The founder of The Addiction Connection, Dr. Mark E. Shaw, hosted Oliver Underwood of The Damascus House on TAC’s podcast entitled “Habakkuk and Addiction” (#149). Underwood leads a men’s residential program for addiction that is recommended by The Addiction Connection.
Discussing historical context and verses from Habakkuk, Dr. Shaw and Underwood, who are both CABC’s with TAC, also brought out current trends in addiction such as pressed pills, fentanyl labs, drug dealer profiteering, and the tragedy of increasing overdose deaths during the pandemic. Effective addictions solutions are being offered by many local churches now, and the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ offers God-honoring answers for addiction.
The disease model of addiction stigmatizes people because it puts individuals into their own groups based solely on their addictive choices.
THE STIGMA OF THE RECOVERY WORLD
According to Underwood, the disease model of addiction has actually dismantled their own efforts at de-stigmatization and so everything is backwards. The way the disease-treatment-recovery world treats those struggling with an addiction gives them special labels different from everybody else and implies that they don’t belong.
These false ideas about addiction as a medical disease stigmatize people—placing them in a special category—which essentially humiliates them and isolates them.
Dr. Shaw, who hopes to have a booklet on stigma released in 2022, further explains that God’s Word, in one sense, actually stigmatizes all of us by putting all humans – every one of us—in the same category.
We are all sinners in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
The Son of God shed his blood on the cross, laying down His life to satisfy God’s justice and take the penalty and punishment that each of us deserved. His righteousness given as a free gift through faith is the only way to freedom and ultimately to heaven.
“…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:22-25) ESV 
A NEW WAY OF LIVING
“God not only has the answer for sin in salvation, but He also has the solution for change—[Himself]. God indwells our heart and changes us from the inside out to help us [and] make us able to walk in obedience to His Word in a way that pleases Him. And he blesses you as you walk it out.” – Dr. Mark E. Shaw
The community of the local church is where brothers and sisters in Christ can come together and combat this problem of the heart of addiction. When you are in Christ, you are not alone.
ENCOURAGEMENT FROM HABAKKUK
Are you feeling hopeless? Are you experiencing confusion or feeling distraught? The book of Habakkuk reveals this common experience among mankind. Underwood says this about Habakkuk:
“He starts off seemingly hopeless or confused or distraught… [about] what’s going to happen. And [asking] when is the LORD going to help? And then we see the LORD’s response to him that He is going to deal with sin, He has to judge unrighteousness. And… we see Habakkuk’s heart change as he starts to declare the things the LORD has done in his life and throughout time—not just his life but throughout all time… that [God has] been faithful. After declaring the character and the gracious, loving heart of our God [Habakkuk] comes to a conclusion in the end…a beautiful place of where our hope should lie:
Quoting from Habakkuk, Underwood reads:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NASB) 
The good news and hope from the book of Habakkuk is that no matter what happens to a believer in this life, we can rejoice in the God of our salvation, because what we are hoping for is not within the context of this world.
So we don’t need alcohol, pills, weed, or other substances to give us hope, solace, and comfort. Those places of peace come from God alone. God’s message for those caught in addiction is a message of worship: in the end, we worship God not for what he gives us, but for Who He is.
The Addiction Connection offers hope to those struggling with addiction. Start your search for biblical programs here.
Consider contacting one of our Commissioned Addictions Biblical Counselors who are available to help you.
Residential Programs we recommend.
Non-residential Programs we recommend.
Do you want to start a Biblical outreach to those in addiction? Check out this disciple-making curriculum we created just for you entitled Next Steps: Be TRANSFORMED.
 Scripture quotations marked ESV are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
 Scripture quotations marked NASB® are taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org