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Think of it like “going to church meetings.” A teen can “go to a church meeting” on Sunday, hear an amazing message, express conviction and remorse, and by Sunday night he’s back into the same old patterns. Too many sincere parents think the church is the total solution to their child’s problems. The church can bring supplemental help, but it’s not the total solution. A treatment center is similar.
Bad company corrupts people (1 Corinthians 15:33). A person with an addiction needs much more than a treatment facility if he wants to change. While a treatment facility can (1) give him time to recalibrate his soul and (2) give the family a break from his problems, there must be a practical plan to bring sweeping and sustaining change to his life after the facility experience.
The primary key to this will be his desire to change. If he is the one asking to go to a treatment facility, rather than it being mandated by the family or authorities, you may find that a short- or long-term facility to be the right answer. If he is willing to forsake every bad habit and bad friend before, during, and after treatment, there is much hope for change.
The doctrine of sin informs us that sin is ever-present, always on the prowl, and will not stop trying to trip us up all the time. That is the nature of sin, and our hearts are weak without biblical fortifications.
The following questions are perfect for assessing the seriousness of the person who is a candidate for a treatment facility. If you’re the caregiver, perhaps you can answer these questions to the degree that you understand the person. If the person is ready for a life change, he can answer these questions for himself.
Step #1 is grace–God’s unearned favor on your life.
Step #2 is the gospel–God’s power to bring change to your life.
Step #3 is humility–the ground upon which the Gospel will do its work.
Step #4 is discernment–the ability to perceive the real truth about yourself.
Step #5 is obedience–the desire to follow-through with the Spirit’s illuminating instructions.
Step #6 is perseverance–the grace-empowerment to stay the course.
Step #7 is gratitude–the heart that cannot be silent about God’s good work.
Step #8 is exportation–the person who wants others to know, feel, and experience a similar transformation.
If he’s not willing to change, you may choose to send him away while asking God to break his heart during his time in the facility. Perhaps the Lord would use the treatment center as the means to “break him” if he is not broken prior to entering (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
Regardless of the motive for going, you must make sure that after he returns, you have all the means necessary setup to help him not fall back into his old paths.