I want to talk about something that is a little out of the norm for my post but I believe it is something very important that needs to be talked about. I think that the average person looks at this topic as only “lower class” or “bad people” have this problem, and if you do have the problem, then it somehow makes you less of a person. Addiction can trap anybody. You can be the best person on the earth and struggle with addiction. You can be the most upstanding Christian and struggle with addiction. It has no favorites and welcomes any and everyone. It doesn’t have to be just drugs either. It can be food, gaming, porn, self pity, compliments, shopping, etc. Addiction is when you have a need to overdo anything and can not just stop doing it. And I firmly believe that nobody ever intends to create an addiction.
Most addictions start because a person has a need that is not being met. The need to heal from a past pain, the need to feel loved, the need to not feel the turmoil they have inside, the need to escape, the need to be happy, the need to be able to cope, and the list goes on. Whatever unmet need the person needs they find it in what they are doing. Then before they know it they find themselves obsessively doing it and have created an addiction. They no longer can go on a day to day basis without having it. It consumes them and has a negative effect on their life. It is no longer “fun” but a necessity to function.
Instead of looking down on those who suffer with addiction we need to see them as what they truly are, hurting people who are missing something very important. They are no less of a person, a child of God, than you are. They have just as much potential as you do. They are just as worth saving as you are. And they need love, patience, mercy, and friendship just like you do. There has been many times that I have listened to an addicts story and thought to myself, “no wonder they struggle with addiction” because their story is horrible. The pain that is seen in their eyes makes me want to wrap my arms around them and never let go..
Yes it is true that people that struggle with addiction often times do things that end up hurting those closest to them. Sometimes they lie, cheat, and steal to be able to feed their addiction, so they often can not be trusted, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth loving. It gets to a point that the need to feed the addiction controls them. They usually don’t want to lie, steal, or hurt anyone but their need to feel the feeling that the addiction gives them overrides their morals and standards. The things that some of them end up doing actually cause even more self hatred and turmoil, causing them to have no self worth at all.
If you know someone struggling with an addiction I encourage you to show them some love and compassion. Talk to them, ask them what their story is, tell them that there is hope for a better future. Offer to be a listening ear whenever they feel the need to express their feelings. Offer to support them in some way on a journey to healing. Think about how you would want someone to treat you if you were in their shoes and do accordingly. If they are not ready to get well then you can not make them but you can still treat them with dignity and love. It may be the love and compassion that you show them that makes them end up choosing to get well.
I am not saying that it is easy to deal with and support someone in active addiction but it is what they need. It requires us to be balanced in our support by being stern on boundaries and saying no and sticking to it. It requires us to love the person and not support the addiction. It takes compassion, patience, empathy, and loving stern boundaries. But if we step to those with an addiction instead of away from them we may be able to show that person that they are worth more and deserve better. Ultimately it is their choice to choose to overcome their addiction but if they are always shunned by others then 9 times out of 10 they will never even try.