Why you ask?…in a word, honesty. The answer seems so opposite of what one would expect. Addiction by its nature involves lying. Typically when caught up in an addiction one becomes a good actor. Some would say we are caught up in denial. In the book of Jeremiah we are told, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things…Who really knows how bad it is?”
But my experience with the addicts came about through prayer meetings where a small group of people who were formerly enslaved to chemical addictions came together and said, “we want to start a Celebrate Recovery.” Through the next few months we prayed together and I found myself sharing at a level with this group things I haven’t shared with any other Bible Study group. Why? Because this group of people had come to a place in their sobriety and more significantly in their relationship with Jesus that they had confessed it all to Him and at least another person. In that confession and honesty they experienced a freedom they never knew before and an ability to share the real story of their lives. We are all human, and we all struggle. There were no “church faces” in this group. Christianity was real and raw and very attractive because Christ met each person in this group at the point of their deepest need. When they said “I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ,” they meant it, and it showed.
With that level of honesty came acceptance, understanding, encouragement, and a lot of support. I never forgot the experience, and doubt I will ever “recover” from it either.
We tried to launch a Celebrate Recovery, and it ran for ten months. In that time we saw many people come through our doors. There were a variety of issues. Someone was suicidal, another definitely under the influence, many newly clean and off alcohol, prescription drugs and meth, some that struggled with porn, and some from broken marriages. There were victims of domestic and sexual abuse and those who struggled with gambling and some who were just plain hurting. We ate together. We worshiped together. Someone would share their life story, called a testimony. We prayed, we confessed our sins and we talked about how Jesus was helping us and we shared real life together.
Once one experiences this kind of fellowship it leaves a lasting impression. And so, I loved the addicts in that group. They taught me some valuable soul lessons. It is in the brokenness of life that we find the humility to admit, no, I don’t have it all together. But I’m much better than I used to be because Jesus has rescued me from myself. And I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with…change.