My brother Dave and I like to discuss current issues. The other day we chose, addiction which we both agreed is widespread in our society. Like the author in today’s TED selection, we have a history of addiction in our family. I, myself identify as an alcoholic and work a daily program based upon that awareness.
Back to our discussion. We could not figure out why some of the most “religious” people we know seem to be troubled with addiction, not just to alcohol, sex and all those good things (and yes, I do mean good things) but to almost every conceivable human activity we know, i.e. working, reading, cleaning… We call these obsessions, and I think they are the same.
Johann Hari in this TED Talk identifies “the cure” for this and I believe he’s right. He cites Portugal as an example of a country who is succeeding in truly helping addicts and they have been doing this for 15 years. In that time problems associated with addicts have decreased in Portugal by 50%.
I wonder what would happen if we took the same approach in our church communities? Of course, some of our church communities are successful in their programs for addicts. From my perspective these churches are the ones doing just what Portugal is doing. There are many churches however that are not succeeding. If you happen to be a member of a community that needs help understanding the addict, you might find Portugal’s experiment worth trying.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.