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My experience is different from yours in that ministry to the street differs from the ministry to addicts dwelling within the churches. There, the subject of religion is not forbidden. It is expected that they will be asked about their commitments to Christ. The difficulty is prayerfully timing the moment of impact when a drug addicted elder in the church discovers their doctor’s prescriptions have become their bondage and they are trapped.
For years, my husband worked as a trouble shooter for three different denominations. He was sent into towns to attack drug dealers on the street, claim the town for Christ and push back the criminals who had begun to infiltrate the churches. Usually, there was at least one doctor who wrote prescriptions, received “kick-backs” from the pharmaceutical companies, and bought his way into the Bahamas. Over the years, we became widely known to the police force at the state and even federal levels. (No one ever wants to admit they are in need of a demon-hunter and exorcist.) We only stayed two years in any town but it was very hard to work our job with the howls of Christians in our ears!
Each time we achieved the absence of drug dealers in the streets of a small town, there was an immediate blow-back of frustration from the Christian churches. Most pastors did not understand WHY the elders of their churches were so angry, frustrated and wanted us to pack and leave. It was sad to have to educate churchmen in the reality of the American “medication addiction cycle”. Perhaps we have been too syrupy and sugar-coated. Perhaps we need to be more blunt, less nice and make our people KNOW that chemical dependency is rampant.
Currently, it is estimated that 75% of our senior citizens who claim membership in a church are ADDICTS.
We NEED our pastors to take off the rosy tinted glasses and SEE the reality of chemical dependency.