Healing the Scars of Addiction in Christian Families

Healing the Scars of Addiction in Christian Families - Parenting Like HannahWith the rise of the opioid addiction problem, yet another drug is claiming a generation of addicts. But it’s not just opioids. Yesterday, another study came out of the UK about the harmful effects of alcohol – any alcohol – on the body. Not to mention the obvious issues with screen addiction.

So how can Christian families handle addiction? How do you even know if the things you or a loved one enjoys have morphed into an addiction? Is there hope in the seemingly endless cycle of sobriety and addictive behaviors?

The new book Healing the Scars of Addiction by Gregory Jantz, attempts to answer those questions and more. Although, written mainly to an addict, the information is possibly more helpful to the family of someone struggling with addiction.

The most helpful part is towards the beginning of the book. The author gives lots of questions to ask a potential addict to help them identify an addiction. One set is a longer list of questions that could be applied to any addiction. The other is a very short list of questions aimed primarily at alcohol addiction. Interestingly, the latter set of questions could unfortunately be answered yes, by a huge number of people who consider themselves “normal” drinkers.

The other really interesting part at the beginning of the book is the author’s list of potential addictions. While the normal suspects are there, the addition of things like work, anger/negativity, relationships, passive/aggressive behaviors, risk and quite a few more, should give everyone a lot to consider. It was really interesting to think of some of these as addictions that need work to change, rather than behaviors or habits that are an acceptable “part of someone’s personality”.

Much of the book is spent breaking down the thought process of an addict – almost a written intervention of sorts. The author presents several case studies and walks through things the addict said and did – as well as the reactions of close family members – as they reach the conclusion an addiction is present. While some of it would be common knowledge to anyone who has watched enough tv or read articles on the topic, there was still a lot of new information.

The author also takes time to go through what happens to an addict as they begin the process of confronting their addiction. I especially appreciated the section explaining how and why many addicts set themselves up for future relapses even in the recovery process.

While the author is Christian and does address faith a bit, this is not a particularly religious book. I do think God can play a larger role in recovery than the author details, but what he does share is a good start. A few parts towards the end were a bit slow for me, but that’s probably more because I am not an addict and they were written to convince an addict they are worthy of recovery.

The only point I question, was one short section on whether or not to view addiction as a disease. The author quoted a study that backed the disease side of the equation. I have seen a more recent study that gives pretty strong evidence viewing an addiction as a disease is more hurtful than helpful. Since it really doesn’t impact the rest of the information presented, I think that debate can go in the same category as nature v. nurture – both have some value.

If you are struggling with “breaking a bad habit” or someone in your family keeps throwing the word addiction at you, this book can help settle the issue in your mind and help you sort through your problem behaviors. (If others are using the word addiction, there is a problem whether or not there is a true addiction. Your behavior is hurting them and needs to be addressed.)

If you have a child or spouse who is an addict, but hasn’t sought help, this book is a great first read. It won’t give you a to-do list to “fix” your child or spouse, but it does give you a great road map. If nothing else it will help you understand this will be a long road, but there is hope.



This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience. 

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Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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