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February 18, 2008

Food for Thought - Feb 18 2008

When I tell people I'm a recovering alcoholic, I get a variety of responses. Some say, "Good for you!" Others say, "I always knew there was something weird about you." Some Christians say, "Isn't God capable of curing you? Why do you have to label yourself so negatively?"

My answers are simple. I'm neither hero nor victim. I don't deserve a badge of honor for remaining sober. It's merely part of my daily Christian walk. I wish I'd been smart enough to avoid the problem altogether. I pray my children will be.

I don't mind identifying myself as an alcoholic. However, when I give my testimony at churches, I begin with a more apt description: "Hi, my name is Linda, and I'm a ? sinner."

Excerpted from an article in a Leader's Guide to Understanding Addiction, a downloadable resource from Gifted For Leadership.


Forgetting one's personal sins and the struggle to overcome them is an interesting phenomena for the majority of Christian folks. Most would challenge that drinking and using drugs is a far worse sin than say lying, therefore that means the addicted person is somehow flawed, a "less-than" person, unworthy of God's love. Personally, I have struggled with food addiction (sugar to be specific). In all that we do, balance and moderation are key to healthy living and it is a life-long process of learning how to maintain.

Having worked in a treatment facility for 13 years, and having experienced that undertone of superiority (yes, on my part), I found that the people we served taught me far more than I ever taught them. My little "bubble" that protected me was an illusion. The reality is that any of us could develop addiction issues...and it doesn't have to be an illegal or alcoholic substance. Relationships, food, sexual, control and many more are addictions.

Stand tall!

ah, the drink. I remember drinking. I've been sober nearly 12 years. And I'm 31. And this isn't something you just drop. It can be easy. But it still is a daily choice.

Some can, some can't. Just how life is. Addictions take so many forms. Those who have never struggled with it can't relate. Same with depression, same with overspending, same with clinginess in relationships -- the fear of being alone. Or food. Or perfection. Or business. Or proving that we're better. Or proving that we're worse. Or materialism; stuff. We all have vices.

"Why hasn't G-d cured you?" Well, it's like asking me why G-d hasn't decided to let an arm grow back that was blown off during war service, or why I can't walk after a terrible accident that left me paralyzed. People can be terribly rude.

It takes all kinds. That's my response. I'm here for the broken. I'm here to be strength for those who are going through what I went through, what I continue to go through. After all, you just said you couldn't relate.

The thing that interests me most in those responses is the lack of allowing you to share your story any way you wish. The greatest single need in the church is a simple response like, "Tell me about it. I am interested in your story." Yikes, why do we think it is important for us to critique your story as though we know more than you.

I want someone to write a best selling book entitled, "Listening Christians". We would not buy it because we only want to read, "Talking Christians-How to Use Monologues Effectively".

All the leadership, management, caring and family research shows that listening is the most effective skills for influence. So, keep sharing and maybe someone will listen to you.

isn't the sin of self-righteousness the greatest sin of all? and yes, i have been guilty of that and most of the others too at one time or another. we can be either pharasee or publican, either "think" that we are "better than", or just see God's great mercy towards us. and yes, many of us are a mixture of these 2, different on different days. the idea, is to keep our focus on Him, off self, except as a recipient of His grace, and off one another. once again, praying for us all....

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