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What's Under the Harm Reduction Umbrella? Part One

By Jeannie Little LCSW 05/28/15

Can abstinence be considered a part of harm reduction?

"Harm reduction moves the fundamental values of “recovery” from powerlessness and abstinence to empowerment and choice. Rather than posing a threat to 12-step programs, harm reduction offers a larger umbrella under which all people and all options for change can coexist. Because it explores the reasons that people use drugs, harm reduction covers more territory in understanding substance use and misuse. Harm reduction therapy is inclusive. "Come as you are" is the mantra of harm reduction therapy—anyone is welcome, regardless of their relationship with drugs, their goals for future use, and their motivation to change. Any route to change is supported, and every positive change applauded. In other words, harm reduction therapy meets people at their stage of change."

Read more: http://www.thefix.com/content/under-harm-reduction-therapy-umbrella-part-1


Abstinence and moderation are indeed parts of Harm Reduction, especially when the goal is Sobriety. With Celebrate Christ we are powerless over our tendency to do the wrong thing (to be perfect). We are NOT powerless over our ability to choose and ascertain right from wrong.  After all don't humans have free will and choice? Chemical abuse is a symptom of something wrong in our lives, not a disease, even though it might be politically and economically efficacious to call it a disease.
The function (purpose) of addiction is to reverse a sense of overwhelming helplessness. Addiction always serves and emotional purpose. When circumstances in life make us feel helpless, trapped and out of control, some folks attempt to regain control of their circumstance with mood altering drugs. Taking the drug temporarily removes the trapped feeling because the abuser is doing something about it, they are regaining control of how they, "Feel." This is called a Displaced Behavior. The treatment is to replace how we, "Feel," with the values of the Bible. When we behave with Christ Driven Behavior (Direct) there is no displaced (addictive) behavior and therefore no addiction. Abstinence is not necessarily the goal. Sobriety is the goal. Sobriety is a general state of well-being where we honor the values of Jesus Christ in our thinking and actions.

Celebrate Christ Recovery is dedicated to the idea that a person's values and purpose are the main navigational tools in life. People overcome hurts, habits and hang-ups out of purpose-based motivation -- they better themselves when they recognize how their habits, violate who they were, what they want to be, where they want to go in life. All change ultimately occurs because of decisions (Thinking) people make for themselves. People change when they HURT enough and have to or when they LEARN enough and want to. People change when they are, "Motivated," to change and they choose to change. The Bible is the book that contains this template for purpose based motivation, mindfulness, character, values and tenets for life. (Sermon on the Mount-The Eight Beatitudes). Empower yourself and choose to allow the philosophical values and principles of Jesus Christ to TRANSFORM your thinking and change the very essence of your life-forever.

The important issue is not the question of which is better: abstinence of moderation. The goal is one of sobriety, where values trump feelings, where the self procured quick fix or mood changer  is NOT displaced compulsive behavior but is direct Christ Driven healthy behavior! The best Sobriety is a state of well being, choosing the values of the Bible. Sobriety is where we eat well most of the time, move well some of the time, think well most of the time and honor God all of the time.

The Occam's Razor test of lacking sobriety is the answer to these three  questions:

1. Does your hurt, habit or hangup, your drug of choice, separate you from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
2. Do you escape how you feel by engaging in displaced addictive behavior (drugs, alcohol, porn, anger, etc.) in order to attempt to regain control over your feeling helpless, trapped, powerless and out of control?
3. Are you making, "False idols," out of your compulsive behavior (chemical abuse)? (The psalmist asks, “How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?” (Psalm 4:2).

Where do you get your values? Are your values derived from how you feel? Change your thinking and change your life (metanoia). "Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed with new thinking." Romans 12:2

"I am a Surrendered Believer in Jesus Christ with Free Will and I CHOSE Surrender (Intelligent Delegation) in my victory over, “Recreational Chemical Abuse, my weekend, "False Idols."
"I chose DIRECT health assertive Christ Driven Behavior (CDB) instead of DISPLACED behavior in order to regain control over feeling helpless, powerless, trapped and lacking control. I changed my, "Thinking," and God changed my life."
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There is no reason why anyone with any hurt, habit, or hang up cannot be helped. The Person-God partnership simply needs to be more powerful than any hurt, habit or hangup.

Behind everything you do is a THOUGHT.

Every BEHAVIOR is motivated by a BELIEF.

Every ACTION is prompted by an ATTITUDE.


With respect to behavior, life is about, emotions, beliefs, thinking and control.

"A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."Proverbs 29:11 (Displaced Behaviors)

"Do not be conformed by this world but instead by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2 (Direct Behavior)

When you think and empower yourself and surrender control to God, when you Intelligently Delegate Control to God (2 Corinthians 12:9-10),

God returns that control to you with a, “Helper," the Holy Spirit, (John 14:16) a form of Reciprocal Innervation.

You regain control: "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

No longer are you subject to corrupted displaced thinking but instead are transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

This is where science and scripture intertwine, where Christ Driven Behavior brings, values, control, cause, character and purpose driven behavior, the fruits of the spirit Galatians 5:22-23 .

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.


Proverbs 29:11 "A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back."

Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

2 Corinthians 12-9:“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

John 14:16: "He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—"

Philippians 2:13: "for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Galatians 5:22-23 "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Ephesians 4:22-23 "...put away the old person you used to be. Have nothing to do with your old sinful life. It was sinful because of being fooled into following bad desires. Let your minds and hearts be made new."

Life is about finding Purpose. When you have a, "Global Purpose," in life, healthy direct assertive thinking and behavior follow.

Change your thinking, change your life!

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