A growing social problem families and individuals must deal with in our society is drug and alcohol addiction. Christians are taught to “… be kindly affectionate to one another” (Rm. 12:10), and the Paul writes in Galatians 6:10 “… as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith”. But what does “doing good” look like when dealing with someone with a drug dependency problem?
When a person becomes addicted, the person experiences an unimaginable craving, both physically and mentally. It is like battling the proverbial 500-pound gorilla; and rarely is the person able to deal with this addiction alone without qualified assistance.
Doug Teffeteller offers the following suggestions to help more effectively minister to people with drug and alcohol addiction. Doug has twenty plus years of experience treating people with addiction, plus he is a former alcoholic himself. Doug offers a few simple guidelines that have proven effective in ministering to those with drug and alcohol addiction.
- The first point to remember is the person with an addiction must really want to change their lifestyle.
- Deal with an addict’s behavior and his or her personal responsibilities rather than dismissing their behavior as something they cannot control.
- A person with an addiction cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Verify every statement they make.
- Do not do anything for someone with addictions they can do for themselves. Addicts can somehow travel hundreds of miles to get drugs, but will nevertheless ask others to accommodate them in the smallest ways.
- Provide only tools and encouragement. Give a telephone number where a job may be available, but don’t make the call for them.
- Hold a hard line until there is very clear, sustained, and definitive evidence they are serious about changing their behavior and overcoming their addiction.
These measures may seem uncaring and are characteristically unnatural when you truly love this person, but doing what is good for a person’s spiritual and physical wellbeing is sometimes initially painful. We understand this when we let our small children attempt to walk for the first time knowing they will fall or permitting the doctor to treat them knowing the treatment will hurt. If we want to help those with addictions by doing what is in their best interest both in the here and now and in eternity, we must make the difficult decisions that truly offer hope!