Stepping on the Road
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
• The development of tolerance to alcohol or
the chemical in question.
• A withdrawal syndrome from alcohol or the
• Use of alcohol or the chemical to avoid withdrawal
• 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.
• 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
• Poor decision making as a result of substance
• 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,
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.
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
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another
human being the exact nature of our
6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all
these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our
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.
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”
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
2. Outpatient Rehab Treatment
Such treatment takes several months and is
done under the supervision of medical and psychological
3. Individual Counseling
This is used to help motivate addicts to begin
recovery. Often families are included in the counseling
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
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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
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
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
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
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
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.
6143 Whitmore Street
Omaha, NE 68152
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
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.
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
Ten Ways to Improve Your Marriage
A Dozen Ways to Defeat Loneliness
Hope in Times of Trouble
Survival Tips for Single Parenting
Living with Loss
The Healing of Sorrow
Life After Death
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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