Reflections on visits to Drug Rehabilitation Centres
On 4 and 5 June 2017, brother Ethan and I visited two drug rehabilitation centres (DRCs) in Myitkinya, in the Kachin State of Myanmar. Most of the drug addicts are sent to the DRCs by their family members and parents. The inmates spend three months in the DRCs. The programme includes basic bible studies on faith, salvation, life-changing Christian life, praise, worship, prayers, sports and gardening. The initial few weeks are difficult when they go through the cold-turkey treatment. Some of those who completed the three months volunteered to help out the new batch of inmates. The pastors in the DRCs commented that three months are inadequate. They also said that the fight to resist going to back to drugs is for life.
DON’T START! Escaping is hard
Successful ones are able to unite with their families after the three months. The failures bring heart-aches to their loved ones. The chains of addiction are hard to be removed. Those who are out of the DRCs are vulnerable to relapse at any time.
Recovery is fragile and painstaking. The addict faces seven obstacles: (1) daunting withdrawal symptoms, (2) altered brain disease, (3) long-term recovery process, (4) possibility of relapse, (5) underlying psychological problems, (6) temptations to return to drug taking, and (7) lack of motivation to change due to the intensity of the addiction. On the latter, only a faithful reliance on God’s power and love of God, family and friends can overcome that intensity.
“Perseverance is needed to walk in step with God”
Jesus beckons: Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30 ESV)
Jesus is the answer. He is the key for drug addicts to escape.
We pity the drug addicts who are snared by drugs. The underlying root is sin. For the drug addicts, they are snared by drugs and fall into sin. For the alcoholics, they are intoxicated with alcohol. Some of us can be tempted by sin by a desire to get rich. Sin is anything form of idolatry or behaviour or deeds that dishonour God (James 4:17).
I was told that the drug addict has to deal with the consequences of addiction and resist the temptation to get back to drugs throughout his life. As sinners redeemed by Christ’s work on the Cross, we must also deal with sin by faith in Jesus Christ throughout our lives on earth. Since sin is spiritual and is a tool for Satan, we must rely on God’s given spiritual weapons. These are (1) prayers in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit protects, convicts us of sins, corrects and teaches us, (2) truths of God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. So we need to learn and apply the spiritual weapons in all situations and seasons of our lives.
Elder Yoong Yuen Soo