There’s a serious problem in the US and other parts of the world, and it has to do with addiction to either drugs or alcohol. Whenever you turn on the TV whether to watch the news or one of the popular cop shows there’s a really good chance that something in that show will have to do with addiction. The addiction to alcohol has contributed to too many drunk driving episodes that have killed too many innocent people, and they’ve also contributed to many domestic violence charges too. The addiction to drugs is something that has been growing over the decades, from the fun and mystique of the 70’s to the epidemic it has become today.
It’s not something I have personal experience with nor do I have someone in my immediate circle who is dependent on drugs or alcohol, but I’ve followed the epidemic all the same, in part because of how deadly it is. For many people it starts innocently with a prescription and then snowballs into something more serious. I know that there are people whose lives have been made better because of the drugs that have been developed, and that there are people who are finding relief from medical marijuana. I support the use of drugs and other medical aides, but only with careful supervision and only for those who really need it. There is no reason anyone needs the addiction, and it doesn’t do anything good for anyone.
And yet the addiction grows. But over the past few months there have been a few stories of communities and people who are doing their part to not only combat the addiction but get the people who are addicted help including a small Washington community, and a family doctor in Iowa. Instead of viewing the addicts as a “dirty population” or “homeless” these people and communities are taking a step back and seeing them as people, humans just like themselves. Because while there are some addicts who don’t care, there’s a significant portion of the population who does care and just can’t break free for any number of reasons. Maybe it’s because they don’t have the resources to get clean, they don’t have the support to get or stay clean, or they’re trapped in the community and can’t get free, just to name a few.
Choosing drugs or staying addicted to them certainly isn’t treating your body like a temple, it’s not respecting the gift of a body that God gave you. For those of us who don’t have personal experience with an addiction we can’t understand what they’re feeling, thinking or really going through. We also have to accept that we can’t help everyone and everyone won’t want help. But for those who are willing to get help and be freed from their addiction, we should be open to extending them the same grace, patience and love that God does to us when we experience failings or sin. It’s not our place to judge or criticize them for their failings, just to extend the friendship and help that God would extend to us.
If you’re struggling to understand this whole topic I would encourage you to read some of the articles and stories from the communities and people around the country who have been addicts, are trying to make a difference in the lives of addicts, or are on the front lines interacting with addicts like police and emergency medical technicians. Understanding is one of the first steps to being able to help, or at the very least pray about this epidemic. After that we need to take a real hard look at our communities and whether we’re working to resolve this epidemic or not, and the damage it’s doing to our world. What are your thoughts and experiences with addiction?