The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety. It’s connection. It’s all I can offer. It’s all that will help [you] in the end. If you are alone, you cannot escape addiction. If you are loved, you have a chance. For a hundred years we have been singing war songs about addicts. All along, we should have been singing love songs to them. – Johann Hari, Chasing the Scream
I come to you today, friends, to talk about a thing that makes my heart beat fast – because of nerves, mine and yours. Because this is a subject that, I’m coming to discover, touches just about every family you know, and if it hasn’t yet – it will. It’s a subject that most cope and deal with privately, and with good reason. The general connotation that is tied to addiction of any kind is shame, which, for anyone who has watched or experienced it, is just about the worst thing that could be tied to it.
Shame points us to isolation. We retreat and hide because shame highlights our ugly without offering hope. This very thing fills me up with a righteous anger that could easy catapult me into a flailing, Bon-qui-qui esque fit, because the very last thing a person suffering from addiction or a person loving someone suffering from addiction needs is to go it alone.
Four years ago this burden to do SOMEthing became so heavy, so impossible to slip out from under that I began to pray and walk and walk and pray about what – oh what – God wanted me to do about it. I have been steadily praying and wrestling and walking and waiting since then, and I still have no idea how it will all play out. None. But I know this:
My God sees you. He sees you, the professional rehab-er that wants to do better but cannot get out from under it all. He sees you, the rebellious, “don’t have a problem” kid who is secretly scared of the road ahead, but you aren’t sure how to take a different path. He sees you, the parents who are desperate to love you child well through this heartbreaking journey. He knows you are weary from crying out and hearing nothing but silence as your baby literally slips through your fingers. He sees you, church families, who are watching it all happen and do not know what to do to help. He sees you, friends and loved ones who want to do it right but you have no idea what to say, when to say it, if to say it. He sees you, lonely and forgotten, fighting a legal battle that no one seems to care about. He sees you, every one of you, be it addict or loved one, who feels like a shell of a person because the enemy is literally siphoning off every drop of life you have within you. I want you to hear me say that He is not blind, and He will not sit idle while Satan slays a generation. In fact, I believe He will call forth the very ones we declared dead in our own hearts because we watched them fade over decades before our eyes.
Do you know how I know this to be true? Because He stirs within me. He fills me with a righteous anger, a fierceness, and a determination that I could not muster up on my own. He will not let me be silent when, quite frankly, doing so would be so much easier. I have no idea what He is doing or how He will do it, but I want you to know that you are not forgotten. Our God is MIGHTY to save; His heart breaks with yours; He will not leave you alone in this battle.
And neither will I.
Friends, it’s time to stop pretending like this isn’t a cancerous disease that is stealing people from under our noses right and left. It’s time to start thinking about rehab, about punishment, about moving forward in completely different ways. What we are doing isn’t working. It seems to, in fact, be perpetuating the problem. I am all in – to enter the sticky, hard places because those are the very places where Jesus lives. Let’s meet Him there!
God, the Master, says: I’ll dig up your graves and bring you out alive—O my people! Then I’ll take you straight to the land of Israel. When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree. Ezekiel 37