I read a statistic the other day that put me in a box. It tied me up and held me captive. It dared me to try to be anything more, anything better. It rivaled me. It challenged me.
Because I have a family history of alcoholism and addiction I’m four times as likely to become an alcoholic or addict myself.
It said alcoholism and addiction is hereditary.
It labeled me. It told me who to be. It told me how to live. Do you know how scary that is?
And then this article came out in the Chillicothe Gazette, siting that children of addicts have to choose between loving their families or leading a successful life.
I have two major problems here.
First, why are we telling our children they going to fail? We are setting them up. A child’s mind is powerful; it’s vulnerable. It is shaped and molded by the hands that are assigned to guide it. Shame on us for limiting children with statistics like this.
Words have power. Speak life into our hearts.
These children that we’re speaking shame, and defeat, and failure on – these children – they grow up one day. Try being a successful adult when everyone is telling you that you never will be; that you’re four times as likely to live under this black cloud that has already ruled and ransacked so much of your life. Because at some point, we start believing it. And that made up truth becomes our reality.
And second, why can’t we love and lead a successful life? Why can’t there be a both / and option? You know what addicts need more than anything else? It’s love.
Our circumstances can’t define us.
I’ve dealt with alcoholism and addiction in my family. Let me take that back, I’m dealing with alcoholism and addiction in my family, because the fight is never over. Every day has to be a new choice. And I’m writing about it, because there is freedom and healing in acknowledgement. Because it is possible to come back from extreme addiction and alcoholism. Because I’ve seen it. Because we serve an awesome God who provides physical and emotional healing, even when statistics tell us otherwise.
We’ve got to start talking about it. Addiction is now an epidemic in the United States. An epidemic. Someone dies from an opioid overdose every 16 minutes.
Do you know what the definition of an epidemic is? It’s a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease. Alcohol and drug abuse is now infectious. Because we’ve made it that way. Something that used to be a pretty obvious choice is now infectious. And I think we’ve put that heavy, heavy weight on the shoulders of our children. It starts with our mindset. Addiction is only infectious because our minds allow it to be.
If you’re living under the cloud of addiction, of alcoholism, of any other -isms that tell you who you’re going to be and how you’re going to live your life, you have power over that. Not the numbers, not your family history – you. God created us to be overcomers. Declare that in the place of defeat. Draw a line in the sand. It stops with you. Your dad, and his dad before him, and his dad before him they all had the same problem, but you will not.
And, if that wasn’t enough to deal with, you’ll find out pretty quick that the enemy takes these fears and runs them into you over and over again, making you feel worthless, defeated and doomed – God gave you power over that too. I’m still working on this, and some days defeat wins, but my good days are starting to outweigh the bad. Nobody can tell you who you’re going to be. Nobody, but you.