For many struggling with addiction, true recovery seems light years away, even though repeated attempts to escape the grips of alcohol, drugs or even food are sincere.
Additionally, some treatment programs embrace the philosophy that full recovery is not possible and that individuals will always be ‘in recovery.’\
September is National Recovery Month, which promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. The aim is to send the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, that treatment is effective and people can and do recover.
Total recovery from addiction is possible but involves a spiritual healing and equipping as well as addressing the physical and psychological spheres.
Jesus came to start a behavioral health revolution. He came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. In fact, when Jesus healed the leper, He did so because the man was psychologically in despair, alone and frightened. Above the leprosy, the man’s psychological struggle was much bigger. Jesus knew this, and reached out and touched him, communicating that the man was loved and that Jesus wanted to connect with him regardless of his disease. Yes, Jesus healed his leprosy, but the disease was secondary in importance to the leper’s psychological wounding and healing.”
Addictions are not the primary illness, but come as a result of repetitively using a maladaptive and ineffective coping skill to deal with external stress or internal psychological discomfort.
Once we look underneath the addiction to unearth the psychological struggles that are actually causing the addiction, we can properly address the origin of these struggles and the person will no longer need to self-medicate using the addiction for peace, fulfillment or contentment.
The Bible tells us in Romans, that we can renew our mind by living in a transformed way. Psychologically speaking, this means once we begin making healthy decisions—godly decisions—our brain chemistry is re-circuited, re-wired and balanced. So even though part of addiction involves misfiring neurons, godly decision-making can rewire a defective brain chemistry in a lasting and permanent way, as long as that healthy decision-making process stays in place.
Addictions are rooted in pursuing things that are created rather than pursuing the Creator. Therefore, the road to total recovery begins when we pursue the Creator for our desires. Then, amazing life transformation occurs, allowing us to clearly resist the tug and enticement of the empty hollow promises of the created objects.
God designed a spirit, mind and body—a very intricate design. The physical is the least potent, but it’s the final step of any mood, thought or action we have. Chemicals interact, and our mind affects our brain chemistry. It is not our environment, as many believe, but our decisions as we respond to our environment that affect our brain chemistry. But the most important factor is the data we use to interpret our life situations and make decisions. When we use the spiritual and psychological truths of the Bible to view our internal and external world and then respond in a godly way, we initiate a cascade of events spiritually, psychologically and spiritually that start healing and total, lifelong recovery.
Those struggling with addictions who have hopes for full recovery can be helped through a three-pronged treatment approach involving the spirit, mind and body, as well as a recognition of an important and necessary ongoing growth and transformation process.
Those who are concerned about a friend or loved one and their struggles with depression, drugs, alcohol or any life-interfering or -endangering behaviors should reach out for help with a trusted Behavioral Health specialist, a local hospital, or their pastor. Remember, the most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring true hope, deep healing and lasting life transformation.