Advertising campaigns specifically targeted at African-American communities attempt to delude us into thinking that smoking or drinking will make us more prestigious, smart, attractive, or popular. Research has shown that we as African Americans spend an inordinate amount of time in front of the television set. Therefore, we are disproportionately exposed to televisionís grandiose, yet false, and ultimately harmful message; that grave personal problems can be effectively resolved in thirty minutes or less. What if there were a drug that could chemically induce feelings of upper classness? It would be a lot like crack.
In recent years, "addiction" has become an extremely popular term for describing a wide range of behaviors formerly called "sins." Many would agree that defining sin is best left to religious communities, but convergence of religion and science in the 12-Step recovery movement has brought us full circle to a most pernicious mind trap called "addictive disease."
The common meaning of "sin" in America is "an offense against God or against religious law, or a state of separation from God." Among the religious denominations, ones with more liberal theologies trust the personís subjective relationship to God as the final guidance in matters of personal conduct. As a general rule, the more fundamentalist a religion is and the more it relies upon the objective content of scriptures, the more objectively "sin" is defined. The dynamic interplay of theology and politics is one of the most admirable aspects of the U.S. Constitution, which has been called "The Great American Experiment." Because of the separation of church and state, we have become a great nation---not so much in the economic sense, but in our ethical stance among nations.. that priceless separation insists that while laws may regulate behavior, sin cannot be objectively defined, and government has no business combating sin.
Alcoholic and other drug abuse/dependence is a behavior that has been assigned the designation of a disease or the disease concept of addiction and still it has not been relegated to the physicians and clinicians but is subject to the law of the land and mandatory minimum sentences. It is the belief of this writer that the above described behavior is a sin and all of the related disorders and behaviors should be addressed by the religious community and the medical community i.e. American Society for Addiction Medicine.
Without question the African-American community is hit the hardest and disproportionately by what is called the disease of addiction (sin). The 12-Step recovery group movement, however, has vaulted over the U.S. Constitution by disguising itself as a treatment program for a disease epidemic. Sin-disease has infected the American consciousness to such an extent that the government has undertaken to stamp it out. Once again, our courts are hearing cases pertaining to sin, and sentences are being handed out requiring religious indoctrination.
A great, government-supported industry, the treatment community, wages war on sin. The disease concept of addiction is an article of faith. The experts are divided, having the same doubts and confusion as the general public. remember, also that the addictive disease idea has been around for hundreds of years, but it became accepted only through strenuous propaganda efforts by the recovery group movement. In the absence of supporting evidence, the disease concept gains acceptance on other grounds.
Doctors say itís so, and they should know. The American Medical Association says alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases. People in recovery, the survivorsthemselves, say they have a disease. It is vital to the survival of alcoholics and drug addicts to accept that they have a disease, so that they may receive life-saving treatment. Challenging the disease idea is dangerous, resulting in suffering and death for others.
Employment in certain jobs and holding public office requires endorsement of the disease concept of addiction. One may receive leniency in court and be granted early parole from prison by admitting to addictive disease. Community programs based onthe disease model are more favorably reviewed and funded than if based on other concepts. Addicted people are told that unless they label themselves accordingly, they will die. Typically, they are under great stress, seeking anything that will help. Family members are told that addiction is a family disease that will destroy them all unless they admit they have it and get treatment.
The profit motive accounts for much of the enthusiasm for the disease concept of addiction. Addiction is an incurable, insurable disease. The addiction treatment industry is an expansion of the 12-Step recovery group movement into the money economy.
Pastor Pernell Johnson of God, Culture and Community Ministry is a regular contributor to BlackandChristian.com. His ministry seeks, "to start a program on the internet that addresses the disease concept of addiction. We are committed to the elimination of alcohol and drug use that causes so much death and destruction pre-maturely." Watch for his next installment, "Alcoholic Victorious". The opinions expressed are those of the author and are used with permission.