FAITH MONTH: DAY 22: “Addiction” might be the best word to explain the lostness that so deeply permeates society. Our addictions make us cling to what the world proclaims as the keys to self-fulfillment: accumulation of wealth and power; attainment of status and admiration; lavish consumption of food and drink, and sexual gratification without distinguishing between lust and love. These addictions create expectations that cannot but fail to satisfy our deepest needs. As long as we live within the world’s delusions, our addictions condemn us to futile quests in “the distant country,” leaving us to face an endless series of disillusionments while our sense of self remains unfulfilled. In these days of increasing addictions, we have wandered far away from our Father’s home. The addicted life can aptly be designated a life lived in “a distant country.” It is from there that our cry for deliverance rises up.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen
This is such a great quote. I have a friend, Jerry, who will be well pleased to see that I used this one today. We are fans of Mr. Nouwen’s words. I teach about addiction and read this quote from time to time. Our understanding of it is so narrow and misinformed in most of the meetings I attend.
What we focus on is recovery. But, for me, without the deeper understanding of what addiction really and truly is, we are lost. As stated in this quote, our spirits will die from lack of fulfillment when we are living without drugs and alcohol, as well as living without RECOVERY.
That spiritual fulfillment cannot be found in accumulation of goods, new cars, bigger homes, or in working 15-hour days to “get ahead.” I see this as a cultural situation, one where drugs and alcohol are the natural response to an accumulative focus in our world.
We are trained from birth with the idea of “getting stuff.” It begins at Christmas and birthdays with gifts and toys and presents and MORE. It goes on throughout our lives and shows up in our reverence for celebrity and glamour or sports over spirit. Over Nature, over the people around us.
Most people we know will mortgage their children’s lives to go on fabulous vacations around the world, but never teach them about the animals and natural world right outside their front doors. They live in a metal and cement world that is devoid of plant life and natural conditions.
We revere those who are wealthy and believe they are something we are not. We chase and chase and chase to the tune of constant face lifts, debt that cripples our lives, distorted beliefs about body image, and are eating ourselves to death with toxic food to save time so we can do it all even more. It is sad and very disturbing that most of our children do not know how to communicate with words or writing, but only with their heads down on a screen that they will not be separated from.
Recovery means we stop doing all of these things, that we shift our faith from the Almighty dollar to the things that surround us less and less. That we find fulfillment inside ourselves. That is where it lives. That we learn to look at each other, in the eyes, and say Hello. That we stop and spend time listening to our hearts and being quiet with ourselves. Treating ourselves as God’s children has nothing to do with going anywhere or doing anything. It is about breathing in and out and being PRESENT to this moment. Stop all the crazy and sit still with your heart. It might surprise you!