Jesus said“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”(John 8:36)
Get Set FreeOrange County Recovery
Long term sobriety starts with a level of brokenness, a sincere surrender and a willingness to put forth the necessary effort suggested by those that are living examples of true freedom. There are no shortcuts along this journey. It is said that “half measures avail us nothing” but it’s only natural for the typical addict or alcoholic to seek an easier, softer way. When a true level of brokenness becomes obvious to the afflicted one, the path to freedom becomes more attractive. Reason being, denial is very real and no one seeks a solution for a problem they can’t see or don’t believe exists. Orange County Recovery works
Moving Beyond Clean & Sober – Orange County Recovery
There is a significant difference between being getting clean and actually participating in the process called recovery. A transition begins to take place once the substance is removed from the body, and only then can recovery effectively begin. Being clean is a term too often misunderstood. It is merely the condition of a person after detox, before actual recovery begins. The term clean relates to the physical body, and the term recovery for the most part, focuses on the soul and spirit, encouraging spiritual maturity while addressing issues that include the mind, will and emotions. Try Orange County Recovery
Understanding the Underlying Causes of Addiction
Once clean, if the process of recovery doesn’t immediately follow, there is a fatal risk present. Without the comfort of alcohol or drugs, the problems that initially led to substance use are now magnified and blatantly staring them in the face. Here resides a literal fork in the road, and if recovery doesn’t quickly begin, gravitating back into bondage is almost definite. There are reasons why people exhibit such self destructive behaviors and there is a absolute guaranteed solution. The manifestation of addiction will never fully leave unless the deeply rooted initial cause is uncovered and properly processed.
Tools Necessary to Maintain Long-term Freedom
There is a wide variety of options available to help maintain a life free from substance abuse. The Christian approach has mush more to offer than your typical secular programs. Choose a Christian program and see how Jesus will forever change your life. Give Jesus a chance and see how He will forever change your life. He will break the chains, set you free and transform you into the person you were created you to be. – Orange County Recovery works
Our clinical directors are well known published authors whose materials are used throughout the country and even the world. New Life Spirit Recoverywas established in 2005 and has been recognized by many credible ministries such a Focus on the Family and Calvary Chapel. – Orange County Recovery works
We’re Here to Help
Are you or a friend in need of help? Please contact usor give us a call today: (866) 543-3361 – Orange County Recovery works
Christian recovery is about power. In the midst of an addiction, we are powerless. We are a slave to the obsession to use drugs, alcohol and people to satisfy the compulsive drive within. In the process, we create major losses and do things we wouldn’t normally do.
When the negative consequences of addiction begin to outweigh the benefits, it can be a divine opportunity for intervention. That’s because victory is found in defeat when God is invitedto do whathuman strength can’t perform. This is the power of true surrender and it’s where Christian recovery begins.
Why Christian Recovery?
Over the years we’ve watched the understanding of Christian recovery erode. Christians have sought other objectives and worldly solutions as the primary vehicle to bring lasting change. While some of those practices are helpful, they don’t give what a person needs the most – the power of God’s spirit living on the inside.
Christian recovery should not be a plea to moral living alone. Nor should it be a “shame fest” that will tell people what’s wrong in their lives. True Christian recovery accepts a person where they are without judgement. It calls on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome and realign through a process driven by love. It sees a person’s full potential and recognizes their identity and destiny. When this is invoked in the recovery process, something extraordinary happens. Brokenness meets the power of healing in a wild and extravagant dance called grace. The most hopeless, the most depleted, the most morally defective person that walks through the door is able to have a new reality established. And that doesn’t happen because rules are given, or the “sins” are listed. It happens because encountering Jesus in broken places leads to life and change. Real change!
At New Life we understand the severity of addiction. We use clinical protocols to assess the levels of addiction, and treatment programs to deal with rooted issues. But in all things, we trust in the power of God to lead a person out of bondage and into freedom in a way no human process can perform. The outcomes speak for themselves. We’ve seen hundreds upon hundreds of people find hope, healing and new life over the past 15 years.
If you are someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. Call us at 866.543.3361 for a private, free consultation.
Our clinical directors are well known published authors whose materials are used throughout the country and even the world. New Life Spirit Recovery was established in 2005 and has been recognized by many credible ministries such a Focus on the Family and Calvary Chapel.
We’re Here to Help
Are you or a friend in need of help? Please contact us or give us a call today: (866) 543-3361
There is a purpose for everything, and medication has many good purposes but is often misused and many are hurt by it.
One reason the co-occurring approach is used and quite often abused is that treatment facilities are able gain longer insurance coverage if they diagnose a mental disorder and put the person on psych medication. This has become the industry norm, and the ones most affected by these unethical practices are the clients, as they are forced to live with the long term effects the medication may have on them.
Truth be told, most people afflicted with an addiction have emotional issues and in almost all situations, the emotional problems existed long before the substance abuse began, and most likely, led to it.
Depending on the substance used, strange behaviors are not uncommon, and in most cases, are temporal and will subside after detox, some sleep, food and proper therapy. If psych medication is unnecessarily introduced, the ability to reach the emotional issues that contributed to or instigated the problems will only be buried deeper making them harder to locate as the recovery process moves forward.
Visit our Resource Center to learn about specific addiction conditions from a Christian perspective.
Emotional problems are not going to be resolved with medication. Some symptoms may subside, but their cause is rarely touched. With medication, the cause is suppressed and the only change taking place is how the problem manifests outwardly. If the oil light in your car came on, you wouldn’t cover it to properly address the cause. It would be best to find out why the light came on. Similarly, when we are experiencing anxiety, it would be best to address the cause rather than attempting to cover it up (e.g. medicating it).
At New Life Spirit Recovery, it is not uncommon for person to show up for treatment with numerous psych meds seeking freedom. An average of eight out of ten people that participate in our co-occurring program leave med free and set free. In most cases, it’s a physiological or spiritual issue, or a combination of, causing and contributing, rather than merely a mental issue.
If you are, or someone you know is struggling, don’t be hasty. Properly reach your need and the options available. Always get references and second and third opinions. Your life, or someone you love’s life is worth the effort.
A true Christian program is one that addresses the whole person; body, soul, and spirit. At New Life Spirit Recovery after completion of detox we focus on emotion healing, spiritual growth and maturity, and relationship with God, self, and others.
Since we are currently facing an opioid/opiate epidemic crisis in the United States, I’ll use heroin and Oxycontin as examples. Let me start by saying that all detox facilities, and approaches are not created equal. Any addict will tell you it’s all about the meds in detox. A typical medical opiate detox will use medications to alleviate the symptoms associated with opiate withdrawal. The most widely used medication for this type of detox is Suboxone. This medication will prevent the addict from experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms because of the way it works on receptors affected by opiate abuse. That’s the simple explanation. Here is where we come to a fork in the road. Some believe maintaining the addict on Suboxone is effective because it prevents cravings. Others believe it’s best to use Suboxone as a short-term detox medication. The problem with maintaining a patient on Suboxone is that all that’s happened is the patient goes from being addicted to Heroin to having a Suboxone dependence which has similar withdrawal factors.
We believe the best course of action for an opiate detox is to use Suboxone as it was intended, as a short-term titrate protocol to get the patient through the initial detox symptoms. Once the detox protocol is complete Suboxone is discontinued. Now we enter the post-acute withdrawal phase. This is time when the addict is both physically and emotionally sensitive. It’s critical the client begin phase two of treatment, which is when counseling, groups and classes begin.
Once the detox phase of treatment is complete, it’s time to go to work in the area of soul. This can be a dangerous place if additional treatment is not implemented right away. At this point in the recovery process, the soul is emotionally sensitive and the body is physically sensitive. If the treatment process is discontinued at this stage the client will most likely begin to seek comfort by returning to old habits. If the true comforter, Jesus, is not introduced into the equation, the addict will eventually gravitate back to what they used in the past to help deal with life’s challenges.
The soul is comprised of at least three parts that we are aware of; the mind, emotion, and our God given- free will. The mind is where our thoughts live, our emotions are an expression of our feelings, and our free-will is evidenced in our behaviors by the choices we make. All three parts were designed to function in sync and are driven by our belief systems. Without a doubt, what we choose to believe will eventually affect the way we think, feel, and act.
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we approach addiction and chemical dependency as symptoms, not the problem. They are manifestations of something much deeper going on than what can be physically seen. The manifestation is not the problem but becomes part of the problem when the roots are left undealt with. Our Biblically-based counseling process is designed to deal with the rooted issues underlying substance abuse. Using Biblically-based principles we guide our clients through a process of exploring what they believe to be true about God, themselves, the world they live in, and how to function in relationships in a healthy way. In treatment, clients also revisit and properly process through the events in their life that were painful, negative, and traumatic. These are the things that were done to them by others, and the things they did to themselves and others. With the Bible as the authority, we explore, with the client which of their beliefs are rooted in God’s Word, and which are flaming arrows, lies (fiery darts) shot straight from the pits of hell. With the counselor as the guide and Jesus Christ in the center as the true comforter, the client goes on a journey of self-discovery and soul-searching, dispelling the lies and replacing them with the truth of God’s Word.
The third component of treatment at New Life Spirit Recovery includes not just the counseling process but also intensive Christ-centered curriculum, Bible studies, workshops, and church services. The curriculum is closely linked to the therapeutic process as this is where the clients learn the principles that are applied in the counseling room. Through a variety of classes and workshops the client learns about God’s perspective on subjects like anger, forgiveness, denial, strongholds, and codependency. Coming into a relationship with Christ in an intimate way where He becomes the True Counselor and Comforter is the goal. Confessing sin to Christ results is instant forgiveness, but the effects of sinful behavior still need to be dealt with, and that requires a healing process. James 5:16 makes it clear that we need each other for prayer and soul “healing”. Through the process the client begins to experience the true freedom, peace and joy that only comes from Jesus.
Finding a good treatment center is really about deciding what your criteria will be and then developing a screening process designed to weed out the places that don’t fit your criteria. Here are some of our recommendations.
Before you begin your search, pray. Invite the Holy Spirit into the process. Let Him guide you as you navigate your way through the many options available. Some of the searches we recommend are, Christian Rehabs, Christian Drug and Alcohol Treatment, Christ-centered Rehabs, and Christian Addiction Treatment Programs. Think of the words you use in your search as your initial screening. Now it’s time to start making some phone calls.
We believe programs that assess and address emotional, spiritual, physical, and psychological (when needed) needs are the most effective. Leaving out any one of those components leaves the door open for relapse. Developing a screening process that addresses all of these components will thin out the options.
Assessing a program in how they deal with the physical is really about determining the methods used to detoxify the body. Will a doctor be doing an assessment? Will there be medication involved? Think of detox as a period of time when the addict is in a controlled environment, has been assessed by a doctor, and is put on a protocol of medications (when necessary) to help them through the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with pain medications, heroin, alcohol, and other substances. (For more information please see our article When is Detox Necessary?) We believe that medications should end with detox. “Will my son/daughter be leaving detox on medication?” By asking these questions you will come to see that all detox facilities are not created equal. What you want to know is, what condition is your loved going to be in when their detox is complete.
Emotional healing is something that takes place in the counseling room. We believe the most effective process is one where all principles are filtered through the Word of God. You might ask something like this, “What is the goal of your counseling process?”
Where groups and classes are concerned you can ask for a program schedule and determine if those classes are Biblically-based or whether they are secular in nature.
Although a Christian treatment program is considered faith-based, not all faith-based programs are Christian. In the current climate we find ourselves living in, the term ‘faith-based’ can mean many different things. The idea is to discern whether the faith-based program you have called shares your beliefs. You can ask, “How much of program is Biblically-based?”
The counselor is also a significant part of the process and there are major differences between counselors and the counseling modalities they utilize in the counseling room. It is either man’s theories that are practiced or a Biblical principles and they are literally worlds apart. There is either a secular worldly counselor utilizing worldly modalities, a counselor that is a Christian but utilizes worldly modalities, or a Christian counselor utilizing a Biblical world view (Biblical principles).
We encourage you to research and learn! Please call us if we can assist you with a Christian drug rehab at 866.543.3361 or visit www.newlifespiritrecovery.com
New Life Spirit Recovery is Christ-centered Christian program that deals with the whole person utilizing Biblical principles. All of our teachers and counselors are spirit filled Christians, clinically trained state certified professionals the counsel with Biblical principles.
When someone you love is caught in the spiral of addiction, finding help can be difficult. Modern medicine changes almost daily, and thus the information you receive also changes. As Christians, understanding science helps to an extent, after all we are created by God and He is in charge of science. But to think that addiction is simply an organic brain issue is simply false. There are many reasons why a person ends up in the pathway of addiction. Properly understood, it is a involves the mind (separate from the brain), emotions, trauma, spiritual life and also physical realities of addiction. While not everyone needs to go to a rehab that involves time away from daily life, learning your options right now is vital. You can clear the highway of confusing information by working through your own research.
You want to love your daughter and hate the addiction. How do you do this? By recognizing that she isn’t her addiction. Her addiction is the enemy that is stealing her life.
You want to feed solutions to your daughter that will kill the addiction, but bring life to her. This happens when you stop anything you are doing that will bring comfort to her ability to continue to use. This can vary, but it may be overly bailing her out or allowing her irresponsible behavior.
You can establish an actual intervention on your daughter. Read the book Breaking Point as a free reference guide to how this is established. A christian addicted to drugs has better alternative because she has the Spirit of God active and ready. It’s vital that you keep praying for wisdom and understanding.
You can allow the pain of her choices to lead her to solutions.
You can research options and programs when and if she’s ready for change, providing incentives to get help, and consequences for not getting help.
You can speak honestly, in love about your concerns without judging or sounding religious
You can remind her that God loves her no matter what, and has a plan and purpose for her life.
The opioid epidemic is being called the worst public health crisis in American history. When it comes to taking opioids, the United States leads the world in opiate addiction. For every one million Americans, almost 50,000 doses of opioids are taken every day.
The opioid crisis is directly related to the massive increase of prescription and non-prescription opioid drugs in the United States beginning in the late 1990s and continuing with an alarming increase into 2018. Opioids are a diverse class of painkillers, which include oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and a very strong painkiller, fentanyl, which is a synthesized version of opioids. The potency and availability of these substances have made them popular both as formal medical treatments and as recreational drugs.
Opiates are often prescribed to cancer patients for pain relief and to patients recovering from surgery. But take too many and you have a problem, which has proven to be the case in the U.S. But why? Let’s take a closer look.
Often times doctors prescribe opiates as pain management solution. Some doctors also feel a great pressure of giving the patient the pain relievers because the doctor knows that if the patient doesn’t receive the pain killers from him/her, the patient will go to another doctor and get what they want…hence potentially losing a patient.
Professor Judith Feinberg from the West Virginia University School of Medicine says, “Most insurance, especially for poor people, won’t pay for anything but a pill. Say you have a patient that’s 45 years old. They have lower back pain, you examine them, they have a muscle spasm. Really the best thing is physical therapy, but no one will pay for that. So doctors get very ready to pull out the prescription pad. Even if the insurance covers physical therapy, you probably need prior authorization (from the insurer) – which is a lot of time and paperwork.”
Kick Back from Pharmaceutical Companies
Professor Keith Humphreys from Stanford University notes that in the US, it is common for drug companies to court doctors, in an effort to promote their products. “When you’re a doctor in the US, these salespeople come in from the industry. They are invariably smooth, friendly, attractive, sharply dressed, adorable, they’re giving out gifts to everybody. They host dinners, they sponsor conferences, they sponsor junkets. That is going to affect prescribing.”
In 2016, a study looked at the link between doctors, the free meals they received from drug companies, and the medication they prescribed. The study found receiving free meals was “associated with an increased rate of prescribing the promoted brand-name medication”. Pharmaceutical companies say their reps are merely sharing information with doctors. But Professor Humphreys says there is a “corrupting” influence.
Until very recently, doctors were under the misconception about just how addictive various drugs actually are. Doctors received virtually very little, if no training in pain management and what training they did get often came from the nursing staff that the doctors worked with. Fortunately, this is beginning to change in the training of doctors.
In 1980, Dr Hershel Jick wrote to the New England Journal of Medicine stating that “despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction”. Dr. Jick’s article had a big impact on the mindset of prescribed narcotics. Fortunately, this mindset has been proven to be erroneous.
A Culture of “Instant Cure”
We live in a “magic pill” culture. Lose weight…take a pill. Depressed…take a pill. Anxious…take a pill. Can’t sleep…take a pill. Have some pain…take a pill. Our culture has been lulled in believing that medicine can cure most of what ails us. A 51year-old finishes running a marathon and now he’s sore. He wasn’t sore when he ran the marathon at 30! So, he goes to the doctor believing his doctor will try to “fix” him and prescribe some muscle relaxants or pain killers.
Many other countries deal with pain in much healthier ways. A comparison study between the U.S. and Japan in how pain is dealt with showed that Japanese doctors treated acute pain with opioids 47% of the time…compared to 97% of the time in the U.S. There is a much greater willingness to prescribe pain killers in the U.S. than there is in most other countries.
The Christian and Opiates
A large percentage of the Church population, knowingly or unknowingly, are addicted to prescription opiates and have slid into their addiction simply because “My doctor prescribed them to me”. This is not to imply that your doctor is doing anything intentionally evil, but he may be prescribing them to you for the same or similar reasons mentioned above. After all, doctors put their pants on one leg at a time just like you!
Even though the doctor may want to prescribe opiates to you, the final say is still yours as to what you allow or don’t allow into your body. When it comes to mind altering drugs or any substance, we are called as Christians to remain sober in our mind (1 Pet. 5:8; Eph. 5:18; 1 Cor. 6:19). Otherwise, as our reasoning abilities are dulled and inhibitions are lowered, we leave ourselves open to all kinds of deception…some very subtle…others not so subtle and usually unhealthy behavior isn’t far behind. Read about what Jesus would do about addiction.
Some Practical Suggestions
We are not ignorant that there may be times in your life when you need to undergo some difficult and painful surgery and the doctor is going to want to prescribe you opiates to get you through the post-surgery pain. Below are some steps that you can take to help avoid and/or lessen the possibility of becoming addicted to any opiates that your doctor may prescribe to you in the event of a surgery.
Talk with your doctor before the surgery and express to him/her your concerns about taking any addictive pain medication. Inquire as to whether or not there is an alternative non-addictive pain killer he can put you on. If so, request it.
Before you take ANY medications from the nurse or doctor before or after the surgery, be sure to inquire as to what it is you are taking. If it is not in agreement with your prior meeting with your doctor refuse it and request what the doctor said he was going to give you.
If there are no alternatives for your pain other than opiates, then request from your doctor that he prescribe only a 4-5 day prescription with no refills when they are gone. Give the prescription to a family member to administer to you who will keep them in a secret and safe place. Take the pain killers only on a sever “as needed” basis. When the pills are gone, you are done!
For hospice patients, while there may be other reasons the patient may have for not to take opiates, addiction should not be the concern.
Opiate addiction is one the most common substances we at New Life Spirit Recovery find our clients coming in to find freedom from. If you find yourself in the midst of an opiate addiction that has caught you up in a bondage that you can’t seem to get out of by yourself, New Life Spirit Recovery is here to help you! Give us a call today! We will help you walk out of that bondage and into a the life that your God intended for you to live…one of freedom, hope and joy!
Addiction, in most cases, is less about pleasure-seeking and more about a person’s need to escape and dissociate from the pain of emotional isolation. We are made with a craving at the core of our being for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationships. This craving has been placed into us by our Creator to cause us to seek out the fulfillment of that relationship need with Him and others.
Typically, our first relationship connection experience is with other human beings before it is with God and we quickly learn through traumatic experience that others cannot be trusted to reliably meet our need for intimate connection. This in turn hinders or even prevents authentic connect with our Heavenly Father because we interpret our connection with God through the filter of our human experiences. So, the conclusion is made that if I get vulnerable with people, I’ll get hurt…and if that’s true in all of my human relationships, that’s probably going to be true in a relationship with God.
People Often Turn to Meth for Unmet Emotional Needs
So, we learn to fear emotional vulnerability and intimacy and we distance ourselves from other people and God…pushing away the very solution to our core need that we innately crave. With both God and people now at “safe” distance, we find ourselves turning to addictive substances and/or behaviors as a way to “not feel” our unmet emotional intimacy needs.
One of the most common substances that people turn to to relieve these unmet emotional needs for intimacy is Methamphetamine…also known as Meth, Speed, Crank, Tweek, Uppers, Chalk, Christina, Tina, Go fast, Cookies, Cotton Candy, Dunk, Gak, Go-Go Juice, No Doze, White Cross, Pookie, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snax, Wash, Trash, or Garbage.
Despite the inherent dangers, meth is alluring to many people, especially those who are trapped in their emotional pain. Meth is a stimulant that profoundly affects the brain. It causes the body to release 10 times its normal level of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. It also prompts a rush of norepinephrine, or adrenaline. For those who are feeling down in the dumps, meth can make someone feel like Superman – like they can do anything. Meth can produce a high that lasts hours or even days. Users have an increase in energy. Meth use also increases sex drive and enhance body movement and mood. Meth is often preferred over other stimulants, such as cocaine, because it is much easier obtain and very cheap.
When meth hits the bloodstream, it creates an artificial pleasure sensation by sending pleasure impulses to the brain. Dopamine is the body’s ultimate “feel good” chemical. With sex, dopamine levels jump to about 200 and cocaine use causes them to reach 350. Several studies, however, report that meth use spikes these levels to 1,250 units. Even from the first time someone uses meth, the high is significant, and the brain registers that experience as a “hard-coded” memory. From that moment on, the brain tries to recapture those same positive feelings that were experienced with the first use, which is often impossible. Your brain adapts to meth use almost immediately, which means that more and more of the drug is required each time to “chase” that initial high. This chase leads to severe meth addiction, which has some startling and horrifying effects on your body and mind.
Eventually the brain shuts down the production of dopamine because it is getting more than enough from the meth. The user then cannot experience any pleasure on their own. They must use meth in higher and higher amounts in order to feel happy. Over time, meth use will cause decreased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter similar to dopamine. This may lead to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Effects of meth abuse over time can be quite serious and some are even irreversible such as “Meth Mouth” (extreme tooth decay), seizures, impaired memory, psychosis and violent behavior, hallucinations, heart damage, kidney failure, STDs, coma and death.
How to Overcome the Need for Adreneline
Of course, the question we eventually have to ask ourselves is, “Is the short-term adrenaline rush that’s helping me avoid my hurt and pain worth the long term affects?” After all, when the “rush” has run its course…the problems, hurts and pains are still there beckoning for my attention.
The good news is that God sees us in our emotional isolation, self-made vices and addictions, and He not only engages us but He loves us and provides the way out. While most counseling and treatment focuses on behavior modification and creating new patterns that produce different results, we know from God’s Word that the only way to a new life is to turn away from the old life. The good news of the Bible is that God has the power and authority to give you a new heart: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
God does not see us in our self-induced sadness, depression, habitual sin, brokenness and addiction and just leave us there. HE PROVIDES A WAY OUT. He does not just modify the behavior…He fundamentally and profoundly transforms the heart. He does this by entering into the depths of our core need for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationship and reveals His heart’s love, forgiveness and grace to us. His love brings the inner healing that no human being can provide and the freedom and peace to our souls that goes beyond human expression and understanding. He proves Himself trustworthy in His love for us and we begin to experience “being loved”…maybe for the first time in our lives.
The adrenaline “rush” that comes from our surrender hearts to God’s love is like none that meth can provide…because it lasts and never stops! It empowers us to be strong in the midst of trials and tribulations! Instead of running into the arms of meth as our false comforter, we run into the arms of the True Comforter, Jesus Christ! It is He who becomes our strength to overcome and empowers us to walk in continued love, healing, peace and joy! Jesus is the TRUE “Adrenaline Rush” that leads to LIFE! Read more about the 4 things Jesus would do about addiction
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we want to help you overcome your addiction and help you realize the depth of God’s love for you! We would love to partner with you to become an overcomer and help you walk into your future free from your addiction and experiencing the greatest and truest adrenaline rush in all creation…God’s love!
It goes without saying that lots of people use marijuana. In 2009, marijuana was the primary drug of abuse for 61 percent of persons under 15, and marijuana was the primary drug of abuse for roughly 18 percent of people aged 12 or older who entered drug abuse treatment programs. Marijuana use can lead to the development of problem use, known as a marijuana use disorder, which takes the form of addiction in severe cases. Recent data suggest that 30 percent of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder. People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults.
Yes, but not in the way some might mean. The question about whether or not marijuana is addictive comes in various forms. Will I experience physical withdrawal symptoms if I suddenly stop marijuana? Is there anything to the idea that I might be psychologically dependent on a drug? Could I quit if I wanted to?
Symptoms of Marijuana
Some people and groups that are in favor of medical marijuana or a broader legalization or it for recreational purposes argue that because marijuana does not have dramatic withdrawal symptoms like alcohol or heroin, therefore, it is not addictive. But there are two errors to this thinking. One is that the marijuana of today is more than two times stronger than it was twenty years ago (some studies show much stronger than that), and withdrawing from that is quite a different matter. The other is that it is simply not true: There ARE withdrawal symptoms when a chronic user stops using marijuana. Those symptoms can be irritability, insomnia, anxiety, nightmares, anger, fluctuating feelings; headaches, depression, loss of appetite and a craving to continue the drug.
These symptoms can be stronger or weaker for the person withdrawing, depending on how much marijuana he was smoking, how long, and his own unique physical and mental constitution.
Even though the physiological effects of marijuana withdrawal are generally mild, it is not correct to conclude that marijuana is not addictive, because being addicted to something is more than simply being physically dependent on a drug and experiencing physiological effects if the drug is stopped suddenly. “Addiction” refers to behaviors that are compulsive, partially out of control or worse, and often escalating in severity and intensity.
Criteria of Addiction
Marijuana use disorder becomes addiction when the person cannot stop using the drug even though it interferes with many aspects of his or her life. Estimates of the number of people addicted to marijuana are controversial, in part because studies of substance use often use dependence as a proxy for addiction even though it is possible to be dependent without being addicted. Those studies suggest that 9 percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent on it, rising to about 17 percent in those who start using in their teens.
In 2015, about 4.0 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder; 138,000 voluntarily sought treatment for their marijuana use.
What are the odds of becoming addicted to marijuana? Studies have shown that of all the people who use marijuana, about on in eleven will become addicted. When a young person begins smoking marijuana in his or her teens, there is a one in six chance of the teen becoming addicted.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 360,000 people were admitted into treatment in 2010 for addiction, with marijuana as the primary drug of choice. Twenty-eight percent of those admissions or 103,000 people were between twelve and seventeen years old. (This figure applies only to publicly-funded facilities so the actual number is much higher.) Forty-three percent were under 21.
Because of greatly increased potency, mental distress, panic attacks and other problems have also increased. In 2011, there were nearly half a million visits to ERs related to problems with marijuana use. Common symptoms were severe nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, anxiety, panic attacks and paranoia.
A Biblical Stand
With the advent of marijuana becoming legalized in more states in the US for “recreational” use, these statistics will only become worse as people will perceive the Government’s authoritative “permission” towards marijuana as a “condoning” of its use. However, we are reminded in the Bible that while we have the freedom to do all things…not all things are profitable (1 Cor. 10:23). In other words, just because I can do it legally…will it benefit me in the end? The question God is wanting us to answer is…”Will I place my trust in marijuana to relieve my physical, emotional, spiritual pain and stresses…or in Him who knows me inside and out and who seeks and desires to give me His Peace that surpasses human understanding?”
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we stand on the Truth of God’s authoritative Word, which calls all people to love Him and walk in trust and dependence upon God for all our needs. Whenever we turn to anything that takes us out of a clear and sober mind (1 Peter 1:13) we step out of our God desired holiness and we open ourselves up to all kinds of temptations, evil influences and painful behaviors. It also is a statement of our faith level with God when we turn to something created by God or created by man to bring the comfort into our lives that only God Himself can and wants to provide. Whenever we do this with anything or anyone other than God…we dethrone God from our hearts and anoint our Idol as our new god.
We desire is to help our clients to learn and personally experience the heart of love that God has for them and how the One and True Living God can replace their dependency on marijuana, alcohol or any other substance with His all-powerful Love! When God’s love invades our hearts, peace prevails… freedom and joy reigns! After all…isn’t that what we’re all wanting? If you’ve tried everything else to kick your addiction…why not give God a chance at it this time?
Let’s get honest. Not everyone experiences holiday cheer. Sometimes our life situation is difficult, and as much as we crave the peace of Christmas, instead there is stress and tension. Adding more pressure and commitments to our schedule has a way of deepening anxiety. That’s why it is vital we enter the holiday season with a perspective and a plan.
More often than not we bring into the holidays a list of expectations that we place on ourselves and others. It may be what we buy, what we cook, how we decorate, how we socialize, how we give of ourselves. Even more challenging, we may be trying to love our family when we have failed them. Just the same, we may have an expectation on how we want others around to treat and interact with us.
Then, reality kicks in. We are disappointed that we can’t be the perfect spouse or parent, or that everything we wanted to accomplish didn’t happen. Or, we can give our all only to have those we care about disappoint us with a lack of reciprocation.
When our focus is on faulty expectations, we forget the heart of Christmas and what we are celebrating. But when we choose to gain the perspective of Jesus we have immediate hope. That’s because Christmas is about a moment in history when Jesus entered the dirty and seemingly hopeless human experience. He expected nothing from the people He came to save. He brought no glamor or outward accolades – just a humble expression of God’s deep and great love.
Our challenges are real, and they need to be validated. However, the promise of Christmas swallows every broken place in our heart and life, and usually we discount its power. God dropping down to our level, to meet us at our point of need is what Christmas means.
Whatever you face – addiction, depression, relationship failure, etc., Jesus birth represents the place where God’s love is accessible and enough.
No matter how much you try to gain proper perspective, there is a reality you may be unable to escape. For some of us, Christmas may stir up loss, grief and other hurts of the heart. When this occurs, it’s easy to tuck it away and neglect it. But in truth, it’s better to allow God to expose those areas He wants to help us through. After all, He came to give us the resources to overcome, not to drown in our pain and suffering.
So many addicts relapse during holidays because of the pressure and the inability to process pain. Whether you are facing addiction or other hurts of the heart, it’s vital you form a plan that will aid in how you cope. This includes:
Find a human support system. If you don’t have someone you trust in your life or church, you may need to find a local counselor or support group.
Acknowledge the painful emotions that rise up and try to give them a voice. Sometimes you’ll find that emotions are in fact taunting you with lies. They hold no truth. Other times, emotions indicate an area of our life needs deeper work. Don’t deny these feelings – listen to what they say and ask God to help you process them.
Find a safe place. Planning for difficult moments may include a safe place you go and specific people you call when you are in distress. Think of this as your personal “911” team and emergency room. Hopefully you don’t need it, but if you do, you have it in place.
Don’t let your holidays be dictated by the pressures around you. Press into the power and truth of Jesus and allow Him to guide you in His perfect love.
Resources & Events
Ready to enter into the new year with a fresh perspective? Join our upcoming workshops – they will challenge you to embrace the perspective of God’s plan and purposes for your life.
if you are on the difficult side of someone’s bad choices, Breaking Point is for you. It will help you gain perspective on what they are doing and how you make healthy choices. This is a four-week class led by a professionally certified counselor.
(This is our sister ministry. Following this link will direct you to another website. Please bookmark New Life Spirit Recovery)
Don’t let the label intimidate you. Codependence is a way we learn to cope. When we learn its presence, we can find relief and hope in God’s plan for our life relationally, spiritually and emotionally.
(This is our sister ministry. Following this link will direct you to another website. Please bookmark New Life Spirit Recovery)
(This is our sister ministry. Following this link will direct you to another website. Please bookmark New Life Spirit Recovery)
Sometime a support group isn’t enough. We have wonderful counselors who can provide a guided personalized healing process that will include a treatment plan and specific steps to aid you in overcoming issues of the heart. They will also help you form healthy relationships with other people in your life.
New Life Spirit Recovery offer certified professional treatment for those struggling with an addiction. This can be done through outpatient or intensive treatment with housing. Why wait until after the holidays to get help? Join our small group format where you will find safety, fellowship and an in depth healing process that deals with the body, soul and spirit.