Our teaching is designed primarily for those who have a destructive behaviour in their life and who wish to stop.
It is also for those who are living with the problem – spouses and immediate family – and others such as pastors, youth leaders or other community workers who might benefit from understanding what needs to change, and how it might occur.
A detailed account of what we have taught and found to be of use in recovery, may be found in our teaching manual entitled “Change”, which may be accessed as a pdf file by clicking on the link at the foot of this page.
An outline of our approach:
- Explain that addiction is a illness, recognised as such by WHO since 1949 – so may set aside guilt and shame; but recognise responsibility to get well, as is the case with any illness.
- Explain it is a problem which occurs in every country in the world.
- Talk about the effects on the “sufferer”, their family, and their community; and relate this to their own experience.
- It is for each individual to decide whether or not they have a problem – ask them to consider their own health, relationships, ability to earn a living.
- Describe the process of desire – habit – attachment – addiction. Distinguish between desire and craving – addicts immediately understand the latter. Describe process of habit in relation to triggers – perceived need –> reward.
- Describe the Twelve Steps program of recovery – starting with Step 1 = no power = honesty; proceeding through Steps in terms of dignity – community – responsibility – simplicity; through helping others they have the potential to be healers provides a vision and purpose.
- Explain illness as it affects body, mind and spirit – illustrate diagrammatically with “will” in centre – concepts of slavery and idolatry – use drama.
- Describe body in terms of five senses, which act on pleasure centre – in centre of brain (use of example of gratification of baby at mother’s breast), with the changes which occur in cellular structure and function as progress from habit to addiction.
- Describe mind in terms of thoughts, fantasies, emotions and memories; how mind tricks operate, manipulation of others. Effect of guilt and unforgiveness.
- Describe spirit as being what makes us human – creative, intuitive and relational – with God and with other people. Importance of relationships and role of scripture, prayer and worship in our lives.
- Role of conscience – the window into the spiritual.
- Describe soul and infinite desires.
- Describe heart – who we really are – that part of our inner self that only God can change.
It is change in our heart which leads to a change in our desires, together with our thoughts, emotions and actions – our soul is recreated – “born again”.
“The vessel he was making from clay was spoiled…so he made it over…into another vessel as seemed good to him.” Jer 18:4.
Throughout the above account relevant scriptures are introduced to allow understanding. Ideally the translator should be a pastor who might amplify on what is being shared, making it appropriate for the hearers, and who might then subsequently follow through on the teaching.
In addition to the above account of our “inner architecture” it is necessary to explain how the Twelve Steps should be practiced through the establishment of recovery groups, not only for sufferers, but also for those who are living with the problem, who also require healing.
Group structure is described, together with the value of group projects to expand the vision, and other aspects, such as how to approach someone who has the problem and requires help.
In African communities the input of a local church leader is very important: to give spiritual guidance; direction for projects; and to meet the pastoral needs of individuals. He should not attend the actual meeting of the sufferers, which is “closed”, but may join them before or afterwards.