In the world of substance dependence, there is a question that every addict knows is coming. They wait for it in the interview…
“What is your drug of choice?”
Sometimes I don’t really need to ask. The track marks or rotted teeth answer for them. Other times I hide my shock as the well-put- together mom or business man responds with “meth” or “heroin” or ” just alcohol” as if alcohol is as harmless as the lint that lines the top of my computer screen.
Truth is we are all addicts of one kind or another.
Some addictions are not socially acceptable and the addict finds themselves neck deep in rehab classes just to avoid a jail sentence, while other addicts quietly use their cell phone to get their fix. Avoiding the glare of the full computer screen and history file keep their hidden passions private, except not really. There is a God who sees their thirst for skin as clearly as the bottle of Jack that sits empty in the cabinet.
Some addictions are illegal. The addict resorts to hiding in the less than desirable empty house on the edge of town to shoot up his veins that are now scarred and twisted and sometimes absent. As soon as the liquid hits his bloodstream an eerie calm floods him. Other addictions are perfectly legal. No one calls the police to arrest the woman who politely hands over her cash to the drive through worker as he hands her bags of food that she will consume, then expel one way or another. She will hate herself for it, as much as the one who wakes up in a few hours in the floor of the house with the realization that the high is over. The image obsessed continues to feed the hunger of the perfect body, balancing binging with countless hours at the gym and self recrimination in the mirror. The heroin user hunts down the purest goods he can afford while avoiding the police bust that come as sure as his own overdose.
Addictions come in many forms. While there programs and meetings for those that struggle with the grip of Lortab and Oxycontin bought on the streets or prescribed in excess by an irresponsible care provider, no one offers Wednesday night meetings in the basement of the church for compulsive people pleasers. Addicted to the feeling of euphoria that praise can bring, they go to any length to garner a smile or any token of appreciation. Like the mom in the minivan who resorts to forged prescriptions or worse, buying pills from the kid down the street, the compulsive people pleaser will sell her own peace of mind and the cheaply as that just to hear that she is liked or invited to the next girls night out. She will deny her own soul and trade in her own children to look good to the same neighbor that is napping in her opiate haze. She will sell herself into credit card debt just to keep up. With who? She does not even remember their names.
They are vicious, these addictions. And just like the first high, once is never enough. Just like subsequent trips, never as good. The drive to succeed will take a good man away from his family just as clearly as meth will leave a man homeless.
The self righteous pride brings a rush as sure as the rush of meth makes one hyper alert.
And in the end, every addict finds himself full of regret. While many I’ve talked to deny their addictions, never have I heard someone glad for the time, pain and helplessness addiction bring.
What’s your drug of choice?
What is the thing that occupies your mind and renders you helpless?
We are all addicts because we are all sinners. It’s just different idols to which we bow.
And God, the Addiction Breaker, the New Heart Maker, comes along side us and offers rehab of the highest order. He leans in and whispers…
” I want to help you, free you….what is your drug of choice?”