The problems that come from drugs and alcohol have affected everyone in some way. I think we all know somebody or know of someone whose life was wrecked by drugs and alcohol (maybe we’ve been that someone) or have even taken their life because of drug or alcohol abuse. I’ve heard it said that that kind of lifestyle would end you in jail or the morgue. A New York Times article noted that “Illegal drugs and alcohol helped lead to the imprisonment of 4 out of 5 inmates in the nation’s prisons and jails.” In 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that over 27 million people in the U.S. are current users of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs. Over 66 million people reported binge drinking in the past month, and it’s estimated that the yearly economic impact of substance abuse is $442 billion.
Why do so many choose this path or fall into these addictions? I heard a former addict once say, “Drugs are just the icing on the cake, my heart is the problem!” I identify all too well with what he said because my past addictions came from a hurting heart that came from broken relationships. And I’ve seen it time and time again — friends getting utterly wasted because the girl of their dreams broke their heart. I heard it said that 1 out of every 2 men are addicted to porn, and 1 out of every 3 babies are aborted. What is the underlying thread? Broken relationships! As we turn to such things as sex and drugs (that only fill us momentarily, so we have to go back again and again), we cry out because the brokenness won’t end. In fact, the brokenness becomes all we know!
We hear, “What is truth?” Society answers, “It’s relative to what you think is true! There are no absolutes!” But sadly, I know we will absolutely die some day. “The fear of man brings a snare (trap), But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25) I fell into this fear of men, this fear of not being accepted, and l fell into many traps and many hard roads and deep ditches. It looks so inviting and harmless until you’re upstream without a paddle and you think it’s everyone’s fault but your own. Broken relationships and the drugs were the icings on the trap. Not till I asked Jesus to forgive me for all the wrong I’d done did my broken heart open up to receive some healing and God started to heal the broken relationships in my life. It wasn’t easy, but I started to trust God and I felt safe.
It doesn’t matter how badly you feel or how far you’ve gone, Jesus can heal your brokenness through forgiveness! All you have to do is ask! I talked to a sheriff of 19 years, and he said that the ones he knows who make it through drug addiction are the ones who accredit having a personal relationship with Jesus. Dr. Wilder-Smith, whom has three doctorates in physical organic chemistry and pharmacology, said in a lecture that the way to cure the drug epidemic is to let the addicts deal with their sin and have a Bible study and quiet time with the Lord daily.
There is a story of a group of people going out on the first warm weekend of the year to pass out 50,000 thousand pounds of food for free and share the gospel of Jesus. The police chief called the group and said that he had extra help because the first warm weekend of the year brings a lot of trouble with crime. But they didn’t have any problem at all that weekend. A friend spent a year in jail, and he said that everyone hated everyone except on Christmas Day when they all held hands and prayed and gave thanks that God sent Jesus. They were all happy, but the very next day they were at each other’s necks again. But he said God changed him because he let Jesus in his heart. Fear will only lead us into a trap. Don’t worry what others might say or how good that icing looks! Don’t fear being accepted! The fear of men will only break our relationships but trusting in Jesus Christ will make them safe.
The writer is a husband, father, preacher, writer, artist, musician and songwriter. Ben and his wife, Missy, reside with their three sons in St. Marys.