Addiction, Recovery, and The Church

  by Dr. Regina Marie Baldwin

What is Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the largest professional society of doctors dedicated to treating and preventing addiction, has released a new definition of addiction, calling it a chronic brain disorder, not just a behavior problem. The medical group announced the new definition after a four-year process that involved more than 80 experts.

Two decades of neuroscience have uncovered how addiction hijacks different parts of the brain, to explain what prompts those behaviors and why they can be so hard to overcome. The society’s policy statement, published on its web site, isn’t a new direction as much as part of an effort to translate those findings to primary care doctors and the general public. 

“At its core, addiction isn’t just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It’s a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas,” Dr. Michael Miller, Past President of ASAM, who oversaw the development of the new definition stated. “Many behaviors driven by addiction are real problems and sometimes criminal acts. But the disease is about brains, not drugs. It’s about underlying neurology, not outward actions.

This marks the first time ASAM has taken an official position that addiction is not simply related to substance abuse. The group said outward behaviors of substance abuse are manifestations of underlying disease that involve different parts of the brain. According to the new definition, addiction is a primary disease, not the result of other causes such as psychiatric problems. ASAM notes addiction is chronic and must be managed throughout a person’s lifetime.

Dr. Raju Hajela, Past President of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, who chaired the ASAM committee that came up with the new definition, said addiction is not a choice. “The disease creates distortions in thinking, feelings and perceptions, which drive people to behave in ways that are not understandable to others around them.”

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), told USA Today the new definition will help her agency convince more primary care doctors to screen patients for signs of addiction. According to NIDA, 23 million Americans need substance abuse treatment, but only two million receive it.

Make no mistake: Patients still must choose to fight back and treat an addiction, stresses Miller, medical director of the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wis.  But understanding some of the brain reactions at the root of the problem will “hopefully reduce some of the shame about some of these issues, hopefully reduce stigma,” he says.

Christian Drug & Alcohol Addiction:

Christian drug addiction is a heartbreaking experience for individuals, their families, and churches. No one intentionally sets out to become a full-fledged drug addict or alcoholic. Yet despite all the warnings millions of people become addicts. Why? Because prior to that first puff, snort, or drink, the mind has already been self deceived by thinking: “I won’t become addicted, I know when to stop or I can handle a few drinks or getting high a few times.”

But, God’s Word, the Bible, gets right to the heart of the problem by telling us what mind-altering substances do to the heart. Why? God cares about the chemical dependent person and wants the best for them. Alcohol and drugs do more harm to an individual than what meets the eye.

Hosea 4:10 says “…prostitution, old wine and new wine have taken away their understanding”.

Other versions state that “prostitution, old wine and new wine take away the heart”.  The heart is where our natural feelings and understanding is and anyone who has had a struggle with drug addiction knows that all sense and understanding do leave when the bondage and oppression of drug or any other kind of addiction takes over.  Through the years, I have seen loving mothers, responsible fathers, children with drive, manner and unlimited possibilities become deceived into believing that they will be the ones that don’t get ensnared.  The great old definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  That’s what substance abuse and addiction cause the best individuals including Christians to do…wives, friends, children, business partners, responsibilities, drive, purpose and of course spirituality wind up all tying for last place.  As I read and posted the mind boggling statistic that 23 million people are in bondage to drug addiction but only 2 million get help each year, I couldn’t help but think “Where is the church community in all of this? How Christ must grieve over how superficial weekly services are.  Have a heart attack and your refrigerator will be full with home made good ole fashion macaroni and cheese casseroles and all sorts of goodies.  Your name would most likely be in the bulletin for prayer and visitors would frequent asking if there was anything they could do for you or your family.  What about all the people suffering the heart wrenching agony of addiction.  Addiction doesn’t just destroy it’s captive…it destroys all the lives associated with it.  The enabling turned into dreadful realizations that your child or life long partner has put drugs before every person and every thing that matters in their life.

Why is it when it comes to the most serious personal and social issues, it seems like the Evangelical Church suddenly gets stupid. Please forgive my candor but when you add up the countless victims of alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and throw mental illness in the mix…what happened to the Body of Christ carrying one another’s burdens?  It’s almost like going to a doctors appointment and forgetting why you’re there.  Don’t we believe in all powerful, all knowing, perfectly loving God who sacrificed His Only Son, Jesus for every one of our sins and infirmities.  I am positive that the issues I mentioned are covered under the Blood of Christ also.  Why does the Evangelical Church always seem to be years behind the infirmities that plague our society as though our salvation makes us exempt from living the human experience?  Why should countless members in the Body of Christ be made to feel as though they are weak willed, have little faith and when God uses a process instead of a miracle to heal, why do we leave our brothers and sisters alone when they need us most?

Is addiction a sin or a disease?  Does it matter?  As long as we are living a spiritual life in a human body we will fight the good fight.  Mental illness is a disease.  Yes, it is sin, generational, biological, chemical, environmental, social and other factors and yes, God does still heal.  However, we must stop putting human limitations on God.  Just when you think you have it figured out, He’ll move in the most unexpected way.  Personally, I don’t think God cares as much about whether we take medication or not to manage symptoms if we need them as much as He cares about the process of who we are becoming in Christ.   It doesn’t matter how much research is done.  There will be people that will always think it’s a matter of will or those who believe that it’s a matter of faith despite all the proof you can muster.

This Sunday, when ministers survey their I flocks, they will be looking at congregations consisting mostly of people who have been or are being drastically harmed by alcoholism or drug abuse. Most will not even be able to hear the gospel message, much less respond to it. This fact will probably be lost on the preachers, however, because in most cases they also will have come from a dysfunctional family — one in which expression of emotions is discouraged or repressed, usually through compulsive substance abuse. It will be a case of the blind leading the blind.

The Impact on Childhood Development

Exposure to parental SUDs during childhood also can have dire consequences for children. Compared to children of parents who do not abuse alcohol or drugs, children of parents who do, and who also are in the child welfare system, are more likely to experience physical, intellectual, social, and emotional problems. Among the difficulties in providing services to these children is that problems affected or compounded by their parents’ SUDs might not emerge until later in their lives.68

This section summarizes some of the consequences of SUDs on childhood development, including a disruption of the bonding process; emotional, academic, and developmental problems; lack of supervision; parentification; social stigma; and adolescent substance use and delinquency.

Disruption of the Bonding Process

When mothers or fathers abuse substances after delivery, their ability to bond with their child—so important during the early stages of life—may be weakened. In order for an attachment to form, it is necessary that caregivers pay attention to and notice their children’s attempts to communicate. Parents who use marijuana, for example, may have difficulty picking up their babies’ cues because marijuana dulls response time and alters perceptions. When parents repeatedly miss their babies’ cues, the babies eventually stop providing them. The result is disengaged parents with disengaged babies. These parents and babies then have difficulty forming a healthy, appropriate relationship.


Neglected children who are unable to form secure attachments with their primary caregivers may:

  • Become more mistrustful of others and may be less willing to learn from adults

  • Have difficulty understanding the emotions of others, regulating their own emotions, or forming and maintaining relationships with others

  • Have a limited ability to feel remorse or empathy, which may mean that they could hurt others without feeling their actions were wrong.

  • Demonstrate a lack of confidence or social skills that could hinder them from being successful in school, work, and relationships

  • Demonstrate impaired social cognition, which is awareness of oneself in relation to others as well as of others’ emotions. Impaired social cognition can lead a person to view many social interactions as stressful.


Emotional, Academic, and Developmental Problems

Children who experience either prenatal or postnatal drug exposure are at risk for a range of emotional, academic, and developmental problems. For example, they are more likely to:

  • Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • Suffer from psychiatric disorders

  • Exhibit behavior problems

  • Score lower on school achievement tests

  • Demonstrate other difficulties in school.


These children may behave in ways that are challenging for biological or foster parents to manage, which can lead to inconsistent care giving and multiple alternative care placements.

Positive social and emotional child development generally has been linked to nurturing family settings in which caregivers are predictable, daily routines are respected, and everyone recognizes clear boundaries for acceptable behaviors. Such circumstances often are missing in the homes of parents with SUDs. As a result, extra supports and interventions are needed to help children draw upon their strengths and maximize their natural potential despite their home environments. Protective factors, such as the in
volvement of other supportive adults (e.g., extended family members, mentors, clergy, teachers, neighbors), may help mitigate the impact of parental SUDs.

Lack of Supervision
The search for drugs or alcohol, the use of scarce resources to pay for them, the time spent in illegal activities to raise money for them, or the time spent recovering from hangovers or withdrawal symptoms can leave parents with little time or energy to care properly for their children. These children frequently do not have their basic needs met and often do not receive appropriate supervision. In addition, rules about curfews and potentially dangerous activities may not be enforced or are enforced haphazardly. As a result, SUDs are often a factor in neglect cases.


As children grow older, they may become increasingly aware that their parents cannot care for them. To compensate, the children become the caregivers of the family, often extending their care giving behavior to their parents as well as younger siblings. This process is labeled “parentification.”

Parentified children carry a great deal of anxiety and sometimes go to great lengths to control or to eliminate their parents’ use of drugs or alcohol. They feel responsible for running the family. These feelings are reinforced by messages from the parents that the children cause the parents’ SUDs or are at fault in some way if the family comes to the attention of authorities. Sometimes these children must contact medical personnel in the case of a parent’s overdose, or they may be left supervising and caring for younger children when their parents are absent while obtaining or abusing substances.

Social Stigma

Adults with SUDS may engage in behaviors that embarrass their children and may appear disinterested in their children’s activities or school performance. Children may separate themselves from their parents by not wanting to go home after school, by not bringing friends to the house, or by not asking for help with homework. These children may feel a social stigma attached to certain aspects of their parents’ lives, such as unemployment, homelessness, an involvement with the criminal justice system, or SUD treatment.

Adolescent Substance Use and Delinquency

Adolescents whose parents have SUDs are more likely to develop SUDs themselves. Some adolescents mimic behaviors they see in their families, including ineffective coping behaviors such as using drugs and alcohol. Many of these children also witness or are victims of violence. It is hypothesized that substance abuse is a coping mechanism for such traumatic events.72 Moreover, adolescents who use substances are more likely to have poor academic performance and to be involved in criminal activities. The longer children are exposed to parental SUD, the more serious the negative consequences may be for their overall development and well-being.

Consider the Following: 

• One of eight adults in America is suffering from some form of chemical dependency. One dependent person has a harmful impact on five to eight other people, including all family members.If these statements sound inflammatory, consider the following:

• About 17 million people suffer from alcoholism; 25 percent of these are teenagers.

• Nearly half (47 percent, or 81 million) of the adults in the United States have at some point, to some degree, suffered physical, psychological or social harm as a result of someone else’s drinking; 21 million say they have suffered greatly.

• One in three children coming to school for the first time is crucially impaired by someone’s alcoholism or drug abuse. The same can be said of children attending church school.

This data means that many church members are so sick from chemical dependency — their own or that of a friend or relative — that they are incapable of helping themselves. They don’t even realize how much they have been hurt.

The number of ministers scarred by substance abuse who are seeking to help parishioners who bear the same scars is alarming. In regional training seminars I’ve conducted for denominational clergy and lay leaders, a show of hands has indicated that 80 percent of clergy present have come from families debilitated by substance abuse, and they were aware that it had drastically harmed them. For many this history was a determining factor in the decision to enter the ministry — “hope of the Lord’s salvation,” as it were.

A show of hands among the lay leaders has revealed a similar percentage. These lay leaders said they looked to their churches and clergy for help, support and God’s affirming love. Ironically, in so doing they often put their trust in dysfunctional people and places. Still another disturbing fact, well known among chemical dependency counselors, is that people who grew up in dysfunctional families attract and are drawn to others who grew up in such families. Therefore, impaired pastors often collect impaired parishioners. No wonder that the church at large, and the clergy in particular, have difficulty recognizing and dealing with today’s epidemic affliction of addiction. The church and its leaders are clearly among the afflicted, if not the addicted. A minister recently wrote the editors of Changes, a magazine for adult children of alcoholics, to confess, “I have realized that throughout my ministry I have accepted calls to congregations that replicate the dynamics of the alcoholic family in which I was raised. This insight . . . has helped me discover why my career has been so chaotic” (January-February 1988, p. 78)

Facts about Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Substance Dependency is a Disease

Alcohol is such a big part of American life today that we rarely stop to consider our pattern of drinking. We drink wine with dinner, or have a few drinks after work, or even a few beers while watching a ball game, but when a pattern of drinking begins to emerge, it can become a problem.

Drug use in America is also more commonplace than it once was. In today’s teenage population over 90 percent have used alcohol. Over 50 percent have used marijuana, 17 percent admit to trying cocaine and 12.5 percent have used some form of hallucinogen.

Why Do We Drink or Use Drugs?

  • Many people feel that it is necessary to drink or experiment with drugs when at parties and social gatherings.

  • Some people drink or abuse drugs as a way to cope with the daily stress and tension from school or work, or to cope with other problems such as marital distress or even physical illness.

  • Alcohol and drugs may become a substitute for satisfying personal relationships, challenging work or self-fulfillment.

  • Some may use alcohol and drugs as a way to compensate for feelings of guilt, shyness or low self-esteem.


When drinking or drug use becomes a means for coping with life’s problems it can turn into addiction. Unfortunately alcohol and some drugs have become more socially acceptable, and this makes it even easier for people to experiment at younger ages. In addition, alcohol and drugs are readily accessible to many of today’s youth, which further increases the likelihood that they will use substances at some time.

Did You Know?

  • The average age of first experimentation with drugs is 13, and for alcohol it is even younger. Drug use has been classified as a major problem for kids as early as fourth grade by the students themselves.

  • Alcohol is the most widely used drug in America. It is the third largest cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease and cancer. Alcohol and tobacco use are a significant “risk factor” in heart disease and cancer. It accounts for over 100,000 deaths per year in this country alone. It is also the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.

  • Alcohol and other drugs contribute to over 50 percent of all suicides and over 50 percent of all violent crimes.

  • Over 60 percent of admissions to emergency rooms are either directly or indirectly due to drug or alcohol usage.

  • Over 50 percent of all traffic accidents involve the use of drugs or alcohol, with many of these being fatal.

  • It is estimated that drugs and alcohol are a factor in at least 80 percent of domestic violence incidents.

  • Alcohol and drug use contributes to 60 percent of all sub-standard job performance and at least 40 percent of all industrial accidents.

  • Alcohol and drug addiction are treatable. However, it is our most untreated disease in the United States. It is estimated that 35 out of 36 alcoholics never receive treatment of any kind. This number is increased significantly when drug addiction of all kinds is included.

  • More than 60 percent of college women who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, herpes or AIDS were intoxicated at the time of infection.

  • 28 percent of all college dropouts are alcohol users.

  • Between 1986 and 1996, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests were highest for 21-year-olds.

  • Individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are involved in more than one-third of all alcohol related traffic accidents.

  • 95 percent of all college campus violence is alcohol related.

  • More than 40 percent of all college students with academic problems are alcohol users.


Acute Physical Effects

  • Increased heart rate and skin temperature;

  • Impaired muscle control causing poor coordination, slurred speech, impaired motor skills;

  • Dizziness, vomiting, vision problems; and

  • Loss of consciousness, respiratory arrest and death.


Acute Effects on Mental Abilities

  • Judgment is frequently the first mental capacity affected by alcohol. Poor decision making, rapid decision making, not being realistic in decisions is common;

  • Poor attention and concentration;

  • Loss of inhibitions-we say things or do things that we normally would not;

  • Exaggerated emotion (anger, fear, anxiety, sadness); and/or

  • Blackouts with loss of memory for events.


Long Terms Effects of Alcohol Use

  • Nutritional deficiencies effecting mental abilities;

  • Damage to physical organs including the brain, liver, heart, stomach;

  • Breakdown of bone and muscle tissue;

  • Memory loss or impairment;

  • Impaired attention and concentration;

  • Inability to get along with others;

  • Difficulty coping with school or employment demands; and/or

  • Alcohol withdrawal effects-tremors, excessive perspiration, hallucinations.

Do You Have a Drug or Alcohol Problem?

Denial is the main symptom of drug users and alcoholics. They deny that they really have a problem. This makes it more difficult for them to be realistic about the extent of their substance use, and to recognize that it may be a problem.

Test Yourself!

  1. Have you ever felt like you should cut down on your drinking or drug use?   Yes   No

  2. Have you ever felt irritated by criticism of your drinking and drug use?  Yes  No

  3. Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking, drug use or your behavior during its use?  Yes  No

  4. Do you ever take a drink or use drugs in the morning?  Yes  No


If you answered yes to one of these questions, the possibility that you are alcohol or drug dependent is significantly increased. This may also mean that although you are not dependent on drugs or alcohol at this time, you could become dependent if your pattern of abuse continues.

If you answered yes to two of the these questions, it is very likely that you are dependent on drugs or alcohol.

If you answered yes to three or four of these questions, there is a greater than 95 percent chance that you are dependent on drugs or alcohol. Please seek assistance for your drug or alcohol problem immediately.

What is the Next Step?

If you think that you may have an alcohol or drug problem there are many sources of assistance that are available to you. For treatment or referral information:

  • Call Dr. Baldwin at 1-471-731-8354 for a free consultation and the proper referral for you in your area. Biblical  Interventions can offer you many different types of treatment and treatment settings.  Call now to find out which is best for you. Some available options include: individual counseling, group counseling and networking with other inpatient and day treatment programs in the local area. These options are all tailored to each individual’s needs. 

  • Call the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. These numbers are all listed in the phone book.

  • Speak with your family doctor about your current level of drug or alcohol abuse, and request a referral to a treatment center or counselor that can help.

  • Speak with your church priest or church minister. Discuss the different options that may be available through your church for your substance abuse problems.

  • Substance Dependency and Addiction is a progressive disease. These problems do not normally improve on their own. When a pattern of dependence begins to emerge you not only endanger your own life, but the lives of others may also be affected


**If you are still unsure whether you have a drug or alcohol problem, please speak to Dr. Regina M. Baldwin about a full substance abuse evaluation and/or a full dual diagnosis evaluation.  She will be happy to give you a professional opinion about your use.

Drug abuse is unwarranted, patterned consumption of any natural or synthetic substance or drug in an unapproved quantity for performance enhancement and psychological effect for non-therapeutic, non-medical use by an individual with methods neither approved nor supervised by medical professionals.

When drug abuse becomes a necessity for maintaining psychological and emotional equilibrium it is called Drug Addiction. Drugs corrode the basic structure of a whole society, by affecting a cultured human society in all aspects including destabilizing families, reducing human productivity, corrupting trustworthy governments,  honest police, and demoralize law respecting citizens.

Globally, over 200 million people consume some form of illicit drugs. From natural bhaang, Cannabis, opium to synthetic “designer” drugs like ecstasy or MDMA, barbiturate derivatives, benzodiazepines like alprazolam, diazepam, amphetamines, Phenethylamine and Tryptamine derivatives; different forms of drugs are available for inducing excitation or euphoria.

The trafficking of illicit drugs and hallucinogens is the largest illegal business in the world accounting for about 8% of international trade, amounting to about $400 billion annually. Drugs corrode a whole society. Robbery and violence connected with drug abuse have become a mundane affair and most commonly drug consumers often appeal to felony or prostitution to satisfy their vice.

Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse

Euphoria and Illusion: Drugs would distort the normal perception capacity and functionality of the brain and make a “pseudo” visualization and perception. It would create illusion and artificially make you feel euphoric, excited or pleasurable.

Stress: Drugs would make you feel as if it is helping you in relaxation and forget about all the issues that make you stressed. However, in reality, it is the opposite. Long-term use of drugs can cause a deep impact on the way your brain works, and lead to increased anxiety and stress.

Anxiety and Depression: Feeling low after alcohol consumption is common. Some drugs would make you feel depressed, while others make you depressed and anxious because of something that happened while you were under its impact. People often use drugs as a way to overcome their depression, but in reality, the drug use can often worsen these.

Mental illnesses: Scientists have showed that there is a link between drug use and serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia, yet it’s still unclear whether serious drug use leads to mental illnesses. However, a person having any chronic psychological illness has an increased chance of drug abuse.

Health and Sexual Effects of Drug Abuse / Drug Addiction

Accidents and Injuries: Drug distorts your perception and thoughts and it would make you do unwarranted acts that you would not do normally. Drugs can increase your chances of getting seriously injured or losing your life through falls and road accidents and can even pose a threat or cause harm to others around you.

Internal Organ Damages: Prolonged use of certain addictive can cause damage to the internal organs such as brain, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, throat and stomach. For example marijuana smoking is 10 times potentially more harmful to lungs than cigarettes. 2-3 marijuana cigarettes cause more damage to the lungs and respiratory tract than 20-25 tobacco cigarettes. Continuous use of marijuana can damage your brain and destroy your memory, learning attention and understanding capacity.

Methamphetamine, a powerfully addictive drug, can destroy your teeth and damage your heart. Once the drug enters in a person’s body, it causes the neuro-receptors to release a great amount of dopamine, leading to the typical euphoria. Short-term effects include extreme wakefulness, a lasting boost of energy and a lack of appetite. Long-term effects include high blood pressure, stroke and serious heart problems.

Risk of Infectious Diseases: Needle-sharing for injecting drugs would put you at risk of catching serious diseases like HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B etc. Apart from this, sharing pipes or cigars would expose the users to infections like common cold, flu, pneumonia, or tuberculosis.

Sexual Effects: Illegal drugs are widely perceived as sexual stimulants and aphrodisiacs: however the impact is often contradictory to the desired one. Cannabis drugs like marijuana are regarded as aphrodisiacs, increasing the good mood and sexual arousal by stimulating sexual activity. However, the fact is that marijuana distorts the sense of time, and an illusion of prolonged arousal and orgasm is experienced by the user. Long-term users of cannabis have low sperm counts and low testosterone levels and women can have abnormal ovulation.

Drugs like MDMA or Ecstasy impede erections and orgasms for both genders, and can cause erectile dysfunction in males. Under the influence of this drug, you will not remember to have safe sex and you would end up having risky unprotected sex with one or multiple sexual partners. It can lead to unwanted pregnancy or contracting of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as syphilis, gonorrhea and HIV/ AIDS.

Social Effects of Drug Abuse

Effects of Drugs on Relationships and Your Future

Drug abuse has an immediate impact on the body and mind but it can also affect your future and your relationship with others. When drug use becomes an important part of your life, your relationships suffer. You would behave more violently for the access of money for your need for drug. Conflict and breakdowns in communication would become a routine. Drugs would affect your ability to concentrate and focus at work. The side effects of using drugs like a hangover feeling can reduce the ability to focus. Poor performance at job can make you lose your job.

Safety: Use of illicit drugs increases chances of being in dangerous situations and compromise the safety of self and others. Under the influence of some drugs, you drive rashly compromising the safety of yourself and other road users. Drug abusers are at greater risk of overdosing.

Financial pressures and mounting debts: Drug Addiction can become an expensive affair to the family. In extreme situations, people addicted to drugs try anything from selling household goods to illegal activities like theft and robbery, to secure money to get their next dose. Drug addicts also tend to behave violently for the need of money, with family members, often ending up with crimes like murder.

Violence: Drugs can increase the likelihood of violent behavior. Drug-induced violence can lead to serious injury to the drug users and to others. Serious crimes like murder or rapes could be committed unknowingly under the influence of drugs.

Homelessness: Spending most of the money on drugs would make you poor and leave no money to cover the basic living expenses like rent, food, or utility bills.

Legal issues: Buying, selling, possessing or making illicit drugs is illegal. It’s also against the law to give prescription drugs to people who don’t have a prescription from a doctor, yet several prescription drugs are routinely abused. Getting caught in possession of illicit drugs or in violent acts can land the drug user in jail or mental rehabilitation centre.

Corruption: Drug lords and people in drug trade bribe politicians and police officers with hefty ransom for securing their trade. Traffickers try to corrupt or intimidate officials for removing blocks in the drug transit and often have private armies. Judges, public officials and even police officers are lured into the trap of corruption because of illicit drug trade. Honest officials initiating courageous campaigns against the drug traffic are often killed or kidnapped.

Read more: 
Impact of Drug Abuse on Health and Society

Media Articles on Addiction and Christians:


Do I have an Opioid Addiction? Overcoming Sexual Addiction | Today’s Christian Woman   Addiction – Christianity   Overcoming Addictions – Help for Christians – CBN Blogs   Christian Addiction   Freedom from addiction  Tackling alcohol, drug addiction – General Board of Church …Celebrate Recovery

Codependent Relationships & Family Roles

Understanding just what is happening in a dysfunctional codependent family relationship is important, especially when addiction or alcoholism is involved.

Let’s take a closer look at the six kinds of codependent roles.

  • The Addict

  • The Hero

  • The Scapegoat

  • The Mascot

  • The Lost Child

  • The Caretaker


These roles are often assumed by children of addicts or alcoholics, but the codependent nature of the family relationship can persist until the children are adults.

By recognizing which role you or a loved one plays in the family that is struggling with addiction, you can take steps to stop “feeding” the behavior.

Over time, these roles may become a “normal” way of living. It is very difficult to break away from these habitual thoughts and actions. You may find that you or your children may need professional help to make important changes in codependent behavior.

The Addict

The entire family life revolves around the addict or alcoholic. Each codependent role has been taken on in order to “make sense” of, and handle, the dysfunction in the everyday life of the family.

Understanding the addict is very important. Of equal importance is knowing that by making changes in your own actions, you can stop supporting the addictive behavior of your loved one.

The Hero

This family member (often the oldest child) devotes his time and attention to making the family look “normal” and without problems.  By overachieving and being successful in school, work or social activities, The Hero feels he can mask or make up for the dysfunctional home life.  Everyone sees the Hero as kind, helpful and positive.  But not inside…

Heroes often feel isolated inside, and unable to express their true feelings. They may have difficulty with intimate relationships in later life, and may suffer from illness related to stress. They are often workaholics as adults.

The Scapegoat

This family member (often the second born) always seems defiant, hostile and angry.  Perpetually in trouble at school, work or in social situations, their general negative behavior turns the focus away from the addict or alcoholic in the family. They may also be reacting to the attention that The Hero child receives.

Unfortunately, it is the very presence of the addictive behavior in the family that may have led to the child developing this type of codependent role. Also of great concern, is that The Scapegoat often turns to high risk behaviors as a way to express their inner feelings of emptiness. The Scapegoat may experiment with drugs or alcohol. They may become sexually active at an early age, or get into frequent fights.

They can be very clever, and leaders in their own peer groups. But often the groups that they choose to associate with are gangs or other groups that do not present healthy relationships.

All of these negative behaviors need to be seen as a cry for help! 

The Mascot

This family member is often the youngest child in the family. They are the court jester, trying to get everyone to laugh.   They do this unconsciously to improve the atmosphere in the dysfunctional household, as well as turn the focus away from the addict or alcoholic.

The rest of the family may actually try to protect their “class clown” from the severity of the addiction, and whatever other problems exist within the family.  The problem with this is that The Mascot may run away from problems, even as an adult, or continue to use humor to focus away from problems.

The Mascot is often busy-busy-busy.  They become anxious or depressed when things aren’t in constant motion. This hyperactivity makes it hard for them to concentrate very long on any one particularly thing, and this makes school or work difficult.

Some mascots turn to drugs or alcohol to help them “slow down” or handle their anxiety.

The Lost Child

This family member basically disappears. They become loners, or are very shy. They feel like strangers or outsiders, not only in social situations, but also within their own families. Often they feel ignored, and that they don’t matter.

Their way of handling the addictive behavior in the family is to draw away from interaction with family members.  The Lost Child often has a rich inner life. But because they don’t interact, they never have a chance to develop important social and communication skills.

The Lost Child avoids trouble, even if they truly need something.  Sometimes they develop physical problems, such as asthma or obesity, in order to gain attention. They may never even realize they are doing this.

As adults, they may never marry, or may have difficulty having an intimate relationship.

The Caretaker


Another descriptive word for this type of codependent family role is “enabler.”

The Caretaker feels like they have to keep the family going. Over and over they take on the addict’s problems and responsibilities.  The fact that they have to do this may make The Caretaker angry or frustrated, but they never quite see that by choosing not to help they actually could help the addict.

The Caretaker is the martyr of the family, and often supports not only the addictive behavior of the addict or alcoholic, but also the codependent roles that everyone else is playing.

By understanding these different codependent roles and which one you may fall under, you are one step closer to helping the addict in the family recover from addiction. For more information on these codependent roles or how to effectively change your behavior to help your loved one in need, don’t hesitate to call our addiction specialists.

Sexual Addiction in the Church

Half (50%) of people who attend church this week will be dealing with some type of unhealthy attachment and/or sexual addiction.

Excellent articles regarding sexual addiction in the church and Christians:

Healing Sexual Addiction: Seven Things the Church Must Do Women and Sexual Addiction – Fairfax Community Church   Help for the Sexually Desperate | Christianity Today  Hidden Shame: The Growing Problem of Sexual Addiction   Sex Addiction in Church Leaders: Are You Vulnerable …   Sexual Addiction Recovery – Gateway Church Austin   Christian Sex Addiction: Christianity Today Tackles a Tough …

Statistics on Sexual Addiction and How it Affect Members

Impact on Society

  • Approximately 40 million people in the United States are sexually involved with the Internet 1

  • 25% of all search engine requests are pornography related 2

  • Sex is the number 1 topic searched on the Internet 3

  • 15% of online porn habitués develop sexual behavior that disrupts their lives 4

  • 38% of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to look at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behavior 5


Impact on the Marriage

  • 47% of families said pornography is a problem in their home 6

  • 42% of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure 7

  • 41% of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use 7

  • 30% of surveyed adults said their partner’s use of pornography made them feel more like a sexual object 7


Impact on the Job

  • 20% of men and 13% of women admitted to accessing pornography at work 8


Impact on the Church

  • 53% of “promise keeper” men admitted viewing pornography in past 9 weeks.


According to pastors, the top sexual issues damaging to their congregation are :

1. 57% pornography addiction

2. 34% sexually active never-married adults

3. 30% adultery of married adults

4. 28% sexually active teenagers

5. 16% sexual dissatisfaction

Impact on the Church


  • 5 out of every 10 men in the church are struggling with some issue concerning pornography 11

  • 34% of churchgoing women said they have intentionally visited porn websites online 12

  • 54% of pastors admitted to viewing Internet porn in the last year and 30% admitted viewing within the past month 13

  • 50% of all Christian men are addicted to pornography 14

  • 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography 15

  • 60% of women admit to having significant struggles with lust 


More Statistics

1. Exposing Porn: Science, Religion, and the New Addiction, Paul Strand. Christian Broadcasting Network, 2004
2. Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003, David C. Bissette, Psy.D., 2004
3. Overdosing on Porn, Rebecca Hagelin., March, 2004
4. The Porn Factor, Pamela Paul. 19 January, 2004
5. Morality Continues to Decay. Barna Research Group, 3 November, 2003
6. Focus on the Family Poll, 1 October, 2003
7. Marriage Related Research, Mark A. Yarhouse, Psy.D. Christian Counseling Today, 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1
8. Internet Pornography Statistics. Internet Filter Review, 2004
9. Internet Pornography Statistics. Internet Filter Review, 2005
10. More Sex, Please. Christianity Today International, Winter 2005
11. The Call to Biblical Manhood. Man in the Mirror, 6 July, 2004
12. Internet porn a guy thing? Mark O’Keefe. The Charlotte Observer
13. Purpose Driven Ministries, March 2002
14. ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn, 7 August, 2006
15. ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn, 7 August, 2006
16. ChristiaNet Poll Finds That Evangelicals Are Addicted to Porn, 7 August, 2006