In this book we are going to cover the most important aspects of counseling effectively with people that are suffering from substance addiction. Further, we are going to look at many of the controversial issues and treatment models that go along with substance abuse: the disease model, versus the sin model, versus the social model.
Some important statistics falling under the heading of etiology (the science which describes how diseases begin) are worth consideration. The latest statistics indicate that 87% of all Americans are raised in a dysfunctional family. Thus, a very significant amount of the American population have suffered from some sort of severe psycho-social trauma in their upbringing. People do not want to admit these problems. They include divorce, abuse of various kinds, being raised in an alcoholic or drug addicted family system or being raised in a family where one or both parents were mentally ill.
These life circumstances can cause a great deal of difficulty for people. Even if the parents were not alcoholics, if personal primary needs were not met, any person can fit into the category of being dysfunctional. One primary manifestation of this pattern of dysfunctional family interaction is the increase of alcoholism and drug addiction. There is probably not a family in America that is not immediately impacted by the abuse of or addiction to drugs and alcohol. We all know people that have been or are presently addicted to some type of substance or compulsive behavioral patterns that enables them to “survive” life. However, these learned dysfunctional behaviors do not help any of them to function adequately in life as a whole.
Almost all families have at least one member usually hidden “in the closet:” a homosexual, drug addict, alcoholic, habitual criminal behavior, etc. To achieve a better understanding of this dynamic of dis-ease in family life we are going to look at the natural mind, family dynamics and the psycho-social medical models of substance abuse along with their treatments. Further, we will investigate the scriptural revelation on substance addiction and abuse, co-dependency as well as provide a broadened theological framework for treatment and ministry to the abuser and the family.
Substance abuse is but one of many forms of compulsive behavior where people attempt to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. Our responsibility as spiritual leaders in a world of physical pain is to minister God’s grace and mercy with knowledge and understanding to the wounded, especially for those caught in the destructive pattern of alcohol or drug abuse.