Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and the Work of the Holy Spirit -- By: Anderson Spickard

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 09:2 (Spring 1992)
Article: Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction and the Work of the Holy Spirit
Author: Anderson Spickard

Treatment of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction
and the Work of the Holy Spirita

Anderson Spickard, M.D.

Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, VITA (Vanderbilt Institute for Treatment of Addiction)

The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin have this property that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their presence ....

We can rest contentedly in our sins and in our stupidities... But pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.


Treatment of alcohol abuse and drug addiction can be a great adventure of healing for the patient and their family as loving relationships that have been destroyed by addiction are reconciled. In most cases the alcoholic or drug addict1 devotes theirb every waking (and sleeping) minute to the questions of: “Do I have enough left in the bottle?”;” Where can I buy more?”;” Maybe he will let me have some coke (cocaine) for free”; or “How many joints (marijuana) do I need today to stay high?” Preoccupations about their supply blot out all thoughts of normal behavior in substance abusing persons. To say the least, such preoccupations are difficult for those not addicted to understand.

The goal of treatment is to provide a safe environment where people can be removed from the source of the alcohol/drug and be safely withdrawn from primary addiction. Once withdrawal is completed, the treatment team provides a variety of opportunities for the individual to begin experiencing an alcohol- and drug-free life. This lifelong process of rehabilitation embodies the belief that the goal of treatment is to remain alcohol- and drug-free, i.e. free from all mood-altering chemicals forever. In addition, the family caught in the tangled web of feelings and behaviors of the substance abusing loved one must be included in the rehabilitation program.

If all goes well, the individual and his/her2 family are reunited in hope and relief. Relationships long fractured are healed, work is resumed and the family can reach new heights of love and reconciliation never thought possible while the person was active in their addiction.

The message of this paper is one of hope in the midst of the despair of addiction. Most people with addiction have a...

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