January 31, 2016: In my recovery from addiction

Posted on : Jan 28th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

I need Christ’s Light in my recovery from addiction

Addiction is a growing problem in American culture. Heroin addiction has become “the #1 issue” in the Presidential primaries in New Hampshire. We seem to have an insatiable appetite for drugs and for many people that comes with the horrible experience of addiction.

It amazes me that Americans get so outraged at the drug trafficking and violence that we hear about in Mexico, but never do I hear anyone upset about the fact that this drug industry exists primarily to provide us in the United States with drugs.

In West Hollywood many in the alcohol and drug recovery community say, “Half of the city is in recovery. The other half should be.” Drug use is huge in West Hollywood and in our country. And in spite of everyone’s best intention, for many it is difficult to use without becoming addicted.

In the last year, I’ve experienced addiction first hand as one of my nephews struggles with recovery. And I’m not alone. Each month as we conclude our Church Council meeting we pray for one another and the members of our church. At one meeting a couple months ago, I asked for prayers for my nephew who had had a relapse and was back in recovery. At that very meeting four out of seven of us had members of our immediate family who were wrestling with addiction, and each asked for prayers. As they say in recovery programs: “It’s the Elephant in the Room.”

Historically Christianity has treated addition as a moral disease. The Biblical justification of that “moral disease” was often supported by the words of the Apostle Paul from Roman 7:15. As always, Paul declares that anything that has to do with the “flesh” is sin and/or evil. That was his issue. But interestingly enough, Romans 7: 15 is of some value in understanding addiction. A contemporary translation of that verse is: “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

Today we know that addiction is not a moral disease but a matter of mental health. Addiction begins in the brain. With that said, the 12 step recovery teaching is correct: The only way to be in recovery from addiction is to not use. That’s where faith really helps. All of the 12 step programs focus on the need for a higher power – not the power of being high, but a Higher Power – which for us in the Christian tradition is God.

This Sunday we’ll look at ways that our faith can help those in recovery, those who are wrestling with addiction, and family, friends and loved ones who learn the hard way what it is to be powerless, while still loving addicts who are using. Our faith has many wonderful resources that can help us.




~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Romans 7: 15-20

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.

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