We’ve written a lot about the struggle most of our folks have with one form of addiction or another. We’ve documented the rapid increase in heroin use in our city and how it has impacted our ministry. It’s almost impossible to put into words how intense the struggle is for those that are trying to get clean. Sometimes it’s easy for us to think that if a person can win that battle and get clean, everything else will fall into place. Get off drugs, get a steady job, and everything is good, right? We have to stop and think about why people use drugs in the first place. You don’t throw everything in life down the drain just to get high. So, some of the questions are:
What are they running from?
What are they trying to mask?
What do they not want to feel?
Do they have any coping skills other than getting high?
Recently, one of our guys said, “I haven’t felt emotions in like 5 years. I just don’t know what to do with all of it if I don’t use drugs.” In that moment, he didn’t want to go get high. But he was struggling and didn’t know how to process and cope with the problem at hand.
So, it’s a lot more than just getting clean. It’s re-learning (or learning for the first time) how to deal with life. And that’s not an easy process. It’s not easy for them and it isn’t easy for us.
We take so much of what we know, how we process things, and how we cope with stress for granted. Some of the issues and problems they struggle with seem so simple and sometimes even petty. But we have to constantly remind ourselves where they’re coming from. We have to extend grace. However, we can’t overlook a problem just because it isn’t as bad as getting high. We have to teach in the moment and help them learn from the process.
Pray for our folks that are in the process of getting clean. Pray that they overcome their addiction, but also pray that they learn the necessary coping skills to go out and face life in a healthy way. Pray for us in this process too. Pray that we extend grace when grace is needed and pray that we teach in the moment in a healthy and uplifting way.