Autogenous Drug Addiction: The Reality
The burden of choice:
The world into which we bear our gospel is filled with irrational, self-destructive behavior. Christians often find this reality difficult to see from the pew of Bible-Believing Churches. We become naive to such trouble by fidelity to God’s word and repeated warnings from honest pulpits. Yet, individuals of this world are not so fortunate, their destructive behavior is often encouraged, not corrected. Without watchmen warning them of danger ahead, they’re ravaged by sin and tossed by every whim. Their own free-will and its resulting freedom of choice are the worst of enemies. A life of revelry along with indulgence in every seasonal, yet sinful, pleasure feeds their desire to awake and seek it yet again.
People need the Lord!
One distinct characteristic of man, further proving separation from animals, is with full conscious aptitude choosing to harm himself. One example is the autogenous (self-produced and self-generated) nature of drug use. When difficulties arise, with no friend that sticketh closer than a brother, man deceives himself into thinking substance abuse is the escape. They know not the Great Physician, they seek not his assistance. The choice is made to obscure difficulties through alcohol or drug use. Rather than bringing bodies into subjection, they give themselves over to a life dominated by uncontrolled feelings and addiction.
The disease and its cause:
Labeling addiction a “disease” has become the catch-all counterfeit explanation. How profound, an illness whose cause is snorting, smoking or injecting the object thereof. Just as ludicrous is the modern approach to treatment. Rehabilitation created a world in which addicts are coddled. Continued contraction of this unfortunate disease motivates money making facilities to help subjects of this infirmity through their doors. The addicts and the rehab facilities alike work to help us understand addiction is just as incurable as cancer or GRID. Effectively expressing this idea relieves the addict from responsibility and fuels the rehab industries greatest need: patients. Rough city streets and rehab centers are the perpetual ditch that addicts find themselves repeatedly falling into.
Addicts have mastered the art of manipulation and enjoy successfully practicing its methods of deceit. Sadly, societies and doctors have become the manipulated. This creates a vicious circle of revolving doors at treatment centers where the same faces pass through repeatedly, but rarely gain victory. Thousands of dollars are charged by these facilities to bring addicts in and diagnose them unfortunate victims of a deadly disease. The price to receive this diagnosis is so high only federal, state and local governments would be silly enough to cover the cost.
Predator vs Prey:
The choice to use drugs (the “use” of drugs is the “abuse” of drugs) is an explosive epidemic. Never have we been more rich and comfortable, yet something is clearly missing. Cities and towns once known for their people of strength and character are now encroached upon by tent cities. Lewd fellows of the baser sort inhabit these areas seeking whom they may devour. These individuals chose to abandon all responsibility but one, awake and seek it yet again. They lurk at night because their deeds are evil. Incapable of finding the help they need, somehow they are capable of committing violations necessary to obtain their next fix. Citizens are preyed upon by the drug user, the drug user is preyed upon by the dealer, and the rehab center benefits from the existence of them all.
Cheap manufacture of crack and heroin once satisfied the profit margins of zealous drug dealers. Being good stewards of their chosen craft, it’s only natural they should seek to improve business outlook. Cheap production of crack and heroin no longer suffice, not if something easier and cheaper to manufacture comes along. Effortless production along with dealers “fortune 500” mentalities produced the explosion of fentanyl. America broke into a frenzy when the new “disease of addiction” related to fentanyl caused the death of an estimated 70,000 people in 2017. While I understand the concern for such large numbers of deaths, I’m confused by the lack of alarm over 88,000 people dying consistently each year from alcohol use. But of course this particular drug (alcohol) is legal and the highest members of government are users. So this disease will be allowed to linger. Why let epic death tolls rid social butterflies of their substance of choice?
Furthermore, cities see the influx of alcohol to their communities in the form of bars, clubs and liquor stores, as great ways to increase revenue. I wonder, does this make local mayors and city councils dealers? Or addicts using their position of power to facilitate their “disease”? Whatever the chosen substance of abuse the demand is ultimately what facilitates its continued existence. The broad spectrum of users is scary, it seems its reach is nearly boundless.
Rebellious teens and preteens leave good homes and troubled homes in large number for the streets. Their minds have been ideally prepared for addiction. Subjected to the ideologies of this world they are encouraged to abdicate responsibility. They have been taught freedom is the lack of responsibility, therefore forsaking responsibility is equal to gaining freedom. Character has never been required of them, over-indulged satisfaction and self-defined happiness are their life objectives. With this mental conditioning, they hit the streets often never to be seen again (if they are seen again, a few months of street life and drug abuse render them unrecognizable).
The hope of these young hearts is to escape the bondage of a home with rules and expectations. Others are escaping a home where they are subject to abuse (the array of possible abuses is mind-numbing). These prefer a choice in their abuse running to the drug-addicted streets and entering a world of manipulation and vice. Drug dealers sell them a dream, one they know not to be true but dissatisfaction with their current situation makes the deception seem possible.
This phenomenon is not harming teens only, adults from a wide array of our society find themselves under this same deception. I once preached to a NASA engineer that was passing through the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in Orlando, Florida. A man of great potential whose only hindrance was his noncompliance to personal responsibility; save those required to stay at the rescue mission of course. He exchanged fortitude to face life’s problems with an escape into the obscurity of city streets. This choice produces lives ravaged by addiction, criminal activity, routine violence, odd sexual perversion, and frequent trips to jail. It’s a continual spiral downward.
Help will not be sought until years of destructive behavior have taken their toll. When the cry for help finally comes, it will be heard by a rehab facility that will inform them they are simply victims of a disease. They can provide a sense of rehabilitation, but there is no cure. Once there, they will need thousands of dollars to cover the costs or insurance that will pay for rehabilitation, or they will need to have gotten in enough trouble that a government body will pay for their “treatment.” If sufficient means of payment is produced, they stay long enough to recover their bodies strength then return back to the streets to start the cycle all over again.
Help or expansion:
Addicts are complicit in their troubles and thus victims of nothing more than their choices. If this isn’t understood up front there will be no cure due to separation from the cause. The complete failure by an abundance of treatment facilities is evidence that this is not a contracted illness. It’s the result of years of bad choices developing entrenched habits. Further exacerbating these habits, clinics replace illegal drugs for legal drugs. Ultimately, the addict exchanges drug dealers and the substance they use. This has not at all improved the situation for the addict or the street dealer, revenue moved from one dealer to another and the addict moved from one drug to another.
Addicts gain from rehab clinics a safe place to enjoy drug-induced sleep. They are given enough food to cure the starvation that consumed them in the streets. Drug addicts often emerge from the streets resembling prisoners of Nazi concentration camps. “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” An addict’s freedom to make choices results in self-inflicted abuse resembling prisoners of war. Left to their own devices, these individuals provide themselves less humane care than would be received in the worst of prisons.
An ever-increasing number of Americans lack the character needed to live with freedom. Addicts labor not to be caught performing their evil deeds. Yet when caught they are relieved to be incarcerated. This temporary getaway in prison is an improvement over their current situation. They receive what is considered a vacation, at taxpayer expense, from the realities of daily street life. Once refreshed, clean and healthy they are released long enough to need another vacation. What is so curious is addicts are able to put away their disease (addiction) during their time locked up. If only cancer patients could at opportune times set their disease and its brutal symptoms aside for months of temporary relief. It seems only addiction comes with this characteristic of convenience, the cancer patient will just have to suffer.
Disease or morality:
As mentioned, rehabilitation approaches addiction as though it were a medical disease. They refuse to consider it a moral problem in people that lack character. Addiction must never be thought of as the result of personal choice. The addict is in no way responsible, they are victims to be handled with care and sensitivity. This approach to rehabilitation is the offspring of the idea that the height of morality is to remain non-judgmental. We could also include it’s co-conspirator and usual suspect ideology of esteeming self.
Suggesting addiction is the outcome of personal choice may somehow lower self-esteem (as though there were something present to esteem) and would be judgmental. Of course, the proponents of these ideas call the police when a person suffering from the disease of addiction breaks into their home. I suppose the resulting arrest and judgment has no bearing on their self-esteem.
The true nature of help:
I write this essay having spent ample time ministering in prisons, rescue missions, street corners and in one-on-one discipleship with addicts. I have compassion for them all, but a few of them are dear to my heart. I understand their lives are the result of having no Good Shepherd to guide them. When ministering in the form of public evangelism on the streets, we are often approached by addicts. They nearly all say the same things, “I just want some help.” To which I respond, “Great, what have you done today to get that help?”
The disingenuous immediately respond with righteous indignation along with unrighteous language. The sincere addict truly interested in help puts their head down in shame, there may actually be hope for this person. They realize at that moment they live in a country full of opportunity to receive help, but no choice has been made to receive that help. Numerous organizations have been established to assist drug addicts in victory over addiction. I am not making reference here to the $35 billion per year rehab industry. I am referring to true samaritans that take a biblical approach to restoration. Links to a few of them will be listed at the end of this article.
These organizations understand the biblical requirements of accountability. Personal accountability for choices is highly important, a reality lacking in every other form of rehabilitation. The world’s approach is to remove accountability of any sort. This lack of focus on individual choice allows the addict to continually escape victory rather than escaping addiction. Drug addiction is a choice made and a condition sought after, it is not a disease contracted. I understand that after years of abuse it becomes a difficult choice to abandon, but it is a choice nonetheless. If addicts are not held personally accountable and the people in their lives are not willing to bear out this accountability they will continue in self-inflicted misery. In the end, they are rewarded for their behavior and thereby encouraged. What’s sad is this by the very people that have set themselves in place to help them. The disease of addiction has become the manufactured product of this multi-billion dollar industry.
My suggested solution:
Multitudes of people are hurting and in need of divers help. Life’s trials and heartaches are often the gates that lead to drug addiction. An unwillingness to stand courageous and face life’s troubles lead the weak minded down the path of cowardice. They escape reality through the use of some substance that will rob them of their sobriety. Others venture down this road in search of what they presume will be a good time. They wake years later wondering what happened to time.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” An improper approach to life will cause years of frustrations compounded by life’s issues. This frustration, if not properly dealt with, will manifest itself through worry, care, anxiety, depression, doubt, fear, heartache, etc. Man’s sin has already separated between him and his God, add mismanagement of life and man is soon consumed. Rejection of God ensures lack of wisdom, then as trouble approaches nothing of substance exists to properly handle life. Men rush to cover their transgressions as Adam and to hide their iniquity, that is until their sin finds them out. They refuse to meet their problems head-on, instead, they hide and they cover only to further aggravate the situation. It builds within them, they isolate themselves, they ruin relationships until finally, they feel they must escape.
Adam disobeyed the instruction God gave him in the garden and chose to sin instead. As a result, in Genesis 3:10, Adam explained to God that he was afraid and hid. Yet the Lord still sought him, calling his name, looking for fellowship with his creation. This same progression takes place in people’s lives today, ultimately they sin against God and they abuse relationships with people that love them. The solution is to trust God by seeking the word of God. Why continue down the hard path of transgression?
It seems all to consistent man today rarely considers their approach to life. Instead, they dive in giving no consideration to consequence. A thing rarely seen under the sun is a man willing to slow down long enough to consider the matter before making a decision. Today the very idea of absolute truth is almost wholeheartedly rejected, as though its absence were absolutely true. Use of objective data would require time and consideration; not to mention the possibility that data might conflict with personal feelings. This lazy approach to life is why so many are double-minded and unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). This subjective approach to life will cause a total sum of disorder directly proportional to the individuals emotional whims.
We escape such tossing to and fro by a firm stance on the word of God, which is absolutely true. “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.” Aligning our thoughts with the word of God is vital, his word gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness. It’s the word of God that provides a firm foundation on which to stand, a light for our path and a lamp for our feet. Anyone interested could exchange stumbling in darkness with walking in truth and light. “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The God of the Bible is pleased when we seek refuge in his word. We must be willing to forsake our ways and abandon our thoughts, replacing each with God’s instruction. This approach to life will cause the Lord to have mercy and to abundantly pardon. The comfort this will provide your troubled heart is the first step in the direction of a joyful life.
“Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?” You will have to make a personal decision to escape the illusions of the world and follow the Lord’s direction. Those of you among the members of our society trapped in addiction, the world’s philosophies will keep you there. The current system of help is set up in such a way to bolster addiction. The world’s system of rehabilitation is, unfortunately, a system addicted to addicts.
Fortunately, the disease is not airborne, but the ideology behind rehabilitation spreads faster than the black plague. I encourage you to forgo the endless cycle of rehabilitation and abandon the self-serving cunningly devised fables used to paint a picture of victimhood. Essentially what I am asking is that you forsake your wicked ways and your unrighteous thoughts and seek the Lord while he may be found. Refusing responsibility will only prolong and encourage your troubles. Continued rejection of God’s word will ensure a change in direction is never found. Without the help of Jesus Christ, you will stay the course headed straight for the angry billows of your decisions. Repentance is essential, foundational in repentance is acknowledging your responsibility for the trouble at hand, then turning from that mindset in obedience to the Bible.
The sooner you cease to see yourself a helpless victim in the grip of terrible suffering, the sooner you may begin settling on solid ground. There is a God in heaven that desires your dependence on him. Continuing to choose dependence on a substance only exacerbates the damage. I encourage you to seek Jesus Christ with the same tenacity you would your next fix, become addicted to him and see just how good is this Lord of glory!