Walking with an addict through the process of change takes wisdom, love, and perseverance. To walk with an addict is both a gift and a grief. In the Crossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Addiction (Facilitator’s Guide), Welch walks leaders through the process of loving, connecting with, and speaking truth to a group of addicts. This book contains helpful observations about the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual state common to most addicts. With access to Welch’s solid theology on addiction and years of counseling experience, counselors, pastors, and others with a heart for hurting people can play an active role in God’s restorative work in the lives of those enslaved to an addiction.
Every one of us is a potential addict. In a pressure-filled world, the prospect of instant escape can be exhilarating. No matter the object—drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, or sex, just to name a few—addictions lure us. They extend the promise of pleasure. In the end, they deliver emptiness, death, and destruction. What began as an escape from the hassles of life becomes a form of bondage. Addiction is voluntary slavery. Change doesn’t come easily. But change is possible!
Crossroads was designed as a group study for those struggling with addiction. These ten steps, presented in Ed Welch’s trademark direct and no-nonsense style, provide a biblical framework for change. Welch is a wise and loving partner who walks beside readers on their journey to freedom. Along the way, they will learn to recognize the patterns of addiction, to choose wisdom over foolish desires, and to cling to the hope they have in Jesus, who sets captives free. The path away from addiction has been laid by a God who is full of surprises, who faithfully pursues those enslaved even though they have deliberately avoided him.
Behind the Scenes of Crossroads : A Note from Ed Welch
In Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave (2001), I tried to identify the basics of a theology of addiction. I was thinking primarily of counselors, pastors, addiction’s group leaders—people who wanted to see more of Scripture’s depth as it applies to the thorny, complex problems of addictions. I was certainly thinking of addicts themselves, but I knew that they would have to be highly motivated and already committed to change for the book to be helpful to them. I was imagining helpers reading this book while addicts were looking over their shoulders.
Crossroads reverses the picture. Now I want addicts to read this book with helpers looking over the their shoulders, perhaps curious about what kind of literature could hold an addict’s attention. My goal was to speak to a person struggling with an addiction in a way that was faithful to the way God communicates with us. In other words, I attempted
…to speak directly at times
…to ask questions in the way Jesus would often ask questions
…to teach and lead, surprise or, even better, amaze
…to point out the path of beauty
…to provide warnings
…to have hope come through on every page because all of God’s words to the addict are summed up in the good news given to us by Jesus Christ.
The title comes from one of the recurring images in the book. When you read through Proverbs you notice that we are always standing at a crossroads, with wisdom taking us to the Kingdom of Heaven and folly trying to seduce us away from it. At that decision point, we better be absolutely wide awake, with all our wits about us, because our natural instinct is to veer off onto the path of folly.
There are other images that run through the book as well: light, darkness, wilderness journey, and banquets. Any of them could be the organizing theme, but crossroads was the one I kept returning to in earlier drafts of the book, and I found it personally helpful to be brought into Scripture with that image in mind.
The book, of course, is unapologetically God-oriented and Christ-focused. This might be too much for a secular drug and alcohol counselor, but it should suit addicts just fine. They know they need help, and they know they need God.
In the Table of Contents, you will notice that the steps that specifically talk about the God of Scripture come in the middle of the book. I do that for two reasons. Primarily, I want addicts to see themselves more accurately before really considering the character of God. Otherwise, they could miss how God says exactly what they need to hear. A lesser reason for the placement of this section, the Hebrew style of writing often places the climax in the middle. I didn’t consciously intend to place the specifics of God and the gospel there, but I am sure there is something in my DNA at this point that does such things.
All the basics should be there: reading Scripture, prayer, confession, and hope through knowing Jesus Christ and responding to him. The means of change for the addict are the same as they are for everyone else.
That’s what I was thinking about when I wrote Crossroads.
If you have used it, I would be interested in hearing about it. What worked? What could be changed? I’d be glad to get your thoughts.
Publisher: New Growth Press
Publication Year: 2008