Is addiction really about chemical hooks? Alone, rats always chose the drugged water. In “Rat Park,” they didn’t choose it. Post-Vietnam: 95% of heroin users stopped using heroin. Addiction is an adaptation to an environment we want to avoid facing. If we can’t bond with others, we will bond with something that gives us a sense of relief. A core part of addiction is that we can’t bear to be present in our own reality. Portugal found that punishment, criminalising and stigmatising, only served to disconnect addicts more. So, they decriminalised all drugs AND spent instead on reconnecting people, helping them face their reality. Something to get out of bed for in the morning. Bonds & relationships. They halved their drug problem over the 15 years since.
Disconnection is a driver to addiction.
Social media only parodies real flesh and blood friends you can call on in a crisis. It disconnects us from them by replacing them. We traded floor space for friends. We need to talk about social recovery.
Loving addicts is hard, but communicate that you will deepen the connection, prove they are not alone, help them engage more in their life. The opposite of addiction is connection.
To be clear, not just any connection, but connection that helps people to engage their reality.
Jesus helps me connect with all of reality. My family and friends help me too. But if a person has no-one to help connect them to reality, it stands to reason that they may need someone to help them connect. That’s where outreach matters.
So is that what we really bring to a person’s front door – ourselves? That “we’re ready to help you connect with reality, especially the part you’re maybe most avoiding – God.” We don’t bring God since he’s already there. We’re just helping them connect to who is already there.
In outreach, we offer a connection with us, to help connect with God, with that reality. “We’ll come to your household, your networks, and help you all to make those reality-engaging connections with God and each other. And we’ll stay till not only are you connected, but till you’re able to help others with their connections too.” That’s what Jesus already did for all of us. And what he calls us to do for others.
When reaching out locally, I’m looking for anyone who’s willing to take us up on that offer.