Counselling for substance abuse

There has never been an age where people's desires have been corrupted and distorted by so many powerful messages from so many different directions. We live in a desire orientated society and the whole of our culture is a perfect environment for addiction stimulation.

Addiction is a complex, progressive and often disabling attachment to a substance such as alcohol, heroin, and barbiturates or pornography in which a person compulsively seeks a change of mood. What drives an addiction is a longing for fulfilment and wholeness, which becomes a longing for satisfying the brain, and the heart.

Even though we can see the addict's need for alcohol or drugs, we have to look even further and observe the possible scars of the children whose parents took turns in neglecting, abusing, ignoring, bullying or at worse abandoning them. These may now be the adults who have lived in the shadow of their bereft childhood and have sought to relieve their distress by filling those empty spaces with an addiction, where there should have been love.

Some of these people may never have known significance, security or self-worth in childhood and even as Christians, may struggle to put their faith and trust in God.

There are many social or family factors that the addict needs to fill in the gap of their despair, which then leads to shame and guilt. However, rather than help the victim, the shame and guilt just endorses their perception of ‘being wrong’, ‘not good enough’ or encourages them to disassociate with the real world. They struggle to deal with their secrets, lies, and fear of discovery.

However, this all becomes an uphill struggle, partly because of the spiritual forces imposed upon them from the various temptations that are accepted by today’s society. Unfortunately, nobody considers the affects that all this has on the vulnerable addict, who is desperately trying to deny himself in order to survive. For the addict there is no choice, the addiction is in charge. For most alcoholics and drug users, the beginnings of addiction can be traced to their teen years.

One current scientific theory is that those who stay with the habit and become increasingly dependent on alcohol or drugs, are using these substances as a self medication of sorts to soothe feelings of anxiety, anger, or depression.

Feeling chronically unhappy puts people at greater risk for addiction to stimulants such as cocaine, which provide a direct antidote to feeling depressed.

Recent research has shown that more than half the people being treated for cocaine addiction would have been diagnosed with severe depression before they started their habit, and the deeper the preceding depression the stronger the habit.