When it feels as if addiction may win the fight, we must stay strong in our faith.
Addiction is a disease that affects people from all around the world. In America alone there are more than 21 million individuals over the age of 12 battling a form of addiction. The disease not only affects the addict, but friends, family members and co-workers as well. If not treated properly, addiction can destroy families, marriages, communities and businesses. According to Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health from 2016:
—One American dies every 19 minutes from opioid or heroin overdoses.
—Only 10% of those addicted receive treatment.
—The economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse and addiction amounts to $442 billion per year.
—One in seven Americans will face substance abuse.
Addiction can feel like a life sentence without meaning and hope. Those who are struggling can feel as if they are fighting a never-ending battle, but we must remember we are never alone. As stated in the Book of Lamentations, “But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.” (The Message Bible)
When it feels as if addiction may win the fight, we must stay strong in our faith. There is hope in recovery.
Years ago when I was a pastor, a thin, young man on drugs approached me seeking help. He was exhausted from the life of drugs, relapses and treatments. He yearned to be whole again and healed from the disease. He was ashamed of what his life had become and the trouble he had caused his family. Through treatment, faith and support of the church and his family, he became whole again.
No matter the circumstance, recovery is possible. We must stay hopeful. As Anne Frank wrote, “Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” Every time a person enters a recovery center, there is hope. And when anger, resentment and shame no longer rule the heart, hope wins. When a person becomes drug and alcohol free, hope is alive. We must keep on believing that recovery is possible, and never let go of hope.
Lord, help those who suffer from addiction, no matter what form it may take, stay strong in their journey of recovery so that they can be whole again.