding” – In Romans 6:19, Paul shows how the yielding of our bodies to sin results in ever increasing wickedness and uncleanness. In secular terms, this is very analogous to the charts that illustrate the passage of the addict through the increasingly destructive phases of alcoholism. Later in the same chapter, Paul explains how, through the experience of becoming born again and walking in the newness of life in Christ enables us to become “slaves of righteousness.” Therefore, he urges believers to present the members of their bodies as “servants of righteousness unto holiness.” (KJV) The Greek word used here is “hagiasmos,” translated “sanctification” in many other passages.

The issue of personal responsibility in addiction cuts across neuroscience, clinical practice, religion, culture, and legal codes.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center