Addiction: It’s in the news and it’s personal.

I rarely comment on public events and never on celebrity behavior. Mostly the news only hurts my heart and the obsession with the famous is a foreign concept to me. Yet the recent death of Amy Winehouse hits a personal chord, so here we go;
The disease of addiction is a scourge on humanity to be sure. I’ve seen it impact friends and family my entire life. I’ve been held within it’s grips myself and know from experience the depths that it can take one to. It is a disease that affects not only the sufferer but everyone that they come into contact with. Be it alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, pornography, gambling, or a host of other obsessions, addiction spreads destruction and pain wherever it surfaces.
A bit of my story shows a long list of the devastating consequences addiction can sow. I fell into drugs and alcohol in a big way as a teenager. Crime, homelessness, violence, rehab, incarceration, relationship explosions; all the usual suspects followed. My step-father battled drug addiction his entire life, and it eventually took him from us. Pornography addiction, along with covetousness and lust played roles in the near destruction of my family several years ago, they were problems that could not be “will-powered” away. Only through the miraculous work of a loving God has this issue been buried and gone entirely for several years now.
I can’t count the friends who have been stolen, the families I’ve seen torn apart, or the potential I’ve seen evaporate. Even today, the menace of nicotine rides on my shoulder and I cannot seem to buck it.
Through the years some of my best, and longest lasting, relationships have begun in trenches of the war against this disease. Most of my best friends are people I’ve met while we battled alongside each other against our demons. I spent a lot of years in nightly 12-step meetings, and while it has been a long time since I have attended one, the friends I count as family were met there. There must be something inside the soul of the addict that can lock arms around a common sufferer and not let go once we reach a victory over our nemesis.
I don’t think I can be overly dramatic when describing this. Someone who hasn’t been there may roll their eyes and attribute addiction to a lack of willpower, irresponsibility, selfishness, etc., but to those who have felt that monster invade their heart, mind, and soul, there is no doubt about it’s realness and power.
For reasons I can only speculate on, God has relieved much of my personal suffering when I comes to addiction, save these nasty cigarettes (though we are working on that). I bare the scars from it an so does my family. I am stronger because of my experiences and pray that God will redeem them now that he has selected me as his own.
There is a freedom I enjoy that is not common amongst addicts, and that most in recovery would even argue doesn’t exist. No doubt, I have strict boundaries, but the menace of the everyday battle is mostly gone. I haven’t a clue as to why that is other than it is part of Gods plan to use me in some way. I hope and pray that the reasons are so that I can somehow impact the world inside the realm of addiction as well as outside of it. As of now, I don’t know. All I can do is trust in the omnipotence of God and his plan for eternity.
We all should pray not only for the friends and family of Amy Winehouse, but also for the addicts who still suffer. For the families battling with and for their loved ones, my heart goes out to you. Never give up, never give in. There can be recovery, and it can be a beautiful thing, but it isn’t easy. I pray God will bless you and strengthen you.

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