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    • #353710
      Rebekah Mace
      Participant
      Points: 486

      My experience in working with people under this stronghold, requires first prayer and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Science has claimed chemical dependency to be hereditary. And the person will speak of this in an attempt of justification. When approaching a chemically dependent person, NEVER speak of religion as this will set you above the person in their view. The mention of God in any form will cause the person to completely shut out any further communication, (unless of course the person has approached you seeking spiritual guidance). In truth the relationship between the person and God is shattered, the person is under the belief that their drug of choice is their best friend and salvation. Best friend as it’s always there, salvation as the underlying pain can be suppressed. Relating to the person on some level is crucial, trust is not easily gained as the person believes anyone who shows interest is a threat and attempting to sever the only reliable relationship by which their life is tolerable. Being ministers we are able to see beyond the surface of the mask, (no pun intended), relating to life, hardships etc. may open a door. However, the emotional state of chemically dependent persons is fragile yet the stance and body language often suggests the contrary. How do I communicate with chemically dependent people? I do not judge or render their point of view unrealistic because this is honestly their belief system. Sharing and relating opens the door to suggest that options are available. The person is much like a horse with blinders, they do not see or realize they have other options, they must somehow come to the realization that they have choices and it only requires, ‘A will’, their will, to make choices. Only God can change a heart but he uses us to plant seeds. If we can plant the seed that life doesn’t have to be the way by which they view. Turning the glasses around and viewing things from a different angle, has been a suggestion I’ve made which has taken root.

    • #353768
      Anita Bardowell
      Participant
      Points: 24

      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.

      • #353813
        Rodger Niemeier, Exec Elder
        Keymaster
        Points: 2,167

        Interesting. Where has been your experience that you’re sharing about? Bahamas, and on the streets?
        I would indeed find it hard to believe that 75% of seniors in churches are addicts. I’m curious as to where that statistic comes from. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised that many seniors, even Christians, are taking medications for various health conditions. I just wonder, whatever the source for this information, what “drugs” are this many seniors in churches addicted to?

        That aside, I would certainly agree that Christian pastors need to know their people (congregation) well enough to discern if indeed there are families with ongoing addictions (parents or teens/children); but they also need to understand the working of addictions and how to effectively minister to those struggling, as well as to whole families and how to help them through a process of healing and recovery (not just the addict, but all the family members affected). This is true with abuse victims as well (domestic violence; past childhood abuse, of which there is so much, even in the past lives of Christians); Christian ministers need to know how Christ ministers to those traumatized by abuse, serving in warfare (PTSD), etc. It needs to be part of church life and leadership to address these kind of issues, else the grace of Christ and truly effective ministering seem irrelevant (Out of touch with reality) and powerless: and true ministry in Christ is neither of these.

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