The disease of drug addiction can be put into full remission with treatment, but first the drug addict must come out of denial. As long as an addict remains in denial they will continue to abuse drugs and blame their misery on everyone and everything else. Sometimes a drug addict will lose everything – job, family and finances – and still deny that drug abuse has anything to do with it.

If a drug addict is able to muster enough courage on their own to face their reality, recovery can begin. If they refuse to come out of denial, a planned intervention with a professional can help them see the truth about their drug abuse.

Once a drug addict admits they have a problem with drugs, the real work begins. It’s important to realize that recovery from this illness is a process, not an event, and requires radical change in most areas of life. Learning how to cope without the anesthetising effects of drugs is a lifelong process that requires a strong commitment and lots of support.

Recovery doesn’t occur in isolation. One of the most successful addiction treatment programs of the 20th century is the Alcoholics Anonymous movement. There is a sister organization for drug addicts called Narcotics Anonymous. This non-Christian, 12-step support group has helped millions of drug addicts get and stay "clean." Most have gone on to build meaningful lives for themselves, and marriages and families have been restored.

The comparable Christian recovery program is called Celebrate Recovery. This recovery program is based on Biblical principles and the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. The main advantage of both of these non-professional programs is that they offer on-going, free support for those seeking to leave an addictive lifestyle behind. They offer a variety of meetings, seven days a week. Meetings involve teaching, sharing, support and understanding. Practical help is offered to deal with the emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of recovery.

After years of abusing drugs, many addicts require assistance from the medical profession. A complete physical checkup with a family doctor is highly recommended. Depending on the severity of the drug abuse, it may be necessary to go to a detoxification program run by trained medical professionals followed by admittance to a drug abuse treatment program. Many also benefit from working with a professional counsellor trained in dealing with drug addiction.

Recovery from this disease hinges on the drug addict’s willingness to admit and accept their loss of control over drug use. It also depends on accepting complete abstinence as a foundational basis of recovery. Admittance of powerlessness opens the door for Christ to enter a drug addict’s life and radically transform them from the inside out. It is an acceptance of Christ as personal Saviour that gives the drug addict the power to choose not to use drugs, one day at a time. And involvement with other recovering drug addicts provides a safe environment where an addict can learn how to live without drugs, one day at a time.

Michele Langmead was a registered counsellor with Focus on the Family Canada at the time of publication. .

© 2010 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

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