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How to rescue an addict

Dave Hain eeff1ece
Life as an addict is terrible – you’re estranged from family and friends, and worst of all, you’re estranged from yourself. You’re in a prison of hopelessness and you need rescuing. The ministry of rescuing an addict is a very relationship-intensive one; it requires you walk a d…
By Seth Barnes






Life as an addict is terrible – you’re estranged from family and friends, and worst of all, you’re estranged from yourself. You’re in a prison of hopelessness and you need rescuing. The ministry of rescuing an addict is a very relationship-intensive one; it requires you walk a demanding tightrope, placing yourself at risk in order to build the trust necessary to help those who are typically paranoid, who struggle to trust. The odds are you will fail. And while I present a set of ten steps below, it is anything but a linear process.

Dave HainDave Hain was the best I’ve ever seen at it. He pulled a couple of hundred addicts off the streets of Philadelphia during his time there. The addicts looked at him as their pastor. Walking with him through the crack houses was always interesting. These are some of his secrets.

1.     Relationship
Initiation:
Establish a one-on-one relationships by sharing God’s love (rather than the
judgment that those on the streets are accustomed to feeling). 

2.     Relationship
Development:
Develop these relationships through individual and group counseling,
conversation, prayer, sharing a cup of coffee or a meal, Bible study, and contacting relatives with
information.  During this phase of
the process, try to earn trust by performing small favors – buying  food or conveying messages to and from
probation officers, police officers, lawyers, and estranged relatives and
friends.

3.     Trust Deepening: One
day at a time over the course of months and sometimes years of these meetings,
trust, hope and a sincere desire to change their own lives begin to form.  Until this process has progressed to
the point where a critical mass of trust exists, it is very difficult to take
an addict any further in the process.

4.     Hope-based
Counseling:
At
this point the counseling begins to focus on opportunities for detox,
short-term rehab and then long-term Christian rehab.  Many addicts have heard, “once an addict, always an addict.” They need hope. Typically addicts will make a commitment to getting off the
street well in advance of the day when they finally do take action.

5.     Intermediation: When
someone is ready to take action, you can serve as his or her advocate and place the
necessary telephone calls to obtain a detox bed.  This often requires assisting the addict to regain some
identification papers to replace those lost on the streets.  Frequently he or she will need to be
placed in interim housing over a weekend while these arrangements are
finalized.  Maintain relationships
with top detox and rehab centers and take time to earn their trust. Work with a number of detox centers. It will take time and communication. Always do what you promise you’ll do. There may be only a few who will work closely with you to allow visits and
have more relaxed entry requirements.   Key in our working with anyone to get them a detox bed
is that  “the doctors and
nurses can begin to treat the patient.”

6.     Detox &
Advocacy:
While
in detox we speak to the caseworker to advocate a short-term resident
rehab. 

7.     Short-Term Rehab: During
the time in rehab, place the phone calls to obtain a phone interview for
admission into a four- to twelve-month Christian program.

8.     Transition:  When
the individuals you are assisting are ready to make the jump to a long-term
rehabilitation center,  help them with the logistical details and costs.  Maintain strong relationships with multiple rehabs.

9.     Long-Term Care: Our
primary behavioral goal during the rehab center stay is that each person face
the truth of the bad decisions they made which contributed to his or her
addiction.  He or she need to begin
making godly decisions to avoid relapse. 
The success rates of Christian rehabs as published by Teen Challenge and
others are over 70%.  With this in
mind, some men and women in secular rehabs where we teach Bible studies seek a
Christian rehab after their secular program is finished.

10.  After Care:  After
completion of a Christian rehab, we work with the men and women who enter an
after care phase, which requires months of one-on-one counseling with a pastor
followed by efforts to repair broken relationships and reintegration into
society.
 
For more information, contact Dave Hain or read about his ministry here.


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