A drug epidemic is sweeping this nation. Since 1979, drug overdoses have risen almost 1,500% and opioid overdoses among whites are up over 2,600%. Almost half of all federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug offenses. Deaths of despair, which include overdose, alcoholism, and suicide, are rising across all demographic groups.
Statistically, addiction often occurs in conjunction with trauma, childhood abuse, and mental illness, especially depression. All of these affect not only the sufferer, but their family and friends as well.
Society’s answer to the drug epidemic falls short. Rather than looking at addiction as one symptom among many that secular society is failing many of its members, the primary approach has been legislation and incarceration. There are not enough treatment facilities. In 2017, over 2 million people were treated for substance abuse, but according to a government report, 89% of those who sought treatment did not receive it. The most common reason was lack of insurance coverage.
Similarly, most children who experience trauma are not identified, and even those who are identified often do not receive help. It’s been estimated that one in four children has been sexually abused– often (though not always) by someone who was sexually abused themselves. But these children, too, most often remain unidentified and untreated.
Twelve Step groups have been treating alcoholism, addiction, and other issues for over 80 years, and they are effective for many people. But these programs are intentionally non-medical and non-religious. They help participants overcome problems and clean up their past. They don’t provide the full spectrum of healing that many participants need. Nor do they help with trauma or mental illness. It’s not what they’re designed to do. Nor, even for Christian participants, do they promote discipleship in Christ.
The Church, unfortunately, is not prepared to fill this role. Its own practice of discipleship often falls short of a daily walk in community following Christ. For many church members, following Christ in community is reserved for an hour or two on Sunday. For those recovering from substance abuse, trauma, and mental illness, life is a daily struggle. Weekly support and a typical congregational decision-making process based on a monthly routine cannot address the needs of those who suffer.
This ministry intends to fill a need that none of the existing structures address: the need for intensive discipleship and healing in Christ.