What an interesting concept being considered in New Jersey right now: involuntary commitments for addicts who need to go to treatment but are resistant to enter a program. With 2,221 drug overdose deaths in 2016, New Jersey government leaders are contemplating involuntary placements for addicted people. In the past, substance abuse has not been a qualifying condition for involuntary placements for mental illness but that could change soon.
This is an example of a radical solution for an epidemic in our society. In biblical counseling circles, we believe the issue is a heart problem of a spiritual nature that requires the work of God to transform the heart’s desires so that the outward behaviors change. Certainly, forcing an addict into a program might work for the short-term and hopefully result in long-term behavioral change but unless the heart changes, the addict will go back to the choices made prior to the treatment program. It is an attempt at change that might save lives in the short-term but I wonder what the long-term results will be.
And then I wonder if treatment programs devoid of the truth of the Gospel are very effective in both the short-term and long-term. Maybe these programs offer sobriety as a short-term goal but they cannot offer eternal life as a long-term goal or transformational power from the Holy Spirit for progressive sanctification. I wonder if New Jersey’s commitments would be to any of the faith-based programs that exist like the Colony of Mercy in New Jersey…hmmm. I think I already know the answer to that question I am pondering but maybe NJ will prove me wrong. I know God is working by His Spirit through His message of hope called the Gospel through the Colony of Mercy program because I have seen the transformed lives that program produces by God’s grace.
In November 2018, The Addiction Connection will be offering training in New Jersey in partnership with Addictions Victorious and some other great churches in the area. Our team will be doing a two day seminar with 15 workshops all focused on addiction counseling in the local church. Stay tuned for more information in the days ahead!
-Mark (pausing to think about an idea I am not sure I like yet I completely understand how it has been conceived)