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I have a family member who says there is nothing in any religion of real use there for addiction. I have heard this before about Christianity in particular. She doesnt have a runaway issue but it is a big problem she cant seem to alter. I think she drinks every night. She works and meditates though. What in the Bible or Christianity is specifically applicable to addiction? Addiction seems to be more than just normal temptation and sinful nature etc, and not just greater magnitude but a different animal.

I am aware of the verse in Corinthians about God providing a way out for every temptation. And it is great. She even liked it. And other about temptation and not drinking excessively, but thats not a strategy.

Related: What is the biblical basis for spiritual encounters leading to instant deliverance from addictions?

Note: Only looking for scriptures or pastoral/theological wisdom or Christian strategies that are specific to addiction or substance use or alcohol use, not comparisons of those problems with sin / fleshly desire / temptation in general

Thanks

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  • Depends who you ask. Some charismatic healing teachers no doubt would promise healing from everything. But perhaps the best thing Christianity can offer to addicts is loving supportive community.
    – curiousdannii
    Aug 1 at 6:30
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    Here is an article that deals with how to conquer addictions with God’s help. See paragraphs 19 through 26. “Jehovah Wants His People to Be Clean”
    – user32540
    Aug 1 at 8:13
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    All the agencies involved in this addiction agree that abstinence is the only way forward. The recipient must accept their own susceptibility and co-operate with logical methods of recovery and treatment. Rehabilitation is offered and available to those who will receive it. This is a sociological problem and many are recovered from it by purely sociological methods. // The baptism of repentance deals with all human susceptibilities (charitable sharing of food and clothing among the populace, for example). To such as receive John the Baptist's ministry, Jesus appears, John 1:35 and 36.
    – Nigel J
    Aug 1 at 9:59
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    Related christianity.stackexchange.com/q/74056/23657
    – Kris
    Sep 12 at 21:27
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    @Kris theres another good article by them above in third comment, by 4castle
    – Al Brown
    Sep 13 at 15:25
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Do any Christianity denominations really offer something for addiction problems specifically?

That depends on what you mean by "specifically offer". Many churches offer support groups for various issues, including poverty and addiction. These are a matter of Christian charity, and don't really speak to any "theological wisdom or Christian strategies that are specific to addiction or substance use or alcohol use". (Also, this sort of thing is clearly off topic for the SE.) Most churches will have a "Biblical spin" on recovering from addiction:

  • An LCMS author offers a Christian spin on the 12-step program. The basic steps and some background can be found here.
  • WELS has some things to say.
  • Pretty much any denomination you care to name will have resources of some kind; the above is what I could find in a quick search while avoiding anything that was clearly first and foremost a support group. (I'm not sure what it means that the information I found is from two different Lutheran sources. Do Lutherans have fewer support groups? A greater predilection for discussing doctrine? A significant difference in SEO?)

However, I would assert that you are assuming a false dichotomy. You said:

Addiction seems to be more than just normal temptation and sinful nature etc, and not just greater magnitude but a different animal.

...but I think many Christians would disagree.

All humans are addicted to sin. While I don't mean to discount the severity of addiction — yes, there is a huge difference between desiring to eat a second cookie when you know you really shouldn't and the neurological changes that accompany substance dependency — the underlying problem, from a Christian perspective, is still of a similar nature. One could equally ask what Christianity has to say about homosexuality (assuming you consider it to be both sinful and of a biological origin), or people with any (other, besides addiction) sort of debilitating condition.

Ultimately, at least from a Christian perspective, the same treatment applies to all of those. In that respect, Christianity does indeed offer a fount of wisdom and support to people struggling with sin and all its consequences. Indeed, the understanding that all of these are ultimately rooted in Original Sin is one aspect of that treatment.

(I am not going to elaborate further, because apparently such answers are not allowed here.)

Thus, I want to say the answer is, depending on how you want to look at it, either "yes; all of them" or "no". In my experience, Christianity does take a radically different approach to addiction than to any other form of sin. Indeed, one could even argue that all sin is addiction in some form.

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  • Was your penultimate sentence missing “not”, or not? Id love for you to “elaborate further” if inclined. And youre right that the other answer doesnt address what was asked, guess i was happy to see it and reacted.
    – Al Brown
    Aug 7 at 22:52
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    I do believe this is on topic for the se: “scriptures or [existing] pastoral/theological wisdom or Christian strategies that are specific to addiction or substance use or alcohol use”. In the nine se’s i use, christianity has more debate and criticism of questions than the other eight combined, which dynamic obviously affected you at some point. Trying to ignore it but us being the most judgmental and rule obsessed, least forgiving keeps irritating me. Thanks a lot for the answer. This very comment may get deleted for saying that.
    – Al Brown
    Aug 7 at 22:53
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    @AlBrown, right... the SE about a religion that's supposed to be about charity and forgiveness is "the most judgmental and rule obsessed, least forgiving". No irony there. (FWIW, I have to agree with your experience.) I can somewhat understand it because "there are no wars like religious wars", but I also don't love that this SE has decided that advice questions, frequently found on other SEs, are verboten.
    – Matthew
    Aug 7 at 23:46
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Do any Christian denominations really offer something for addiction problems specifically?

Some denominations offer help in a variety of ways and measures.

For example there is the Joshua House which is about forty kilometres from my place of residence in B.C.

Our Mission statement is:

"To help men overcome addiction through Jesus Christ, giving hope and restoring relationships"

Our Vision statement is:

"A total transformation giving lost men new Hope and purpose"

We currently have a intake Facility in Chilliwack that can house up to 50 and 3 men's recovery homes and 2 After care homes - in and around the city of Abbotsford, B.C. Each home is able to accommodate up to 10 men. After care can accommodate 5 men on a permanent basis. ​ Our newest addition to our Ministry is - The Creek. Nestled in Chilliwack, up in the mountains along side of a running Creek, amongst beautiful pine trees on 32 acres - is Joshua House The Creek. We can house up to 50 men (7 per cabin) in 8 cabins. There is a gym, meeting building and even our own worship center. A church retreat feel to the entire place. A fire pit, two baptism ponds, ball field - even a garden for fresh veggies.

The "Junior Level" is at The Creek. This is mainly where we are "hands on". Men come to us from various stages of their recovery. Some come directly from the streets - they are detoxing. Some come from other "recovery houses". Some are court-ordered to our homes and some come from other treatment centers. There is a time of assessment to see how they are doing and what they need. The usual stay is 30 to 60 days. What could be better?? Being away from the hustle and bustle of living in the city to totally getting away from all that to being apart of The Creek and focusing on yourself, and getting well from your addictions.

The two "Middle House" are just that. They are pretty grounded in their programs and have a support team in place; they are now members of a Church. Their stay here is dependent on a few things. They may stay as long as they would like providing they are doing well with their participation in the program while in residence. However, they may not work full-time from these houses. If they want to do this, they must apply to move to to a after care home. All work is subject to approval, by Leadership, and based on participation and attitude in the House. These homes are located back in Abbotsford. ​> Our Senior location is focused on transitioning back into society like starting school or working. These men have come through the program and are actively moving forward with their lives and with the tools of recovery. Reintegration of sorts. Some men decide from this home its time to get back with loved ones family or just a new start.

The "After care homes" are the full-time working or attending schooling houses. They are learning independent living while being dependent on God and there support . They may stay as long they need to however they must stay clean and involved in the community and Church.

All our houses have many rules, rules that you and I have to follow. Rules about chores and responsibilities around homes.

They all must attend a local Church and seek membership, small church groups once a week, two other recovery related meetings such as N.A or A.A or bible studies, etc. These are all very important to recovery.

They also have a wonderful opportunity to get professional counseling from Licensed Group of Christian Counselors, which in some cases the Ministry has covered the costs of.

We, at Joshua House are committed in helping those in need, as God as instructed us to do.

Our program is built around a safe and drug-free environment in a Christian home. The Program costs for each man is ***** per day. Everything is included with exception of personal hygiene items such as, razors, toothbrushes, combs, shaving cream, deodorant, etc.

  • The opportunity to live by Biblical principles

  • Daily bible studies, teachings and prayer

  • A 12-step program of Celebrate Recovery:

  • Other programs such as: Boundaries, A Spiritual Journey, a Blessed Life, Creation

  • Series, Relapse Prevention and many more.

  • Life skills such as: (House hold Chores like cooking, cleaning & maintaining a home) Personal hygiene such as laundry

  • One-on-one counseling with Christian Licensed counselors

  • Accountability to God, to others and to the self

  • Re-integration into the community

  • How to "give back" to the community by volunteering.

We also offer on the job training with local construction and landscape companies.

The purpose with our program is to give men new purpose and new hope - with the help of our loving Saviour Jesus Christ.

This is just one example of Christian outreach for those with addictions. Many others denominations have their own particular programs. Regardless what denomination runs a particular program to deal with drug or alcohol addiction structure and a well established set of rules are absolutely necessary in a view Christian love and charity in order to be as successful as possible.

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  • I must admit thats true. Answer very helpful, and should’ve thought of it, but is not the core dispute. Because I would also love to disagree with statements that “Christianity” does not address addiction or alcoholism specifically/directly, other than a) “don’t do it” and b). the wisdom about sin and temptation, which admittedly is much. Or I could just say “ok it doesnt address it... outside of love, and sin and temptation in general. Christianity doesn’t directly address heart surgery either. Add something to it, but remember those are powerful too, and arguably key.”
    – Al Brown
    Aug 6 at 17:33
  • Comunitá Cenacolo is a similar apostolate
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 6 at 18:28

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