Lucy le Roux
Help with our addiction research

The Jubilee+ team has been thinking and praying about where the nation is going to be in 20 years time, what the key issues are likely to be and what needs to be done to increase the capacity of the Church to meet these needs.

One area of concern identified is addiction, both in terms of substance addictions (e.g. drugs and alcohol) and non-substance addictions (e.g. pornography and gambling). This is because those struggling with addictions can be some of the most broken people in our society. Addiction can break people physically, mentally and emotionally, putting families into turmoil and potentially destroying the lives of many.[1]

Jubilee+ is exploring how to best equip churches/Christian organisations to work with addicts. The first phase of our work is to establish what is currently happening in the UK by identifying the scope, location and nature of as many Christian organisations/churches working with addicts as possible.

We need your help with this! If you know of any Christian addiction work please email us (admin@jubilee-plus.org) the name of the project and the key contact person.

Addiction is a huge problem in our nation: in a group of 100 adults there are approximately six people addicted to alcohol, 19 people addicted to nicotine and one person addicted to another drug. People may have more than one of these addictions and there will be people with non-substance addictions, including gambling and pornography.[2]

National Parliaments are currently seeking to tackle addiction in a variety of ways. Most recently in the news the UK Supreme Court has backed the Scottish Parliament in its bid to put a minimum price on alcohol units.[3] This is in an attempt to curb alcohol misuse: Scotland has the highest rate of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK.[4]

At the 2017 Jubilee+ conference Dr Joss Bray, a substance misuse doctor in prisons, founder of Competent Compassion and a leader of Gateway Church Northumberland, gave an informative and inspiring talk on the role of the Church in combatting addiction (available here). He argued we need to be churches that are welcoming places for addicts. He said it is vital that there is awareness for all church members on the basics of addiction and the support people need. 

As part of Joss’s talk, a former addict called Paul shared his story. It was powerful and uplifting to hear how his life has been transformed through encountering Jesus and receiving support. He said that people need three things to be set free from addiction: Jesus; a job; and support. 

Many Christians are working to transform the lives of addicts and their families. It is painstaking work that requires patience, perseverance and wisdom. There are not quick fixes when helping those with life-controlling addictions; they often need support for many years.

So far Jubilee+ has looked at over 100 projects as part of our research into Christian addiction work. From this research on the scope and scale of current work, we will draw conclusions that will inform how Jubilee+ can best support churches and Christian charities working with addicts. 

We would be grateful for your contributions to our work. Please send suggestions of organisations/churches working with addicts and/or ideas of support needed to: admin@jubilee-plus.org 

Lucy le Roux works on the Jubilee+ Social Impact Research Team and is currently researching addictions. Her background is in International Development and the social-economic geographies of the UK.

[1] See RHM Recovery for more information on specific addictions.

[2] Taken from Jubilee-Plus: A Deeper Look at Addiction.

[3] Taken from BBC News, October 2017. Article here.

[4] Taken from the Office National Statistics 2017 website (see here).