Addiction Free

sctousa

Addiction

Stepping on the Road

to Recovery


Dear friend,

The booklet you hold in your hands is

one in a series designed to help you with

practical “hands-on” information in your

personal search for a better life and to

help those you care most about.

No matter who you are or where in life

you are looking for answers—whether it

be marriage, health, parenting, the loss

of a loved one, overcoming an addiction,

or working through stress or financial

problems—there is help available and

there is hope.

We trust this booklet and others in the

Peacefinders series will be a blessing

to you and your family as you journey

through each passage of life.

—The Publishers


Copyright © 2011

PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.

302 Foster Road

Fort Covington, NY 12937

Printed in the USA

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission.

All rights reserved.


y Victor Parachin

A

woman tells of her ex-husband who became

hooked on painkillers and muscle

relaxants for years. “He could not hold

a job, and we lost our house, our credit and our

friends. We tried counseling and drug treatment

centers, both in-patient and out-patient, but nothing

worked.” The man continued his addiction,

becoming creative in finding doctors from out of

state, and even out of the country, who would ship

him pills.

Finally, for her own sanity and the safety of

their two children, the woman left him. Here is her

description of her husband’s life after she and the

children departed: “He fell in and out of jobs and

lived on the streets, with friends, or in homeless

shelters. All this finally caught up with him, and he

died of Hepatitis C. He had not seen his children


2

in three years and owed more than $50,000 in back

child support. He died broke and alone.”

The point of this story is not to frighten anyone

addicted to drugs. The lesson is this: that

man’s life ended in a tragic and unnecessary way.

As much as the drugs, it was the man’s refusal to

take charge of his own life which led to his family’s

separation, his loss of home, jobs, friends, and,

ultimately, his premature death.

This tragedy is not unique. According to the

US Department of Health and Human Sciences,

each year drug and alcohol abuse contributes to

the death of more than 120,000 Americans. In

addition, the Office of National Drug Control

Policy estimates that drugs and alcohol cost taxpayers

more than $143 billion annually in preventable

health care costs, extra law enforcement,

auto crashes, crime, and lost productivity. Other

studies indicate that nearly 14 million Americans

suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, and

that some 43 percent of Americans have grown

up with or are married to someone with a

drinking problem.

However, there is a far more important fact

than those cruel statistics and it is this: those

who are addicted to drugs or alcohol can change.

Although this is not easy, countless millions have

taken actions which have led them to wholeness.

You, too, can be addiction free.


Here are some important steps to take, which

will place you on the road to recovery.

1

Do a Reality Check

Take a personal inventory to determine

whether or not you may have a drinking or

drug problem. Making this determination is not a

complex matter. Just be honest with yourself, and

you’ll discover if substance use is taking over your

life. Check any of the following which apply to you:

• There is preoccupation with the use of alcohol

or a chemical between periods of use.

• Using more alcohol or the chemical than had

been anticipated.

• The development of tolerance to alcohol or

the chemical in question.

• A withdrawal syndrome from alcohol or the

chemical.

• Use of alcohol or the chemical to avoid withdrawal

symptoms.

• Repeated and unsuccessful efforts to cut

back or stop the use.

• Affected at inappropriate times (such as at

work) or when it impacts with daily functioning,

such as a hangover which makes a

person too sick for work.

• Limiting social, occupational or recreational

activities in favor of further substance use.

3


4

• Legal problems resulting from substance use.

• Continued substance use in spite of having

suffered social, emotional, professional, or

physical problems related to the use.

• Experiencing blackouts and not remembering

all or parts of a day/evening while using

the substance.

• Poor decision making as a result of substance

use.

• Missing work (if employed) or experiencing

lower grades (if in school).

• Neglecting obligations to family, friends,

work, school, etc.

• Concerns and complaints expressed by family,

friends, employer concerning substance use.

• Use of the substance to relax, sleep, socialize,

etc.

If three or more of these items are checked off,

this indicates an addiction or dependence upon a

substance. This means you should seek help immediately.

Accept responsibility for your life.

You’re the only one who can correct the problem.

No one can do this for you. Speak confidentially

with someone you trust who can guide you in the

right direction, perhaps your physician, spiritual

leader or a good friend.


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2

Find a 12-Step Program

Most self-help support groups dealing with

addictions are patterned after the TWELVE

STEPS, copyrighted by Alcoholics Anonymous

and used by other groups who also wish to bring

their lives into control.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that

our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than

ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives

over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory

of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another

human being the exact nature of our

wrongs.

6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all

these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our

shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and

became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever

possible, except when to do so would

injure them or others.


6

10. Continued to take personal inventory and

when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to

improve our conscious contact with God

as we understood Him, praying only for

knowledge of His will for us and the power

to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result

of these steps, we tried to carry this message

to alcoholics and to practice these principles

in all our affairs.

While there are other methods for dealing with

addiction, “Twelve Step” groups generally produce

the best results. A recent landmark study tested a

theory which held that alcoholism treatment would

be most effective if alcoholics were “matched” with

types of treatment programs best fitting an individual’s

personality. 1,726 alcoholics in treatment

at nine locations, over a three month period, were

studied with followup analysis made every three

months through the fifteenth month. Those 1,726

alcoholics were randomly assigned to three types

of popular treatment programs: “Twelve Step”

groups, “Motivational Enhancement Therapy,”

and “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.” While results

of treatment were “excellent in all three treatment

groups,” the “Twelve Step” program achieved the

best results. Abstinence from the fourth through


the fifteenth follow-up months was achieved by 24

percent of those treated with “Twelve Step” programs

compared to 15 percent in the “Cognitive”

program and 14 percent in the “Motivational”

program type.

3

Explore Other Treatment Options

The “Twelve Step” programs are not for all

people. If such a program just doesn’t feel

right for you, there are other options which can

be explored to break alcohol or drug addiction.

However, unlike “Twelve Step” programs, which

are usually without financial fees, other treatment

programs have expenses which are sometimes

covered by medical insurance. Here are four other

significant ways of treating substance abuse:

1. Inpatient Rehab Treatment

This is inpatient treatment at a hospital or center

running some 28 days or more. There are centers

all over America patterned after the famous

Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, California and

the Hazelton Group, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

You should check the center out first and ask

about results.

2. Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Such treatment takes several months and is

done under the supervision of medical and psychological

professionals.

7


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3. Individual Counseling

This is used to help motivate addicts to begin

recovery. Often families are included in the counseling

process.

4. Group Counseling

This is similar to individual counseling but

less costly and less intensive. Sessions take place

with a group of individuals dealing with a similar

addiction. The group is facilitated by a trained

professional.

One father and mother, whose son was persuaded

to enter an inpatient treatment center,

attended their son’s graduation from the program.

Here is their description of the positive results:

“Our son’s graduation event will forever be

etched in our memory as a rebirth of our child.

It had been so many years since we had seen him

drug or alcohol-free that we actually had a hard

time recognizing him. He looked absolutely wonderful

and his behavior was so accepting and calm.

For years we had wondered if we would ever see

our ‘real’ son again.”

4

Hand It Over to God

One woman, who has been free from drug

addiction for fifteen years, says, “I went

through five years of hell, during which I made

vows, promises and sought treatment. Nothing


helped.” A turning point came during one night

shortly after her husband and two children forced

her to leave their home because of her drug abuse.

“Truly desperate and at my wits end, I called a

church I had seen many times while driving to

and from work. The minister’s wife answered

the phone. After listening to me, she invited me

to come right over. There we both knelt at the

church altar. She prayed for me and I prayed for

myself, giving it all over to God. The next morning

when I woke up all desire for drugs was gone.

I’ve never relapsed. To stay drug free, I continue to

pray, meditate, read the Bible, and regularly attend

worship… all that keeps me close to the God who

saved me from self-destruction.”

The Bible reminds us that life-transforming

change is possible and that God’s only desire is for

our good and our wholeness. Hand your life and

your addiction over to God. Seek God’s love and

healing. Let yourself be guided and helped by focusing

on these Bible verses:

“… casting all your care upon Him, for He

cares for you.” —1 Peter 5:7

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward

you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and

not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

—Jeremiah 29:11

9


10

“Return to the Lord your God and obey His

voice, according to all that I command you

today, you and your children, with all your

heart and with all your soul, that the Lord

your God will bring you back from captivity.”

—Deuteronomy 30:2, 3

“Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry

to You.… Blessed be the Lord, because He has

heard the voice of my supplications! The Lord

is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted

in Him, and I am helped.” —Psalm 28:2, 6, 7

A passage of scripture which delivers hope

and comfort to many who have struggled with addiction

is Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters. He

restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of

righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though

I walk through the valley of the shadow of

death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You

prepare a table before me in the presence of

my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my

cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy

shall follow me all the days of my life; And I

will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”


11

5

Build a Network of Support

Get close to healthy, helpful people. Disassociate

with friends who are still involved in

substance abuse and may tempt you to continue

participating with them. This, in itself, is a vital

step. Build a new network of supportive people.

One man describes what happened when he made

the decision to stop drinking: “I had decided, along

with no more alcohol in my life, that I would limit

my contact with all of my drinking pals. However,

this quickly ceased to be an issue, because when

those friends found out I was no longer drinking,

they quit calling me. In fact, I rather abruptly

found myself without any friends. That forced me

to seek out new relationships, which I did, little

by little.”

Get yourself plugged into a loving church.

A house of worship is an ideal place to find positive,

supportive, loving people who will reinforce

your decision to be free from drugs and alcohol.

Dr. Charles Zeiders, a Christian psychologist

and clinical coordinator of Christian Counseling

Associates in the cities of West Chester and

Havertown, Pennsylvania, says: “If you get people

connected with a really healthy, vital church community,

where they are understanding themselves

as children of God rather than guys at a bar; where

they are participating in things like outreach

or volunteer services; where they are having a


12

meaningful impact on society and they are playing

a direct role—all of these things are tangible,

practical ways to incarnate the vision (of being addiction

free) and work against the addiction.”

Finally, celebrate your victory. Becoming

addiction-free is not an easy process. You have every

reason to be proud of your accomplishment.

Celebrate and savor your new found freedom

from addiction. “I’m constantly celebrating my

sobriety,” says one man who ended five years of

severe alcoholism. “I am so happy and proud over

how rich and full my life has become. The fact that

I’m alive is nothing short of a miracle. My wife and

children stayed with me. Life now has all kinds of

wonderful possibilities, which were denied to me

when I struggled with alcoholism.”

—Where to Find Help—

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc

1600 Corporate Landing Parkway

Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617

(757) 563-1600

www.al-anon.alateen.org

Al-Anon helps those over the age of 13 deal with

alcohol problems in their families. Write them or

check the white pages for a group in your area.


A.A. World Services, Inc.

P.O. Box 459

New York, NY 10163

(212) 870-3400

www.aa.org

AA will provide free referrals for those seeking

recovery from alcohol problems. AA is also listed in

the white pages of local telephone directories.

Narcotics Anonymous and World Services Office

P.O. Box 9999

Van Nuys, CA 91409

(818) 773-9999

www.na.org

This organization provides general reference services for

those seeking recovery from narcotics addiction. NA is also

listed in the white pages of local telephone directories.

PRIDE

6143 Whitmore Street

Omaha, NE 68152

(402) 397-3309

www.pride.org

PRIDE collects information about drug use and

young adults with the purpose of aiding drug

abuse prevention through education.

Women for Sobriety. Inc.

P.O. Box 618

Quakertown, PA 18951-0618

(215) 536-8026

www.womenforsobriety.org

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WFS offers a variety of literature and referrals to local

support groups. You can also use the yellow pages or internet

to find information, support groups, and treatment centers.


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—HELPFUL BOOKS—

Information is liberating and knowledge is empowering.

Here are some books which can provide you with important

information and inspiration to become free of addiction.

Straight Talk About Drinking: Teenagers Speak Out

Wayne Coffey, Dutton Publishers, 1988.

Coping With Drug Abuse

Gabrielle I. Edwards, Rosen Publishing Group, 1991.

Sober For Good

Anne M. Fletcher, Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Getting Started in AA

B. Hamilton, Hazeldon Publishers, 1995.

Addiction Free: How to Help

An Alcoholic or Addict Get Started on Recovery

Gene Hawes and Anderson Hawes, St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate:

A Workbook For Overcoming Addictions

Thomas A. Horvath, Impact Publishers, 1998.

Take Control Now!

Mark Kern, PhD. Addiction Alternatives, 1994.

Coping With Substance Abuse

Rhoda McFarland, Rosen Publishing Group, 1990.

Straight Talk About Drugs and Alcohol

Elizabeth A. Ryan, Facts on File Publishers, 1995.


Other titles available in

the Peacefinder book series:

You Can Stop Smoking

Addiction Free

Ten Ways to Improve Your Marriage

A Dozen Ways to Defeat Loneliness

Hope in Times of Trouble

Money Management

Stress Management

Survival Tips for Single Parenting

Successful Parenting

Living with Loss

The Healing of Sorrow

Life After Death

Medical Miracle

Gentle Ways to Ease Depression

To order additional titles, visit our online

bookstore at www.peacefinders.org

or call 1-800-728-6872.


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PROJECT: Steps to Christ, Inc.

PO Box 131 • Fort Covington, NY 12937

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