Addiction can come in many forms – alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, and more. But in all cases, addiction causes pain and suffering to both the addict and their loved ones.
Recently on Morning Air®, Dr. Dan Edmunds, a noted psychotherapist and traumatologist, stopped by to discuss addiction, hope, and why it is so important to connect with those who are struggling with addiction.
“Those who struggle with this are usually longing for a connection, but they become disconnected,” Dr. Edmunds said. “They are seeking meaning, but by the end they are in total despair.”
Below are three things Dr. Edmunds suggested that can make a big difference in overcoming addiction, or in helping a loved one who is struggling.
What I believe is necessary in order to have them be able to reconnect is to get them to the point of discovering some kind of meaning and purpose in their life. That is always one theme – somewhere along the line, this person has lost their sense of purpose.
Too often we take this confrontational approach, and what these people are really longing for is to find a sense of identity. If they can be treated as a fellow human being, they can recapture that sense of meaning.
With social media and so forth, we’re said to be a more connected world by having these things. But I find that people are more alienated. And when we struggle and we have some type of crisis, it’s not going to be our Twitter followers, it’s not going to be all these other people with social media who come to our aid. It’s going to be those real people who we have truly connected with and with whom we have a communion and fellowship.
We have to reach out with a heart of love and compassion. Not in a confrontational mode, because all that will do is build up a wall of resistance. But if we can simply just be there with the other – to journey with them, to struggle with them, to stand with them – then I think we can really accomplish something.
We see these individuals who are in this very dark place, and we’re trying to reach them, we’re trying to connect with them. And we feel like what is being said is falling on deaf ears, and nothing is really changing.
There is a quote from St. John of the Cross that says, ‘God has to work on the soul in secret and in darkness. Because if we fully knew what was happening, and what mystery and transformation God and grace would eventually ask of us, we would either try to stop or change the whole process.’
So sometimes this person may appear to us as being in this very dark place, but we can have this faith and hope that they will one day emerge, and that God is working through this. Through our prayers, through our actions, and through our connections, I believe we can reach out and make a difference. But it’s not going to be according to our time frame. It will be according to when that person is ready, and according to God’s time frame.
Listen to the full conversation with Dr. Dan Edmunds below:
Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00-9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.