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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Enjoyment of Life and Sobriety

So much of addiction begins with attempts to 'enjoy' a life that is, by circumstance, joyless.  People often begin using drugs and alcohol to have 'fun' or as a social lubricant.

That's because social events are often filled with fear and the subsequent self-consciousness that intoxicants erase, along with a great deal of impulse-control and judgement.  In our broken world, we have cause to be concerned about how others think of us, especially when such virtues as compassion are in short supply.

Christians and addicts share a problem: how does one balance the challenges of life with our desire to be happy?  How can we learn to laugh without it being at another's expense, or a nervous chuckle?

Too often Christ is portrayed as the great 'buzzkiller' because He spoke of sin and condemned it, yet the Pharisees condemned Him for spending time at the tables of 'bad people,' i.e. the 'partiers' of His time.  If He was a dour fellow, people would not have been drawn to Him.  He clearly was not.

Addicts face the deceptive image that abandoning drugs and alcohol means a life without joy.  They will have to sit in their discomfort.

The message of the Gospel is not one of joylessness, but true joy that is found in God's love, just as the addict finds joy in the loving Higher Power who will save him from his fears.  Christians and addicts must learn to not live in the panic mode, worrying about how they will avoid their fears.

We all must learn to enjoy life: to see people in the light of divine love rather than the coldness of mere biological existence.

We cannot give thanks to God for all things unless we first appreciate these things, and we cannot appreciate them unless we experience them and ultimately enjoy them.  This is not an excuse to do things in an inappropriate way, but to experience life as it has been given to us.

That's called gratitude, and it is really important to harness.

No one can stay sober if he lacks gratitude, just as no one will stay sober if he is constantly unhappy.  Sobriety brings joy because it brings the freedom to enjoy life.

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