by Gregory Kirk
When a counselee says on their PDI “I want to quit drugs or alcohol at any cost.” The question should arise, “Anything?”
“Are you willing to be incarcerated? That is one way to quit drugs and alcohol. By removing access to your temptation, you will quit.”
“Are you willing to move to an isolated island where there are no other humans and have your food flown in weekly, thereby limiting access to any drug or drink with alcoholic content?”
These are facetious questions of course but this is a question seen on hundreds of PDI’s I have observed over the years. Generally, the answer to the above questions is “No, of course not!” There is fallacy in the first question about being incarcerated since if one has access to the necessary payment, drugs and alcohol are available in prison. Moving to the isolated island is cost prohibitive and a little unsettling to most of the clients I have encountered in my practice.
Most of the clients who say they want to quit drugs or alcohol at any cost have one thing in common—they are at the end of their rope and have a common malady. They are without Hope. With no hope and no prospect of attaining hope they are literally and the end of their road. Hope is the driving force of seeing transformation in drug addicts and alcoholics. Thankfully, Romans 15:4 speaks to this unseen Hope.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction,
that through endurance and through the encouragement
of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 (ESV)
It is only through the scriptures, in one way or another, that this Hope is generated in the lives of counselees.
This is not the “hope-so” hope of modern English. “I hope I win the lottery, or the hope we go to Disneyland, or more personally, I hope my wife does not ask me to go shopping” This is blessed Hope toward which the Christian looks with “confident expectation.” For instance, we know that Christ will return one day because the scriptures, which we hold in high esteem, proclaim that He will.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live
self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13 (ESV)
As counselors we can bring Hope to our clients when we are able to proclaim that we believe God’s promises and when we can communicate these promises with confidence. Without Hope there is no assurance that a counselee will endure to the end.
The correct response to “I am willing to do ANYTHNG to break my addiction” is “Are you willing to do whatever God wants you to do in this situation simply to please Him?” In secular counseling sessions there is an attitude of the client beating the addiction. We need to show our clients that without God’s help and provision there is no Hope of being transformed and clean.
As counselors we know that God wants them to live a life of victory free from besetting sins, which sets Christ as the main object of worship and adoration. We must be Hope Peddlers, sharing the Gospel of Hope and redemption to our clients so that we can see them change from “hopeless dope addicts” to “Dopeless Hope Addicts”
 Jay E. Adams, Ready to Restore (Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Publishing, n.d.).
Gregory Kirk resides in Ellsinore, MO. He currently serves as Pastor/Executive Direction of the United Gospel Rescue Mission and Grand Avenue Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff, MO. The UGRM offers a Transformed Life one-year residential program for men who are seeking change. The Mission also serves a public meal daily at noon. Gregory has been married to his beautiful wife, Pamela for forty years. He is the father of three and grandfather of twelve. He holds a BA Th from Fairhaven Baptist College, MA Pastoral Clinical Counseling from Jacksonville Theological Seminary and MA Christian Resources From Union University, Jackson, TN. He is currently a D.Ed.Min candidate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Greg has been in ministry for thirty years serving as Youth Pastor, Asst. Pastor and Senior Pastor of churches in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri. Greg is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Counselor (RADC) and Medically Assisted Treatment Specialist (MATS) for the State of MO.