Lenten Reflection – Drug Abuse and Drug Addiction

Our Lenten worship and theme has included many reflections on addiction.  The following basic information is from a resource entitled Close to Home: Drug Addiction and is produced by Faith and Life Resources of Mennonite Publishing Network.  If you have more questions or would like to talk confidentially about anything this information raises, please seek out any one of our pastors.

Definition: Drug abuse is the use of any drug – prescription, over the counter, or illegal – in unhealthy ways, leading to social, physical, emotional, and job-related problems.  Addiction develops when a person becomes chemically and psychologically dependent on the continued abuse of drugs.  The addictive power of drugs varies, depending on the substance and and on the person’s set of risk factors.  Some addictions develop more quickly than others, depending on the drug and the person.

Categories of Drug Use:

  • Experimentation
  • Abuse
  • Addiction or dependency

Risk Factors: No single factor can predict addiction.  The more factors present, the greater the chances that drug use will lead to addiction.

  • Lack of skills in dealing with stress
  • Personal history
  • Mental health
  • Biology
  • Environment
  • Developmental stages
  • Biology and environment together

Steps toward healing:

  1. Know you are not alone
  2. Come into the open: go to a loved one, friend, physician, or pastor and let them know you want to face the problem.
  3. Seek the right professional help
  4. Invite family and friends to participate in your recovery
  5. Educate yourself
  6. Stay the course: recovery may be lifelong; grounding in faithful community can help you stay focused on your healing journey

If your loved one is addicted to drugs, recovery is more effective when involved people have realistic yet optimistic expectations about the process.  Express comments with non-judgmental caring and concern and avoid labeling the person an “addict.”  Talk in “I” statements and be prepared for denial, resentment, and rejection.  Be supportive and hopeful about change.