This is for Anna. Most of my readers don’t know who Anna is, but she is in many of my favorite childhood memories because she is my first cousin. I consider her ‘is’ because she will always be my first cousin and a woman I loved, even though she is no longer walking the terra with me. She died earlier this year due to an overdose of drugs and I was unable to do anything to stop it! To my shame, I didn’t always put much effort into stopping it, because I thought there was nothing I could do to convince her to stop. I thought her problems and addiction were beyond my understanding and beyond my counseling degree. What I failed to recognize and what Johann Hari points out, is what Anna needed most to know: that I loved her. To my shame, what I failed to realize in God’s Word was that Jesus also loved Anna, and I didn’t make that abundantly plain to her either. I failed to follow the second part of the greatest commandment, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
I am not above talking about the mistakes in my life if it leads others to adapt themselves to avoid my mistakes. Please consider watching Johann’s short lecture on dealing with addictions. He doesn’t come at it with a Christian perspective, necessarily, but those who know human anthropology and the human condition know that we were made for community. We are all trying to fill a lonely hole in our lives, some just turn to very damaging things in order to fill it. And here me now: even devoted Christians can struggle with addictions! How do we respond to people battling any sin? With a Holy Spirit driven love!
What really causes addiction — to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.