Addiction is nothing if not a habit. Indeed, we might even do away with the term “addiction” if we did not need it to denote such a uniquely gripping and destructive habit. Some argue that addiction is a chronic medical condition. Others hold that addiction is a moral delinquency. But none can deny that addiction just is habitual drug use despite negative consequences.
Addiction, and therefore drugs, are the epicenter of any addict’s life. So, addiction is not a habit that one can simply quit. In my personal and observational experience, the only effective cure for such a habit is to replace it with something else.
The His Way Schedule
Addicts, those in active addiction, are highly structured people. One’s thoughts, plans, relationships, and work schedules revolve around procuring, using, and recovering from drugs. Drugs frame an addict’s life and are the “structure” that holds it together.
So, when a person sets out to quit drugs, they must also replace the old structure. To this end, His Way sets a rigorous schedule that eases up as one progresses through the program.
For instance, breakfast is served from 4:30 am until 6:30. Then, all residents on campus must attend a fifteen-minute morning devotional at 7. First-month residents attend class from 8 am until 12 pm. From 1 pm until 4 pm, they work on campus or at one of our thrift stores. Dinner for all is from 4:30 pm until 5:30 pm. After dinner, all residents attend a nightly class from 6:15 until 7:30. After class is chore time, all residents have an assigned chore that a House Manager must check off. Curfew is 10:30 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday.
The weekends are more flexible as a resident may work at a thrift store, catch up on bookwork, or simply rest. However, we do have devotion on Saturday at 8 am, and all residents are required to attend a church service on Sunday. After some time, residents begin work and do not attend daytime classes. But mealtimes stay the same, and all residents are required to attend the 6:15 pm class.
Why Structure Is Important
For many, this may sound overwhelming. And for many, it may be, but it is precisely what the newly sober person needs.
Besides, it is much less stressful than a day in the life of an active user. By removing the worries of drug use, His Way allows residents to take a deep breath, think about their lives, and decide what kind of life they want. Our goal is for the resident to incorporate a similar structure into their life that will sustain them long after leaving the program.
Now, I am sure that someone reading this is thinking that I am dead wrong. Someone might say: “all one needs is faith in Jesus!” Of course, they would be correct. However, assertions of faith without action are mere platitudes, empty and devoid of practical use.
The addict who has faith acts as such by leaping into a future without the structure of drugs. By faith, they adopt a new structure and ultimately a new life in Christ.
How Structure Helped Me
Since returning to His Way on March 2, 2018, I have had the pleasure of allowing its structure to mold my life. In August 2018, I began college and will graduate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in May of 2022.
The structure that I adopted from His Way has played a large part in my success in school. By adopting a new structure, I developed new habits, and in turn gave up some old ones.