Jump directly to the content

Displaying 1–20 of 20 comments

Andy Black

November 13, 2013  1:49pm

Thank you for sharing your story. All things kept in the dark are shrouded in fear and shame. Those areas we expose to the light become "seen" more clearly, not to mention the relief. Several months ago my wife and I changed churches. On the first day of attending we also sat in on an adult Sunday school class. We watched a short video of a pastor asking 6 non-believers why we Christians were viewed as hypocrites. After the movie as we began our discussion, the topic quickly turned to homosexuals in the church and their potential ordination. When it was my turn I asked, "I wonder if they think we are hypocrites because we spend our time talking about other people and their issues rather than our own very real issues. Why don't we get real and say things like, 'I struggle with porn/drug/alcohol/gambling addiction,' or, 'I'm really struggling with money issues?" Yes, it takes courage to share our lives with others but only in doing so will be become true conquerors.

Report Abuse

Dessie T

November 11, 2013  9:11pm

My heart fell when I read that your husband was taking 30 pills a day. Addiction runs in my family as my father, uncle and grandfather are all alcoholics. There is so much about chemistry and the brain that we yet don't understand. Personally, I believe that many addicts deal w/ anxiety, depression, other mental illnesses and/or physical pain. They take that pill or drink and it helps. And they take the next and the next and the next until they're completely physically addicted. Unbelievably, I became somewhat addicted to Percocet in two weeks after breast cancer surgery. I would sob and sob and my body ached horribly. We finally figured out what it was. So, I don't judge. I can't crawl inside the skin of another. Thank you for your honesty.

Report Abuse

Geoff Smart

November 10, 2013  1:32pm

I am very pleased that articles like this are being published and coming into the church domain. The whole concept of "Christians can't be addicted" is SO false, SO repressive. As Pope Francis said so brilliantly, churches should be field hospitals for the wounded, not "holier-than-thou" hideaways. Prescription pills are a huge issue, congratulations in facing this. Pornography is another huge issue lurking in the wings. This is made worse in church by all the misconceptions on the role of women in church. I reckon St Paul is horrified at the mess the macho male ego made of interpreting his writings.

Report Abuse

Deborah Beddoe

November 07, 2013  9:50pm

e 8305 -- Yes. It's very difficult to boil a 22 year journey down into 1300 words & impossible to address every point. I'm sorry it sounded like I was disparaging 12 step groups other than Celebrate Recovery. I was not. The reason I mentioned AA and NA, ALANON and NARCANON specifically was to illustrate our own ignorance, not to be dismissive of them. Perhaps if my statements had been in quotations it would have been more clear that those were our thoughts at the time -- but are not, in any way, now. However, my purpose in writing the article was not to point out a specific path to recovery as much as to show the naivete, pride, and misconceptions Dave and I had that not only led to and fed his addiction, but also prevented us both from getting to the path of recovery in the first place. And also, because of our experience, am compelled to point out that pill addiction, specifically, is becoming an epidemic very likely invading the church as it has in the general population.

Report Abuse

e 8305

November 07, 2013  8:36pm

"It was my own misconception that recovery groups didn't have any Christians" Wish this could have been made clearer in your original post- it's your post & story & you did a wonderful job! it's just really disheartening to see the stigma Christian's have attached to 12-step groups.. I really hope more believers will have a platform to speak on it's behalf, or just not speak down towards it.. it has created a barrier/stigma for Christians. Celebrate recovery is a relatively new program, it's amazing & has helped a lot of people, but it's not everywhere.. AA & Al-Anon literally have meetings, morning - noon- and night- anywhere in the world.. For those who need help, and do not have access to celebrate recovery, or want something more "anonymous" I encourage them to try it out.. my family is a living testimony to God's work and redemption in AA & Al-Anon.. We are believers, and encourage others to not put a box around God's route towards healing & freedom.

Report Abuse

Vikki Ruby

November 07, 2013  6:15pm

Excellent article thank you for this! I love the weight watchers comparison. So true! This applies also for alcoholics and other substances. My husband is 7 years clean and sober from a 13yr addiction. We are so grateful for AA and Celebrate Recovery and we both go to meetings (I had my own stuff to deal with). The meetings help us but we also do it to help others, praying that God will use our story to encourage others to admit their struggles in a safe environment. When a newcomer is surrounded by other people who have found victory with the thing they are struggling with, that brings hope into their lives

Report Abuse

Dan from Georgia

November 07, 2013  3:26pm

Pop Seal, this is not an attack on you, but your comment is typical of advice and ill-advised counsel directed at the suffering that keeps them from being honest with other people in the church. As Grady Walton stated, your theology on this issue is incorrect. PLEASE for the sake of those who are suffering get in the pit and gutter with the them and minister to them.

Report Abuse

Grady Walton

November 07, 2013  12:01pm

Deborah, thank you for your response. I am happy to hear your husband’s migraines have gone away. I suspected that was probably the case. I know that many people continue to use addicting medications long after the pain has gone away or subsided. For the rest, days without pain become a blessing worth more than rubies and gold. Pop Seal, I’m sorry, your theology on this issue is incorrect. I know many stalwart Christians who are growing deep in the faith who NEVER receive healing from their physical affliction(s). The fullness of Christ (a term that's easy to use but difficult to define) is not always connected to our physical bodies.

Report Abuse

tyjack2012 .

November 07, 2013  9:26am

Great song for posts like this. Why me Lord. Kris Kristofferson 1972 why me lord? what have i ever done, to deserve even one, of the pleasure i've known, tell me lord, what did i ever do, that was worth lovin' you, for the kindness you've shown, lord help me Jesus, i've wasted it so help me Jesus, i know what i am, but now that i know, that i needed you so help me Jesus, my souls in your hand, try me lord, if you think there's a way, i can try to repay, all i've takin' from you, maybe lord, i can show someone else, what i've been through myself, on my way back to you, Jesus, my soul's in your hands

Report Abuse

Jack Ratekin

November 06, 2013  8:49pm

Deborah, Thanks for the clarification. Again I apologize if I sounded critical. I have been involved with this issue for 25 years and it is still very important to me. That's the problem with forums like these. I would guess that if we were having this discussion face to face we would be in total agreement. Blessings to you and your family.

Report Abuse

Pop Seal

November 06, 2013  8:08pm

Medical dependencies are bad but can sustain a person until the fullness of Christ is more realized in the user's life. Christ alive in the believer will eventually overcome our weaknesses. It just takes time and a non judgmental fellowship of support.

Report Abuse

Deborah Beddoe

November 06, 2013  6:49pm

I appreciate that Jack, but your question hit on a critical part of the story (for me) that I couldn't include for space -- so I probably over-explained. In my head, I did not think I was dismissing AA & NA when I said we found help in a Christ-based group. But I see how it could look like that by the negative references earlier in the article. When I refer to recovery in general, I'm including all recovery programs and not just worked for Dave and me. It was my own misconception that recovery groups didn't have any Christians -- because at that time, I didn't think real Christians struggled with addiction the way Dave did. Which is why we are so vocal now. I know Christians now who have found hope and help for recovery through AA, NA, etc. I hope that clarifies?

Report Abuse

Deborah Beddoe

November 06, 2013  6:30pm

Grady, your question is one we've been asked many times, but is one for which I'm afraid we don't have a helpful answer. Dave no longer has migraines -- and hasn't since he's been clean of the medications he was taking. After 15 years of suffering from migraines (whether or not they were "rebound headaches"), it's a miracle. I am not condemning all pain management -- I want to be clear about that. It's a complex issue. But in Dave's case, when he was "actively using," he was taking 30 tramadol pills a day & the recommended dosage was 4-6 pills. That is a vast difference from someone taking pills as directed for pain.

Report Abuse

Grady Walton

November 06, 2013  11:39am

OK this was a good article . . . BUT I’d like to know if Dave was cured of his migraines or, if not, how he now manages debilitating migraine pain without medication. The last part of the following statement from the article aggravates me: “When a pill addict tries to stop, withdrawal kicks in: rebound headaches, flu-like symptoms—and worse—all easily mistaken for the original pain.” There is truth in this statement, but what are people supposed to do when their chronic pain from a medical condition is real and the doctors confirm it is real? How do you manage and function with severe pain when God chooses not to heal and doctors can only offer pills? The reality is that severe chronic pain makes concentration and functioning in our demanding society feel like a nightmare. It steals hope and joy. Addiction is a serious problem, but pain is also a serious problem.

Report Abuse

Jack Ratekin

November 06, 2013  10:51am

Deborah, Thanks for your response. I want to thank you for sharing your story with us. I reread my original comment and I think my tone was unintentionally judgmental. I apologize if you read it that way. I find it tremendously important to let us all know that recovery is available right down the street. There are thousands upon thousands of meetings held in churches every day, yet many Christians can't bring themselves to attend. As noted in another comment, AA and NA may not work for everyone, but you'll never know unless you try. Look around in church on Sunday. Chances are excellent that someone who has found recovery in AA or NA is sitting near you.

Report Abuse

Deborah Beddoe

November 05, 2013  4:26pm

Yes, I had huge misconceptions about AA, ALANON, NA, and NARCANON -- primarily because I knew nothing about them. (I also definitely had a huge prideful/judgmental hurdle to get over.) We ended up in that particular church-based 12 Step group because I found out someone I knew attended it -- which meant I would see a familiar face in a room of strangers as I let go of keeping up appearances. I needed that -- a slow peel. It took us a long time, too, to realize that at it's root a pill addiction, though started by prescription, is the same as any other addiction. Again, just pride that had to be stripped away. A lot of Christians, like me, just don't know how to deal with addiction. It has been a learning process for all of us: pastors, parents, friends, employers. I think everyone closely involved in our story would say they've grown from it.

Report Abuse

Jack Ratekin

November 05, 2013  4:02pm

Congratulations! The miracle of recovery is one of the greatest blessings we can receive from God. Just as we all are prone to sin, we can all receive Grace. One comment and one question: Many have wondered why people in recovery continue to attend meetings. There are two reasons, the first, and most important, is that they are there to help the newcomer. The second is that recovering people are never cured, maintenance is required. My question is why the quick dismissal of AA and NA, Alanon and Narcanon? There are thousands of priests, ministers and pastors (and their families) who attend meetings and have found recovery in 12 step groups. God gave us the miracle of AA in 1935 and it has helped millions since then.Unfortunately it can't help people who think they special cases. In AA that attitude is called "Terminal Uniqueness".

Report Abuse

e 8305

November 05, 2013  2:53pm

great, vulnerable article.. one thing that i couldn't help but comment on was the stigma towards 12 step groups like AA Al-Anon. groups like these are not for everyone, but they are significant for quite a few people & many believers are currently involved in AA Al-Anon, NA, etc & have found recovery & support for decades.

Report Abuse

tyjack2012 .

November 05, 2013  1:27pm

Very good article. It's never an easy road out of addiction. Something tends to drive us there and keep us in bondage there and it is bondage. However, you have a sense of who you were before you were addicted, you've become too comfortable with who you are when you're addicted, and now you have to fight all of that off and more or less find a new identity for yourself. For the Christian, often, that is finding a new identity in Christ but it's such a massive struggle and one that will always be with the addict. Of many people we know the reality of true spiritual warfare. That battle to keep going back to the familiarity of the drug induced comfortable is a tough one. I've been there and I know if I did my drug of choice one more time I'd likely never stop until it killed me.

Report Abuse

Dan from Georgia

November 05, 2013  10:14am

Great article! I am saddened that the church for the most part has been the least helpful institution in this situation. Pray harder? What the sam hill does that mean? Grunt while you pray? Grit your teeth? Read your Bible more? So instead of reading it 5 hours a day, you read it 10 hours a day? Exorcise the "demon of Zoloft?!?!?!" How many of us who struggle with addictions have been given a prescription simple-fix from fellow believers? Most of us...probably all of us who struggle. And most likely from those who don't understand. Even on this blog everytime addiction is a topic, someone invariably says something to the effect of "my so-and-so was healed miraculously from such-and-such, so you should be too!". Gee, thanks for the guilt trip. No. This is another area where brothers and sisters in Christ need to get their hands dirty and get down to loving and ministering to those in the pit.

Report Abuse

 *

* Comments may be edited for tone and clarity.

Include results from Christianity Today
Browse Archives:

So Hot Right Now

Good Sex Comes to Those Who Wait?

Hook-up sex v. married sex: A warning about incentivizing abstinence with personal pleasure.

What We're Reading

CT eBooks and Bible Studies