Saturday, February 7, 2009


When I think of an addict, I think of someone slinking around in the shadows. Someone who makes whatever moves are necessary to fulfill the insatiable craving that eats at them. They no longer fit into normal society. They are dirty, homeless, desperate folks whose life has spun out of control. They are certainly not the sort of person that I would be involved with. The overriding cravings, for drugs, alcohol, crime, overeating, gambling, pornography, or sex, ultimately turn to a physical or psychological dependence. Several recent studies have indicated that in the addict, there are definite and quantifiable changes to the brain chemistry. The addiction, in time, involves so much more than force of habit, weakness of character, or rebellion. Some behaviors, such as addictions to sex or gambling, can result in chemical imbalances in the brain on the level of heroin users. The difficult thing to fully grasp, perhaps, is that my mental picture of an addict is a poor caricature. There are addicts all around us. Folks who, on first look, seem just as normal as the rest of us. Folks who go to our church or maybe work at our company or have similar interests as our own. These people may have spouses and children. They may be well dressed and well groomed. They may have positions in the church. Yes, my initial thoughts were a poor reflection of the addict, but one thing is likely true. Namely, the addict engages in behaviors that they would go to any length to conceal from others in their life. The problem is that most addicts cannot move to recovery on their own. They need people in their life who know the intimate details of their addiction, who will not turn away from the horrifying and graphic reports, and who can wisely and honestly counsel them and keep them accountable for their actions and their behavior. Getting past our addictions takes no small amount of courage and effort either. Believe me when I tell you that I speak from personal experience. If you are under the control of a substance or a behavior or a state of mind, please find someone who you can open up to and let everything out. It can ultimately mean the difference between life and death.