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Change Begins Within

Introduction To Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation

Change begins within

Free Hearts Uganda is an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center. We specialize in substance abuse disorder, especially alcoholism, marijuana, nicotine and others. We are a team of professionals that are dedicated to render awhile human restoration program: spiritually, emotionally, physically.

The team, in the following writings will be giving an expose on a variety of approaches of substance abuse. This is a second article in the introduction of these series.

The purpose of this chapter therefore, is to discuss deeper roots of unhealthy addictive behavior not only psychological but also relational ones) and show how they can be replaced with better and healthy habits. These characteristics are present in all addictive and destructive habits.

The early church, which was designed by the Lord himself, had these roots in mind. So the Lord made channels that could replace these habits and replace them with eternal and new reinforced ones. Even though change begins with an event of regeneration, when God gives us a new heart and a new spirit, this new life must be reinforced by a new walk in the power of His grace. “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you will be careful to observe my ordinances” (Ez. 36:26-27).

People, who are already saved by the blood of Jesus and have experienced the new birth and regeneration through the Holy Spirit, have begun to recognize these old attitudes and behavioral patterns that they now should better replace them with new ones.

Dr. Craig Brewer, in his psychology studies, says that there are a number of different roots of addictive personalities (behaviors). Still, almost all addicts share some common traits; there are distinct traits that are usually signs that someone may have an addiction, be at risk for addiction, or simply have the type of personality that makes him/her more susceptible to addiction. The most common behaviors associated with addictive personalities are:

  • Compulsive personalities who feel either completely in control or totally powerless, and will thus give in to any urge if they feel that they cannot remain away from it at all.

  • Second, people who often alienate themselves from others may turn to addictive habits for bonding with other people.

  • Thirdly, delaying gratification; these are people who have difficulty in thinking about the long term consequences of their actions and are more susceptible to developing an addiction.

  • Fourth, cognitive and emotional traits; certain cognitive and emotional traits may also indicate an addictive personality.

  • Insecurity is often a marker of someone at risk for addiction both because he may turn to addictive substances in order to deal with insecurity, or he may ultimately feel powerless to stop an addiction once started.

  • Also, those who have difficulty in dealing with stress may more quickly turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to alleviate stress in the short turn in order to deal with negative emotions.

  • Fifth, those who have a tendency to feel that it is a good idea to substitute one vice for another may be more at risk for developing a serious addiction. These are people who tend to think of everything in extremes, such as being a workaholic during the day that turns to alcohol in order to relax in the evening.

  • Sixth, those who suffer from other mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, are also at greater risk for developing addictions. They may turn to an addiction as a way to relieve their other problems. Those with depression may use drugs or alcohol to manage their emotions or they may use it to avoid dealing with deeper and difficult issues.

However, simply having these traits does not guarantee becoming an addict. By learning to be aware of these habits and tendencies, one can actively make choices that avoid repetitive and addictive behavior (Brewer, 2011).

The research findings of the data analyzed in table below shows deeper roots of unhealthy behavior. The researcher will discuss each of these findings because when two or more of these characteristics are present in a person, they create a fertile ground for addictive behavior (bad habits) that affects relationships. The five characteristics are listed below and will be discussed individually. They summarize Brewers list above and they can rightly be called the seeds of addiction:

  1. A faulty belief system

  2. Unmet emotional, physical, and spiritual needs

  3. Inadequate and immature responses to difficult life situations

  4. A lack of proper boundaries and personal convictions

  5. A faulty value system

The writer of the above article is a team leader at Free Hearts Uganda, an addiction treatment and rehabilitation center in Kampala.

Dr. Chris Kigezo holds doctorate in addiction treatment and rehabilitation with a special bias in Christian counseling and cognitive behavior therapy.

Tel. +256 772 373745, +256 756 525842, +254 782 280287.