On numerous occasions I thought that I was going to get free from my addiction by weening myself down from the powerful euphoria of opiates. I remember going to the methadone clinic and thinking that this is a great way to deal with addiction, I can get high legally every day and still work and be productive. Until I couldn’t afford the steep cost every week, and had to go cold turkey from 130 milligrams of methadone. The withdrawals were unbearable, but somehow I found myself free from opiates for about six months. I still used other drugs such as cocaine, and drank heavily, but in my eyes I was “clean” but my habits had changed very little.
A popular notion prevalent in today’s drug epidemic is that addiction is a “medical disease” and that it is “not the person’s choice.” Basically, there are many people pushing the idea that heroin (an opiate) can only be treated with methadone or buprenorphine (both are opiates). Though, these can definitely assist in minimizing future withdrawals, this is a temporal fix and does not address the bigger picture of real change. The person still remains addicted to an opiate, and it does nothing to address other influences or emotional stability or the underlying reasons why the addiction occurred in the first place.
Although I agree that these things can assist in changing its only to a certain point, I cannot accept that this is a lifelong disease that will incapacitate an individual for the rest of their life. To put it bluntly, that is a flat out lie. To say that this is comparable to diabetes creates a notion of hopelessness, and frankly addiction and diabetes are not the same. Diabetics need insulin to survive; drug addiction can be reversed by habit changes and spiritual freedom. Teen Challenge has seen hundreds if not thousands go on to never use or struggle with drug addiction ever again.
Teen Challenge does believe we have the eternal solution to the substance abuse epidemic. We respect the work of the medical community to help those who find themselves addicted. We would ask that people would have an open mind and open heart to allow Jesus to make them free, and to understand that you don’t always have to identify yourself as an “addict.” Today you can be made free and have a new life by Jesus Christ. Personally, I like to identify myself as a “Child of God” and not a “recovering addict.” May the Lord bless you richly on the assent to truth, both in life and with the epidemic of addiction.