I’ve thought it for some time and even mentioned a few. I believe addiction is the silent killer of the affluent. Now, before you yell at me about how addiction crosses every social, economic, physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. line, I want to say that I am aware of that fact. My thought is specifically around a silence that I believe the affluent, those with resources and knowhow, are able to maintain when it comes to addiction. A recent report out of Princeton from Ms. Case and Mr. Deaton highlights the increasing death rate for middle-aged white Americans and suggests that the increase is a result of prescription drug overdoses, suicide, and liver disease. Mr. Zumbrun from The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece related to this study highlighting the economic insecurity that may be causing individuals to fall into the trap of addiction.
Individuals who find themselves with resources and the skills to acquire those resources more often than not are able to feed an addiction and hide the affects of said addiction. The silence is deafening and reports now show it is also deadly. I believe it is time to break the silence that surrounds the struggle with addiction, whatever they may be: alcohol, pornography, gambling, prescription drugs, eating, exercise, work, shopping, illegal drugs, stealing… Addictions are all around us and we must stop pretending as if they are not. They touch the lives of our families, friends, coworkers, neighbors…churches, schools, and communities. Affluence does not mean you are immune from the struggles of addiction, it typically just means you know how to live and function in the shadow of this silent killer.
It is time to step out of the silence and into the light of God’s hope through Christ. Addiction will kill you. It will kill your family. It will kill your career. Don’t stand in the silence and allow it to take these things from you. Fear, shame, and guilt are the tools of death. Break the silence and find the grace WE ALL DESPERATELY NEED, a grace that with it brings hope and life. You have to choose grace, hope, and life; no one can choose them for you.
My hope and prayer is that Gateway Community Church will be a place where the silence of addiction is broken with the sounds of God’s grace. That we will be a community of individuals, as imperfect as we are, willing and committed to walking beside each other through the shadows, shining the light of Christ’s love into the dark places of our lives. Choose not to sit in the silence of addiction and die.