Substance Abuse Advice Center

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To introduce this project, it is simply best to explain what it is and the way it went into praxis or practical application. The project is to organize the youth within a community center that is faith based in order to help solve substance abuse problems. Introduction Mission Outreach to Youth proposed the creation of a “Prevent Substance Abuse Advice Center.” This project is to decide how to analyze the given community’s ability to do this on their own, the effect of faith on youth, as well as getting youth involved in helping out at the center themselves. This involves many different aspects, which will be thoroughly explored from a faith-based perspective, but also from a scientific perspective because while the two may seem at odds at times, in actuality they are not. There are several different agencies that will be involved as well, such as law enforcement, businesses, other religious organizations, schools, and other community based areas that share concerns about substance abuse problems in their own community. It’s imperative to start with an overall explanation of the project and then discuss in more detail individual organizations and what they can offer.

Initial Inspiration

To begin the explanation of the project, it is necessary to view certain aspects of the Bible through which inspiration for this project began, as well as an understanding of what the project is and how it will affect the youth working within it and those that are afflicted with substance abuse problems. To understand the initial effect of the project, it is important to view Paul’s views in 1st Corinthians, which says “What I meant was that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or a swindler. Don’t even eat with such people” (Holy Bible, 1st Corinthians 5.11). Paul appears to be saying that those that are evil, are evil. He seems to suggest it is not important to be around them or near them, but actually he is talking about those within the Christian church who are doing such things, not those that do not believe. It is highly important to analyze the fact that Paul did not mean to state that some people are simply evil, but rather that those who claim to be good and are not should be avoided. This raises the question of what is good or virtuous? For the purpose of this project, virtuosity can be defined as an act of nobility for others that does not directly affect the individual being virtuous in a necessarily positive way. Jesus often refers to the youth and children as having qualities of those that should be the aspiration of a believer. This is one reason why it is important for the youth to be involved in things like substance abuse treatment centers and why Christians should be leading the charge to help them.

One of the main problems within the modern-day church is the way it views the youth of the church and of the community. Youth of the community are often seen as those that need to be converted in order to maintain the church. On the other hand, youth within the church are often viewed as minds that can be molded or people to be slowly guided into adulthood in a faith-based way. However, a better model with which to approach the youth within the church and outside of the church is as smart, compassionate, understanding people who have resources to be applied in a community. The primary reason why this project exists is to allow the youth of the church to be able to do something and be a part of something rather than sitting quietly and patiently waiting to learn from another’s experience. The best way for the youth to learn is to get them into practical experience so that they may understand the way God works and what God’s plan is for them. This is why the Youth Substance Abuse Advice Center is such a practical project to explore.

Objective

The objective of this project is to help those with substance abuse problems, such as drugs or alcohol addiction. Though that is not the only objective. It’s important to understand that one of the main missions of this project is to propel the youth of the community to be inspired on their own to help others. That is why this project should include youth participation, interaction, as well as knowledge and ideas. The youth of the community should be equally involved in teaching others while they learn themselves about the dangers of substance abuse. The primary objective of this project is to help youth realize and understand that God has a plan for them and that they are meant to fulfill their destiny. While things like drugs or alcohol will certainly be temptations, the goal is to teach youth to avoid substance abuse and to help those that are facing it now. In order for the youth to take charge of their own experiences and fulfill the plan that God set out for them, they will need guidance, but ultimately they will need to be fully involved in supporting the substance abuse advice center.

The youth also need to feel empowered to change their lives, not just stand by and watch others fall into substance abuse among many other problems. In Galatians Paul says, “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Holy Bible, Gal. 5.22-23). This verse clearly explains the theological concept of this project: for the youth to develop character and personality traits such as joy, love, patience, etc. The objective is to work with the youth to help them reach their full potential while at the same time teaching the youth in the community the dangers of substance abuse. Substance abuse does not lead to any of the things listed above, but Paul clearly states in Galatians that God does. This presiding teaching will be the method with which the project is undertaken in order to teach youth, Christians and non-Christians that the way to enlightenment and peace is through God, instead of the allure of substance abuse.

One of the problems of the Christian church is that it fails to reach out to those in need at times and this should not be the case. John Howard Yoder shows this by saying, “A widespread tradition…sees in Paul’s teaching about subordination one of the causes for Christianity’s failure to seek social justice more aggressively, or more successfully” (173). Yoder says this in order to explain some of the interpretations of the teachings of Paul, which are inherently important to this project. In order for the church to successfully create social justice, the church needs to incorporate the notion that the church is supposed to be doing so aggressively and using every resource and person at their disposal. In this project, the youth are a primary factor of utilizing people to help out with substance abuse problems because the youth understand each other in a way that adults do not necessarily understand them. For the project to be effective in battling substance abuse, particularly within the youth, then the youth of the church must be a large component of the project.

Another important objective of this project is to combine all resources within the community in order to make the community stronger in its ongoing battle against substance abuse problems. By utilizing and combining representatives from local schools, other religious organizations, businesses, and law enforcement the effort to help battle substance abuse, especially in impoverished areas of the community where substance abuse is rampant, is going to be much easier to solve. It’s also necessary to consider that the strongest community is one that takes on problems together; that by doing so, the community will grow together and those that are afflicted with substance abuse problems and sicknesses will become better as the community strengthens itself. Paul spoke about this as well in various sections of the Bible. In each of Paul’s letters to the churches he started or became a large part of, Paul found a way to discuss and argue that a community is strongest when it overcomes its challenges together. By allowing other religious organizations to contribute, as well as schools and businesses, the community will become an effective strategy to battle substance abuse, which will also include many of the youth as they participate in religious organizations, while they are forced to go to school and also either spend money at businesses or work at them. Law enforcement can also be effective, but sometimes law enforcement can be at odds with the youth in a community. By including law enforcement, the youth will see that they are not the enemy, but rather another group of caring individuals that want to help solve problems.

Science vs. Religious Practices

One of the primary concerns for this project is that it is too common for science and religion to be against each other or at least not in agreement with each other. Those that are seeking help for substance abuse problems may go to a psychiatrist or psychologist that is scientifically trained to help them, but not spiritually trained. On the other hand, spiritual leaders are often not trained, or at least extensively trained, in medical practices with which to help people overcome substance abuse. These two communities also need to be combined in order for the Substance Abuse Advice Center to be effective within the overall community. It is important that both doctors and spiritual leaders are able to communicate with each other and share concerns that they have in the community. They also need to work together and not debate or argue over which practice is best, but rather combine knowledge from both sides to effectively arrive at a solution. According to the DSM IV, which is the standard when it comes to medical definitions, substance dependence is defined as,

When an individual persists in use of alcohol or other drugs despite problems related to use of the substance, substance dependence may be diagnosed. Compulsive and repetitive use may result in tolerance to the effect of the drug and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped. These, along with Substance Abuse are considered Substance Use Disorder (DSM IV).

The reason it is important to understand the medical definition of substance dependence is that the DSM IV considers it a mental disorder. It also has an impact on other disorders such as anxiety disorders. Therefore, substance abuse is also a mental disorder and should be considered as such. It is important for spiritual leaders to understand substance abuse as not just a problem that someone has, but in actuality it is a mental disorder and a medical problem that needs to be treated.

If doctors and spiritual leaders have a little more understanding of each other’s beliefs and training, then the project will go much more smoothly because the two communities that are sometimes at odds with each other will be combined in fighting the problem of substance abuse by using both the methodology of a spiritual journey and treating a medical condition. As the youth are transformed by their faith in God, they will also help others be transformed, but they as well need to understand that treating substance abuse is treating a medical condition as well. Therefore, the Substance Abuse Advice Center needs not only those that are trained spiritually, but also those that are trained in the medical field in order to actually solve substance abuse problems.

It is equally necessary that doctors are aware of and, ideally a part, of the spiritual path that God will bring them on in order to fulfill their destiny. They need to understand that God will work with them and through them to create his will and help them understand how to effectively treat the community’s substance abuse problems, both medically and spiritually. In Acts, Paul uses the words of Christ to say “But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Holy Bible, Acts 1.8). This shows that doctors need to be on the path of God as well in order to treat substance abuse because they will “receive power” from the Holy Spirit and will therefore be an effective tool in order to treat such a malicious medical condition. In addition, spiritual leaders and the youth of the community will receive power if they are faithful and they will continue to spread God’s word, as well as help those with the affliction of substance abuse successfully, which is the goal of this project.

It is clear that this project has many different aspects that need to be put into practice in order for it to be successful, but by proceeding as a matter of faith, the project will succeed if all that are involved are aware of what substance abuse really is, that being a medical condition that needs treatment and a spiritual condition that needs God. Those that are afflicted with substance abuse will also receive power if they accept their path towards God’s will and follow accordingly. Faith and medical healing are both necessary for this project to succeed. Though it will be difficult, once it is put into practice and starts to work, God will heal the community at large, especially those with substance abuse problems.

Praxis

The practical application of the Substance Abuse Advice Center is going to take time to implement, as well as more time to see results. However, results will come if the project continues along the path and will of God. The implementation of the project will take several months in order to accurately and efficiently organize various members of the community, like law enforcement, the Introduction Mission Outreach to Youth center, spiritual leaders, doctors, the youth of the community, schools, and businesses. It is imperative to understand that this is not an exclusive project, but rather an inclusive one that will include all that wish to become involved, including those of any faith, not just Christians. One of the best ways to begin this process is to canvas by going door-to-door and finding out who is interested in becoming involved. Canvasing will be started by the Introduction Mission Outreach to Youth, as well as others. After finding out who is interested in becoming involved, the project will be clearly defined to all that are willing to help based on the objective listed above.

As the project progresses and develops a following of those who want to be involved it will take on a new challenge, which is remaining what is meant to be in the first place: a treatment center for substance abuse involving the youth of the community. The youth need to be involved from the very beginning and trained in understanding more about the medical condition of substance abuse. Though they may not actually start by treating others, they will be able to talk and commune with those afflicted with substance abuse. As Paul says, “…Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable…Keep putting into practice all you learned from me…and the God of peace will be with you” (Holy Bible, Philippians 4.8-9). This verse from Paul reminds people to keep their hearts and minds pure and continue to do things that will help others. Paul is clearly reminding the church and everyone that believes in God to maintain a busy life and think on things of God. While Paul’s epistles are imperative to this project, and obviously Christ’s teachings as well, this verse is paramount for everyone that becomes involved in the project to understand. Though some may be of a different faith, religious belief, or no belief at all, it is still important for each and every person who works with this project to understand that they should not be idle in action or within their own mind. They need to be active with everything they do in order for the project to succeed.

After the initial implementation of this project, it will take much longer for it to have a positive effect on the community as a whole. It may take up to two years for this project to become an effective way to help those that have substance abuse problems and to teach those that don’t, to avoid going down that path. The best path anyone can go down is the path that God has chosen for them so that they might fulfill their destiny, but because the center is inclusive, those of different faiths or none at all may not be interested, which is their choice. However, from a theological standpoint, Christ’s teachings and the epistles of Paul must emanate from the heart of the Substance Abuse Advice Center in order for it to be successful.

Though the project is not a simple project and may take some time to become operational to the point of treating those with substance abuse problems and conditions, it is a noble purpose that is designed based on the will of God. The overall objective will be to allow the youth to learn and teach at the same time. They will begin to understand the dangers of substance abuse and will avoid abusing any kind of substance, legal or otherwise. With the help of the youth and the scientific understanding of substance abuse, the project will be able to take on a different perspective than others that have been tried and will be more successful. That is the primary reason to put such a project into action. Rethinking the way the community is organized, the way the youth are involved, and the way that spiritual leaders and medical practitioners can combine their knowledge, this project will be the best tool the community has to fight substance abuse.

In conclusion, the Substance Abuse Advice Center project will succeed if the community can be inclusionary and if those that start the program intend to follow the path of God. The initial inspiration of this project has been explained, which is primarily to focus on the youth both in the church and outside of it. The project will allow the youth to become involved and not be idle within their minds or actions, but rather active participants in making their community better. The objective of the project is to organize several different types of community leaders, religious leaders, schools, law enforcement, the youth of the community, doctors, and businesses in order to create a working treatment for those that have substance abuse problems or a medical condition involving substance abuse. It has been shown that understanding the science behind substance abuse, i.e. that it is a mental health condition, is imperative to actually treat those that need help. In addition, spiritual leaders from all faiths will be vital to making this project work efficiently and effectively. Ultimately, once this project is put into practice, this will change the community in ways that cannot be fully understood until it happens, but it will be for the better.

The community will be able to gain a stronger sense of community and togetherness by working together to help others. Though the project will take time, the time will be necessary to forge strong community bonds that are not easily broken. This will create a resolve for everyone involved in the Substance Abuse Advice Center, which will allow the center to become an excellent place for those that need it. Overall, the project is a plan that follows God’s will, which is the best hope for any project because it will allow those involved to follow God and the destiny He has set out for them.

Works Cited

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-IV-TR. (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

Yoder, J. H. “Revolutionary Subordination.” The politics of Jesus: vicit Agnus noster, 2nd edition, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2004, p. 173.