One of the most difficult choices to make during one’s journey, is the choice to take ownership of personal choices. We like to label addiction as a “disease” or place blame on our past, but at the end of the day our choices are what have brought us to where we are today. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (NLT) When we look at addiction through the lens of Scripture, the “choice” is made clear. When faced with the decision of life and death, nobody else makes the decision for us. The choice is ours. Do we choose life or do we choose death?
Many will argue that addicts have no choice, that the disease makes the choices for them. This could not be further from the truth. We make choices everyday. We choose to get out of bed, dress, go to work, eat, socialize, and so on. Why do we make these choices? We make these choices because we know that they are good for us. If someone placed a glass full of poison in front of us and asked us to drink it, most would choose to walk away. Why? Because, we know that the substance is dangerous and could be lethal. The same principal applies to addiction. I have yet to meet an addict who said, “I didn’t know that drugs/alcohol would hurt me.” My experience has been quite the opposite. Everyone that I have worked with has at some point admitted to knowing the dangers of substance abuse, yet they made the choice to use despite the dangers.
Our job, our philosophy, our mission, is to help individuals come to the end of self. It is at this point that they can begin to take ownership of their choices and move forward on the path of healing. Without truly understanding the weight of our choices, it is impossible to renew our minds and begin the process of transformation. (Romans 12:2) Addiction is rarely the problem. The underlying wounds are the true issue. These wounds, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by the hands of others, must be addressed before true recovery can begin. These wounds create a void. By nature, our first inclination is to find someone or something to fill that void. It is not until we understand that a God sized void cannot be filled by a man sized fix, that a true, honest, dialogue can begin between the clinician and their patient. The soul longs for a relationship with its Creator, our job is to create an environment where that relationship can begin, grow, and flourish.
Jarod Cruthis, MA, Ed.D, LCAS, CSI