Are we all Addicts?

What is your drug of choice?  comfort, security, competition, praise, staying busy, controlling people, being in shallow relationships, having too much or too little money, worrying, seeing ourselves as superior or inferior to others.

The above list of addictions came from an intriguing post on Theoblogical titled “What’s Stopping Us?” which claims that we are all addicted to something and for most of us it is not substances but culture.  So, what are you hooked on?

Assuming there is some truth to this statement how do we overcome these addictions?

Theoblogical gives us this cure for what ails us:

  • a group that is breaking with the culture, the world’s systems, and providing support for total recovery from that culture [according to the post it is “in Christ” but I think my AA friends would argue differently]
  • a reconciling group of extreme diversity, especially highly privileged and severely oppressed
  • a group closing the gap between the deepening of personal faith and the expression of that faith in public political ways
  • a group seeking biblical justice in all forms, including the redistribution of wealth
  • a praying group, growing in our capacity to love, understanding that authentic love is always nonviolent.

I liked the above prescribed cure because it so closely aligns with what our Community Works groups are all about.  We are gathering a radically diverse group of people in low income communities (where the wealthy never step foot) and telling them that they (not the government), by the power of God (not human might) hold the power to change their own lives and their community.  We are breaking with the cultural messages of  that breed complacency, materialism, entitlement, dependency, arrogance, fear of the other, powerlessness, hopelessness and building up a spirit of unity, humility, advocacy,  self-sufficiency, love and generosity.

I know a number of you are in recovery from various addictions both substances and culture. What do you think of the cure proposed above?  Do you agree, disagree? Would you add to it, subtract from it?  What freed you from your addiction?  Do you think we are all addicted to something?  If so, what would you say to those who are still in denial?

While many in our communities battle addictions to substances, it is the additions to culture named in the Theoblogical post that we can’t see that are cancerous to our society and impact us all.

So, are you an addict?  Are you willing to admit that you are “powerless” over your addiction and join a group of fellow addicts who are seeking to “work their recovery” together?  If so, I invite you to join one of our Community Works groups and be embraced by a bunch of sick and suffering cultural addicts who together are finding healing.


Filed under Urban Ministry

5 responses to “Are we all Addicts?

  1. Louis Williams

    I like your reflections on the article “What’s Stopping Us?” and your challenge to break free from an Amierican cultural worldview by embracing a biblically informed worldview. The metaphor of drug addiction is helpful but it needs to be pionted out that it is a metaphor that breaks down if taken literally. We are not addicted to “comfort, securitry, etc.” in the same way a heroin addict is addicted. Unlike the drug addict who is not in his/her right mind, we are responsible for the biblical truth that we know in our right mind. We need to do all that Jesus commands us regardless of what the world might think of us. If it seems foolish by the world’s standards to embrace our neighbors through joining a Community Works group, then that is exactly what you should do.

  2. Charles Fitzgerald

    In response to your remark about A.A., we do believe in Christ, God or whom ever your faith allows but regardless it’s a power greater than any human power and I know it works. The true belief that we all are created equal and are all God’s children makes living in peace and harmony fairly simple. What brings discomfort is when we treat others differently than the way God wants us to treat our brothers and sisters. It is very easy to become selfish and self-centered and not know that God work through people and who you mistreat could be an agent of God, isn’t that scary. There is so much peace in treating people like I like to be treated even those who don’t treat me that way because God is the ultimate authority and he knows my heart.

  3. wmccaig

    Thanks Charles and Louis for your comments.

    Louis – I agree the metaphor breaks down but is helpful when we think about overcoming the things that hold us back. It would be interesting to really look more fully into the AA model and learn from it’s success not only in what is holding our urban friends back but also our suburban friends.

    Charles – I hope when I grow up I can learn to love like you described, especially the people I don’t like. One thing I have learned from you is that “loving” someone means holding them accountable and I think that is the part that causes me the greatest difficulty.

    It is far easier to ignore behaviors and allow people to experience the pain of their destructive behaviors than it is to hold them accountable and thus love them enough to actually help them.

    I think that is where most Christians fall down. We think by giving people what they want, we are demonstrating love but often saying no is the most loving thing we can do. I learned that lesson the hard way and as you know it is a lesson I keep learning over and over.

    I think the power of AA lies in people giving others the authority to speak into their lives and hold them accountable. Most of us who suffer from cultural addiction are not willing to admit we need that level of accountability. I have also seen those who suffer from addiction to substances who disconnect from people who will hold them accountable, are the ones that relapse. Charles, I know your willingness to be your brother/sisters keeper makes you an unpopular man at times but I think eventually people see your heart is in the right place and that you love them enough to challenge behaviors that are self destructive.

  4. rudy

    It is universally known that I am an addict of the numerous variety, but it is good to see people understand their own addictions and look at the trouble they have in trying to control them. I challenge everyone who reads this reply to try to stop doing something that they have been doing for years for one week. Whether it’s not watching your favorite t.v. show or take another route to work, or even dressing in a different order. Let me know how hard it is. In doing this exercise, you will have a little insite on how hard it is for a drug addict or alcoholic to change his/her ways. You will literally have to be taught how to stop doing the things for even a week.

  5. Pingback: Join the Conversation – April « Putting Faith to Work

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