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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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In dealing with additions, we have to look at the “whys” behind the problem

In dealing with additions, we have to look at the “whys” behind the problem

When we deal with addictions like the present drug problem, we usually explore what the addicts are using and how they got started using their preferred drug. We often look at the source of the drugs and try to find ways to prevent its spread and how can we warn potential users of its dangers. What we rarely discuss is the “why.”

Why do people turn to drugs in the first place?

Dr. M. Scott Peck in his book, The Road Less Traveled, gives us the answer in his first page. He says in his first paragraph, “Life is difficult.” In the next paragraph he says, “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

Then in the next paragraph he says that most people do not embrace the truth that life is difficult. They moan about their life, the immensity of their problems, their burdens as if life should be easy.

People become overwhelmed by their problems and try to escape by turning to addictions like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, buying, gambling, etc. That’s the “why” of addiction.

I think another part of addiction is the lack of self confidence that we can face life and use our gifts and talents to overcome any obstacles. We humans have a bad habit of comparing ourselves with others. In doing that we fail to see our own God-given talents and gifts. We need to stop looking at what other people have and start looking within ourselves to see what God has given us.

In the 2nd Century St. Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.”

We will never be fully alive if we are constantly comparing ourselves with others.

The ancient Greeks used to say, “An unreflected life is not worth living.”

We have to meditate constantly on where we are and what is happening in our lives. Again, we need to get in touch with our inner self. We need to use our God-given powers to face life and overcome our difficulties.

Another thing we have to deal with in life is to examine the messages we get from our society. One fake message that I call the “American lie” is “You can become anything you want to be.”

This is a lie because God has given all of us different talents to be used in different ways. I could never be a brain surgeon but I am a good counselor. Again, everyone has different gifts and talents and we have to discover our personal gifts and talents and develop them for our own good and for the common good.

The fact that I am a good counselor does not make me better than anyone else. We are all equal in the sight of God.

Recently Pope Francis told the newly created cardinals, “The only credible form of authority is born of sitting at the feet of others to serve them.” He goes on to say, “None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person in this way is when we are helping them to stand up.”

The last and most important aspect of dealing with addictions is the necessity of having God as part of our lives. Jesus invited us to come to him with our burdens. He said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:28-29)

Let us take up Jesus’ offer and allow him to help us carry our burdens!