This disease of addiction is not a respecter of persons. I have come into contact with this truth over and over again in our ministry at The Treatment Center. Good people, normal people, become addicts. People that love God and people that hate God become addicts. This disease has penetrated every strata of society. We have to get the image out of our minds that addiction only affects criminals and homeless people.
This was driven home to me a number of years ago. My first ministry at TTC was “Outreach Pastor.” My job was to meet with churches throughout South Florida and explain to them the mission and purpose of The Treatment Center and our Road to Freedom program. I drove into a small church parking lot. I won’t say where. The church Pastor was not in the office but the sweet, elderly, church secretary patiently listened to my spiel and agreed to pass on my literature to the Pastor. She reminded me of Aunt Bee from Mayberry R.F.D. As I was leaving, she suddenly blurted out, “I am in recovery myself.” I chuckled within myself thinking she had misunderstood the meaning of “recovery” … as though she had a hip surgery and was recovering from that surgery, but I was wrong. She responded, “I have been an alcoholic for over 40 years.” Now she had my attention. I sat down and encouraged her to share her story with me.
And I left that afternoon thinking that this disease is no respecter of persons, and that is true. Without making you overly suspicious or paranoid, I want you to be aware of this truth. Next time you are in church remember that the person sitting 7 seats down from you might be struggling with an addiction and they are scared to death to seek help. Churches across our country are just now starting to wake up to the fact that more and more of our good church people are becoming addicted to opiates and opioids following surgical procedures. And those Pastors that are charged with shepherding their flocks would be wise to equip themselves and be prepared for the inevitability of helping an addict in their care.