Importance of Discipleship in Addiction Recovery


Importance of Discipleship in Addiction Recovery

Discipleship can be defined as a follower or pupil of a teacher or leader. After years of working with those seeking recovery from the grip of addiction, I have come to an absolute conviction as to one of the key foundational elements essential to the recovery of one addicted.


I have found that the removal of the substance from the one addicted is, in itself, not enough. The vacuum of abstinence must be filled with the belief that addiction can truly be overcome and that life, good life, exists on, and beyond the horizon. It is here where the one who disciples plays his part.

The one addicted, caught in a dark, inward spiral of despair, disillusionment, and desperation, at some point finds deep within and clings to the tiniest hope that escape and freedom are possible. The very trust it takes to believe that it is possible to stop for good, to find joy and fulfillment without substance, and that there exist those who can show how to attain it… is betrayed by the very same nature of despair and disillusion while in the grip of addiction; and this dilemma is rarely lessened in the very fragile beginnings of recovery.

So, it becomes the task of those who have known the despair of addiction, experienced the freedom of recovery, and live within the joy and fulfillment of life in recovery (the one who disciples) to draw on, and fan into flame, that minutest spark of hope within the one addicted. This is where trustworthiness, exhibited and displayed by a life of sobriety and freedom on the part of the one who disciples expresses itself, becoming an example and guide to the one desiring recovery (the disciple), slowly breaking through and building the vital trust crucial to further growth and sustainable recovery.

I have come to see, without doubt, that the abstinence of substance, in and of itself, is far from, and only barest beginning, of the ultimate goal of recovery; and of life. Discipleship is the vehicle by which this is understood and eventually attained. It creates and builds, first the trust, then the teaching, and most importantly the exemplification, support, and guidance which leads to not only recovery, but the much greater reward of Life in its fullest.


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