Is Addiction A Gift?

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There are people in addiction recovery that see their experience as a gift from a higher power. The addiction got their attention and started the process of change and transformation in their lives. This transformative process moves the addict from despair to hope, darkness to light, shame to grace and isolation to community.

For some, a time of brokenness initiates a radical relationship and reliance on a higher being, and an opportunity for addicts to be molded into something new.

Many of us have witnessed alcohol, drug and other addictions wreak havoc on families and communities, striking individuals of every faith, race, culture and income level. A majority of people struggling with addiction go to work every day, raise families and attend religious services with a faith of their choosing. The opportunity to make a difference in the life of someone struggling with his or her own — or a loved one’s — addiction is often no farther away than the person sitting next to us. That someone is silently unraveling and that person desperately needs us to reach out with compassion and an open heart.

Addiction has many faces of denial that keep this disease from surfacing within our families, friends, congregations and communities. Three of these facades include:

We don’t know what to look for in a person who is struggling with addiction or do not fully understand the process or origins of addiction
We fear that not being able to respond in an informed, compassionate manner to someone who might be defensive or even hostile, sometimes resulting in the individual not engaging at all because of the pain and suffering.
Our own pride keeps us from asking for help or acknowledging that something is awry.

Despite the struggle to do so, it is when we bring these resistances to the light with awareness, education and support that true healing can take place.

Many have certain attitudes and beliefs about addiction and the people who “choose” to engage in addictive behaviors. Our task is to move through our own denial or resistance to receive our own gift of transformation. The gift of transformation can come in a variety of packages, and many are wrapped as opportunities to grow and change each and every day. These gifts can look like opportunities to learn…opportunities to understand…opportunities to heal…opportunities to serve…opportunities to help each other – and to love one another.

Northeast Louisiana is facing challenging issues with various addictions and mental health, and as citizens, we must pull together to identify where there are additional needs and how to best meet those needs collectively. That is why Northeast Delta is partnering with Faith Partners, Inc. to facilitate a series of faith addiction training events. As an agency, we are determined to educate and equip faith leaders who want to address these issues within their own walls and in their communities. The faith community is a tremendous resource connected to our communities in so many ways. If you missed what we have done so far, it is not too late. There’s always room for someone willing to reach around, down or up to help another.

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Dr. Monteic A. Sizer
Northeast Delta Human Services Authority

Dr. Monteic A. Sizer serves as executive director of Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (Northeast Delta HSA). He joined the organization in May 2013 as its first executive director. He is uniquely qualified to advocate on behalf of citizens located in the 12 Northeast Delta HSA parishes he represents because he exemplifies how people can meet their greatest human potential based on accountability, integrity and a willingness to engage in their own lives.

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