by Laura Forman
There is no cure for addiction. You will never hear the words, “I used to be an addict.” If you do the person is mistaken. There is only treatment, the most successful of which involves the 12 steps of recovery.
In the process of working the steps, the addict must identify and learn to rely upon a “higher power”, whom some choose to call God. Many who struggle with chemical dependence also struggle with the concept of God, who He is, how He works in our lives, and what it means to surrender to His will.
Teens in an outpatient substance abuse program were invited to attend Micro Alpha, hosted by my husband, David, and me earlier this year. Our goal was to reach out to these vulnerable youth and help them define God in a non-threatening, non-judgmental environment.
Alpha is an invaluable tool for Christians to share Jesus’ love and message to a hurting world. In our home on Friday nights after their rehabilitation group, youth ranging in age from 15 to 20, male and female, gang member to star high school athlete met to talk about Jesus.
We shared a meal and heard stories of how addiction surfaced in these young lives: pain pills after surgery, skipping school to get high with friends, a drug dealer met on the school bus. David and I talked about the hope and healing Jesus gives, the unconditional forgiveness and love, the promise to be our strength.
The Youth Alpha video was a hit; neither of us expected it to be so well received. Only 20 minutes long, one teen’s favorite was the cartoon snippet. We paused to answer the built-in questions, one of the first was, “If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?”The initial thoughts focused on using drugs, then upon realizing the unconsciousness that would result, minds changed to spending time with family, traveling and hanging out at the beach and with famous people.
There was plenty of laughter to accompany the serious discussions. Relationships were forged. No response was stupid or out of line. We invited the truth to be told.
One night a picture of a swimming pool came onto the screen. People were shown lounging near the pool, dipping their toes in, wading or swimming full force. They were asked to pick out the figure that best represented their readiness for a relationship with God.
Some of the kids were closer to the pool than they were prior to recovery and some identified with tentative swimming, slowly renewing their trust in God. Yet others were seated at a table, looking on curiously.
Alpha is a method of seed planting. Through this Friday night tradition, we hope to have worked where God is already taking hold.
One 12-step slogan likens addiction to a “God-sized hole.” The only thing in this world that will fill the inner hole we try so desperately to fill with quick fixes is reliance on God.
Jesus told us,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
God has put it on our hearts to reach out to those with a gap in their souls where God is waiting to rush in. Nothing is more fulfilling.