If you get the chance, search Youtube for the keywords "Bob Newhart Stop It." It's a hilarious skit where Bob plays a psychologist (What else?) whose entire technique for helping people overcome their psychological ailments is to yell at them, "STOP IT!" Over and over.
Of course, addiction doesn't work like that. A person cannot just "stop," and almost never can he do it alone. He needs help.
Why is this? One reason is that addiction is partly physical. There's an injury of the brain that deprives the person of normal willpower that others might have. So the addict needs an outside person telling him when he's acting in an irrational way. Someone who will hold him accountable and remind him that his actions could lead him back into relapse. His brain won't tell him that on its own, at least not in early recovery.
Then there's good old-fashioned pride. Many people, both addicts and non-addicts, have this feeling that addiction is a moral failing. They feel embarrassed to let others know that they need help. So they keep things inside and won't reach out for help. But humility is needed in recovery...which again, calls for involving others in your recovery.
One of the biggest reasons that recovery houses / halfway houses / sober living houses are so effective is that you're literally living your life surrounding by an accountability network. This network gives you someone to reach out to, to help in moments of temptation. The network helps you to stop trying to go it alone.
The Reason Christian Recovery Programs Work
October 8, 2021
The facility that is now our ministry's primary home was once a home for Teen Challenge. If you've never heard of Teen Challenge, they are one of the few nation-wide residential recovery programs. Indianapolis Teen Challenge resided at this property for many years until changing to a privately run program in the mid-2000s. And it is distinctly Christian in its approach.
I was always interested in the numbers that Teen Challenge boasts. They regularly mention that around 80% of their graduates stay clean and sober after they leave. Celebrate Freedom has noted numbers among our graduates that is almost that high--and like them, we are Christian. So just what is it about their program and ours that creates such success?
* Teen Challenge and Celebrate Freedom stress the benefits of a long-term program. TC's is a year-long and ours is 9 months. Studies regularly show significantly lower relapse rates among those who stay in a residential program for more than six months.
* Other studies show lower relapse rates among those who pray regularly, read the Bible regularly and go to church regularly. Both Teen Challenge and Celebrate Freedom stress these habits as part of our programs.
* It's been said that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but connection. The people who do best in recovery are those who create new healthy connections that last after they leave the programs. Both Teen Challenge and our program pound it into residents that they must create a new network in church or in recovery home groups, to help them make the transition into the outside world.