This blog post was submitted by a guest writer:
Adam Cook is the founder of Addiction Hub, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.
Substance abuse can affect anyone. Addiction is a disease that affects not only the addict, but also everyone in their life. If you suspect your loved one may suffer from addiction, here is what you can do to help.
Every person needs something different from their treatment. Often, those who have addiction issues suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder, known as dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis can be difficult to treat, as many health care professionals focus solely on the mental health issues, and not the addiction. If your loved one suffers from depression, anxiety or another dual diagnosis, make sure that both conditions are treated.
Luckily, there are options available. There are self-help groups, traditional twelve step models, psychotherapy, and even supplemental holistic treatment, such as massage or yoga, that seek to treat the disease and the reason it developed. Sometimes, multiple treatments are necessary to make sure all issues are solved, so addiction doesn't resurface. After all, it's important to take care of a person's soul during this time and not just their body.
To best avoid temptation, new and healthy habits need to be developed. Regularly practiced spirituality can give guidance and a sense of purpose. Try to find new habits that can replace old, negative ones that may remind your loved one of their time struggling with addiction. It's vital to keep spirits high, and thoughts positive. It will be difficult, but positive affirmation and prayer can aid your loved one in staying on the right track.
Eat healthy foods to keep the body full of good fuel, and encourage your loved one in recovery to stay physically active as this can not only fight depression, but also help them to feel energized. Socializing is imperative. Isolation can lead to depression, which can trigger relapse. However, that may mean forming new friendships as old connections may be toxic.
Signs of Enabling
Enabling can be difficult to identify. You may notice that you have been trying to hide your loved one's addiction. You may find yourself denying it, or overlooking behavior that identifies their addiction. It's hard to face and even harder to address. You may have tried to cover up for your loved one and repair their unacceptable behavior. You may also have put yourself aside, ignored your own needs, simply to try and bend over backward for your loved one in the hopes that you can save them. Don't make excuses for them and for abusive behavior. It will simply enable your loved one to continue feeding their addiction.
Your actions come from a place of love and faith, but these things can be destructive. You need to accept that your loved one has a problem, and that you are not responsible for that problem.
Talking to your loved one about addiction isn't going to be easy. They may do everything they can to avoid the topic, to deny it, or try to turn the conversation around on you. This is not your fault, but your loved one may be in denial, unable to face the truth. The first step to helping them is to stop enabling. If you keep doing those things, even out of love, they are likely to have little motivation to change. Support your loved one, but be firm. This is going to be a hard time, for both of you. You cannot make your loved one change, but you can offer them help by researching treatment and setting up appointments for them. You can't make them go, but they may not have the energy or ability to make these things themselves, so it can give them the gentle push they need to get help.
It can be hard to determine the difference between helping and enabling. We want to make their lives easier, and sometimes, our love for them can make us do things that may be harmful in the long run. You need to take care of yourself while encouraging them to get the help they desperately need.
Image Courtesy of Pexels.com
I just want to add my thanks to Adam for his timely and thoughtful words above. Addiction is hard, but there is hope for recovery. Please reach out to someone, use the recourses Adam has made available, and find a group of people to journey alongside you. GracePointe Church of Christ is pleased to offer Celebrate Recovery every Wednesday Evening at 6:30 PM, and if you're struggling, we would be happy to have you be part of our group or any of the many groups that meet for the purpose of providing support and hope! -JFW
Ok - Confession Time - I ran out of gas for this conversation about how we dehumanize each other…my final post about isolationists just never happened and honestly, it was a drain to think about the many, many ways we use and abuse each other. My final thought about all of this is STOP doing it, REFUSE to be a part of it, and let’s spend more energy being connected and connecting people to Jesus. I believe that Jesus is the one person who can restore a true humanity, and the more connected we are to Jesus, the more we will refrain from hurting others and work to prevent the dehumanization happening all around us.
So, this week in the last sermon in a series on “A More Healthy Church” I asked us all to consider our five. The idea came to me through a saved blog from Jim Martin who serves as the Vice-President of Harding School of Theology. He had addressed mentoring, but I broadened it a bit to address outreach and connecting to people around us so that they benefit from our faith and our friendship. So, here goes:
Who are FIVE people you can serve in the name of Jesus…I want all of us to consider FIVE. Write the names down in a safe place that can be referenced in the coming months and years.
1. Pray for FIVE:
2. Care for FIVE: (Consider how you might best benefit them)
3. Engage with FIVE: (Questions get the conversation going)
4. Share with Five: (The basic outline of the Biblical Story)
As I said in the sermon, FIVE isn’t so much a number as it is a group of Friends Involved in Victory Everlasting. God wants the church to grow, Jesus came to seek and save the lost, we have a vital part to this…Who’s in your FIVE?
A behavior that usually happens in areas with many persons in which we look down or seem too busy so that we don’t have to acknowledge the existence of others or look in their direction because we might actually have to say, “Hello.”
At first, we may not actually see the dehumanizing effect that this behavior, we have all accepted as normal, has on each other. But I ask all of us to pause for a moment and consider the fact that human beings, who were made to relate to each other and share life in families, communities, and nations; pass each other in various arenas without acknowledging each other’s presence. What has happened to us?
If we can veer into a different but related topic for a moment and talk about the world of non-verbal communication, one of the things that we teach in classrooms throughout the country is that when the eyes are pointed down and there is a lack of eye contact, this usually is a sign of lacking confidence. When a person moves away from you in some sort of way, that is a sign of being uncomfortable. When a person is on their cell phones with earbuds or “Beats” in their ears, that’s a sign of being present in a different world than the one they are walking in currently. But seriously, just from a communication perspective, what are we communicating about ourselves and the value we place upon others when we do not acknowledge someone’s presence who shares the same space as we do? We are providing a negative portrait of both us and them…and therefore the relational distance between two human beings gets wider.
And maybe we like it that way because I can think of several reasons to be fearful of random interactions with other people. First, the other person may try to hurt or harm me, which is perpetuated in every way possible—especially among young women who find themselves vulnerable in certain situations. Second, maybe I don’t know what to say to other people and think it is awkward to talk to others. Third, I don’t want them to think I am hitting on them or have them think I am creepy for saying, “hello,” and so I choose to not engage.
The flip side of that coin is that every relationship you ever had, beside mom and dad and family, has started out as some sort of interaction, perhaps even awkward, between you and a stranger at the time…even if that other person was a peer. While there is always a threat level to consider, I think most environments that we put ourselves in are safe places to talk, acknowledge someone’s presence, and have some sort of kind interaction. Ironically, I find that the places where young people are the most social also tend to be the places of greatest risk, take for examples the bar or the club…both designed to heighten passions while dulling the senses in a usually dark environment and usually at the end of the day into the nighttime. But I know I’m a fuddy-duddy, middle-aged dad! Speaking of which, I have found the shift from “friendly” to “creepy” to be very interesting in that when I say hello to someone, I have been told that I was friendly and I have been told that my saying hello was creepy…and what I have discovered is that to be friendly in this interestingly disconnecting culture is to endure being possibly considered “creepy” because they are synonymous.
So, how can we save the world one creepy “Hello” at a time? Well, don’t buy into a culture that is increasingly connected through mediations while feeling increasingly alone. Connect to persons that you share space with and teach your kids to power down their devises and power up their conversations. We need to learn to listen to and to dialogue with others. Connection is not just a “Hello” but the insightful questions and conversation that happens afterwards as well. And perhaps the biggest thing I think each of us can do, smile and be friendly with folks. It communicates something about you…it communicates to the other their importance…it restores a connection in the human spirit that needs repaired.
I’m not even going to get started on handshakes, hugs, and fist-bumps…so practice as you see fit!
An expression of self-aggrandizement that makes sure a person knows that they don’t have the experience and expertise that we do and so our contributions matter more than theirs ever will.
Of all the warnings there are about human behavior in the biblical text, I would have to claim that the notion of arrogance, self-aggrandizement, and developing a superiority complex is one of the greatest threats to the mission and will of God. I mean, imagine with me for a second that God’s people actually think that they, and not God’s love for the world, are the real blessing. That they represent a morally superior way of life, and in so doing stop pointing to God as the giver of all good things, but begin pointing to themselves. Imagine that God’s people begin to segregate themselves, or close themselves off from the hurting, the lost, and the one’s who God was trying to bless through them. I mean, imagine a world where the sinner can no longer have access to God through the church and leaders of God’s people would not take the time to associate with sinners…
Unfortunately, we don’t have to imagine. It was the very thing that made Jesus angry as he watched the religious leaders of his time. It was this type of thinking that the Prophets spoke about as the people were exiled. It was this type of thinking that created slave labor and sex industry and we could compile a list so long that it would envelope human history and most of the major tragedies of the world. Even some done in the name of the Lord by sub-sections of Christians, which is devastating to the witness of Christ and the true desire of God.
And while we can look to the past and discern what has taken place there, it is with the present and the future that we should be most concerned. Where are our blind spots? How will our choices today impact the future and what will they claim about us? Especially if we are part of the church. Here are some attitudes of superiority that we need to banish in ourselves and in our church communities:
By definition, a racist is any person who feels that their race is superior to others and behaves through discrimination and prejudice against other people groups. In the United States, we often address this issue in terms of the ongoing relational dissonance between European Americans and African Americans, yet this is only one example of many that exist. I liken the idea of racial superiority to that of high school rivalries in which we are better than they are because we go to _________ high school and they go to _________ high school. While we may have a plethora of similarities and face the same issues, it is the attitude that fuels the competition and it is the behavior that builds walls instead of bridges. To argue that I am better because I am __________ (pick a color or trait)…wastes time, energy, and thought.
2. Mysogyny and Misandry
By definition, a Mysoginist is a male that feels unconfident and insecure, they are usually extremely angered at the fact they cannot get women to do what they want mostly can be known to be linked to paraphilia and are known to develop violent, harassing, or personal behavior to women which can mostly be physical if they get the chance to express themselves about the problem, lots of mysoginists also express themselves by being anti-social…On the other hand, misandists are defined by a hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys. Misandry can manifest itself in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of men, violence against men, sexual objectification of men, or more broadly, the hatred, fear, anger and contempt of men.
3. The Living Martyr:
The living martyr is a person who thinks they have given up so much for a cause, sacrificed and helped, but they have done so to a point where they forget who they are without the cause or affiliation fixed upon them. This is out of balance because in organizational systems, this person will be unwilling to allow others to do they’re jobs or fulfill their roles because it is a personal attack on the living martyr’s identity and purpose. You might be wondering how I can place this alongside racism and the mysteries up there, and it is because each one of these is based on a premise of arrogance that prohibits another or other people from their purposes. Just like one might their race a false premise, or their gender a false premise, a person can also make their contributions a false premise that blocks community and just like racism or sexism, can cause harm to relationships, organizations, and family systems.
4. The Controller:
Lastly, but not least is a way of being superior by simply being in control. Now, a controller is not a boss or someone hired to do a job. A controller is not an authority figure properly vetted and given a position in an organization or business. Much like the Faux Boss we talked about before, the controller is a person who tries to take charge even though he or she has not been properly given the position they seek. The difference between the Faux-Boss and the controller centers on the attitude that prompts their involvement. The faux-boss is operating under the guise of helping, the controller flat out thinks he or she is more equipped to lead than anyone else at the table of leadership, including the CEO or board of directors. Again, we think about arrogance and the controller is moved to take over because they are either the smartest person in the room or they are the best equipped person in the room to run the organization.
I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Romans as we think about egos and arrogance and the superiority neurosis. He writes this to the church regarding their own desires to accomplish the work of the church without running over folks or making others feel unnecessary.
“12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8 the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.”
There are very few words that seem appropriate to remember, honor, and truly appreciate the work and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I have been to the site of his murder several times in Memphis, TN. Looking out the window of his hotel room onto that balcony where his life was taken has been one of the more sobering moments of my life. King is remembered for championing the Civil Rights Movement, for dreaming dreams, and for being a leader in non-violent marches and protests. Yet, we forget that in his 39 years, he was hated, betrayed, and died a very controversial prophetic voice critiquing the American systems.
So often I listen to the news reporters talking about King’s life being cut short. I hear them talking about how much more he could have accomplished. Yet, I am also hesitant to make the same claims given all that he had been through, all that he endured, all the words spoken, the steps marched, the protests attended, the physical abuse of bricks, letter openers, and punches. King suffered bomb threats, assassination attempts, among other things. King challenged the notions that ethical ministers should not break the law and that good citizens should be peaceable and stay silent. Why would a minister be arrested? Why was it time to break silence for the common good? It was 39 years, but I bet it felt like 100 years. In fact, in his last speech he asserted that he was tired, but not fearful…he has seen the goal of the promised land but suspected he would not arrive with his people.
Today, 50 years ago on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN…a gift to American political and religious discourse, a leader of civil rights, Martin Luther King, Jr was shot and killed. That act did not end in death, because King’s legacy lives, his voice lives, his words live, his dream lives, and we are better for it. Interestingly enough, it took death to enshrine on America’s collective heart the true creativity and genius of a man and a movement overlooked and unfairly criticized by a power structure determined to succeed. While the struggle continues, and there is more work to do, we are grateful for the way King called America to a higher moral standard by combining the creeds of Christian thought and American political thought.
Listening to King’s speeches and studying his non-violent philosophy has been one of the most inspiring and influential parts of my academic life. I am indebted to King, and I thank him for his courage, strength, and truthfulness in the face of danger. If you are looking for something to read today…look at the Letter from a Birmingham Jail or perhaps read King’s eulogy for the four little girls killed at a church youth gathering. It may have only been 39 years, but it was long enough to make a difference in the lives of a nation…so King’s life was meaningful, useful, and full! Again, my words fail and fall short, but thank you Dr. King.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.