Ears to Listen – the solution to the drug problem

John 8:34 (KJV) Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Revelation 12:11 (KJV) And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Australia is in the throes of a drug epidemic. The problem – including opiate, amphetamine, cannabis, designer drug, hallucinogen, solvent, alcohol and prescribed drug-abuse – becomes endemic as use and abuse spread in schools, workplaces, homes, sports and churches. No age is unaffected, no social class or ethnic group immune. “Social use” leads to full-scale addiction and once that takes hold, few recover.

Listening?

Listen to me: those that do recover commonly believe divine intervention is required. Most of us with substantial recovery disagree with government policy, methadone maintenance, controlled use, “harm minimisation” etc. We know the goal is abstinence, complete abstinence, nothing in the blood but blood – and what’s more, we know how to get it.
I am one of a growing number who know. I mean it! Listen to me: my cohorts and I are the answer. We got addicted, yes, but now we are completely drug-free and remaining that way. If everyone did what we do, there would be no drug problem.
When epidemiologists study a disease, their first priority is to study those who did not succumb. The solution to an epidemic is to be found by careful study of those already immune and already recovered. First find out what God has done, then you know what to do. Find out what God has done in us: what makes us different. Our history reveals the cause and leads to the cure. Don’t just study problem-people, study solution-people.

Not listening: Sadly, this approach is not being taken by policy makers in Australia. The government and professional establishment are busy listening to drug abusers, social drug users, experts who never used drugs, addicts in between relapses, rights advocates, anybody and everybody except former users who personify the complete solution which is complete abstinence.
How do I know? I was a poly-drug user, severely addicted, but have been completely drug-free since March 1976. In 1975, at age 46, I was unemployed and unemployable, spending the night in the drunk-tank. Today, at age 83, I am a sober, self-funded retiree. I am well-known and respected in recovery circles. But the professional establishment is not listening. Why? I’m “too religious” and “too rigid”. Listen to me: complete abstinence is rigorous not rigid! My recovery is miraculous, marvellous and mystical but “religious” is not the right word for it.

The Grace of God: Nearly all recovering addicts are aware that a power greater than themselves is needed for true recovery. Many are aware that that power is Jesus Christ, the One who sets captives free from sin. Others may know but not fully acknowledge and still others may acknowledge yet not show gratitude. In Luke 17:12-19, Jesus heals ten lepers, yet only one turns around to thank him. The proportion of all recovered drug addicts who turn to Christ is probably greater than ten percent – yet still less than the number healed. God’s grace is bountiful, extending both to those we might consider deserving and undeserving.
The more you investigate healing from addiction, the more amazing it seems. It’s not uncommon for a full-on habitual taker of illegal drugs suddenly to become a clean-and-sober evangelist leading friends to Christ. It’s also possible for an over-the-top person (like me) to go from habitual lying to what might be called “compulsive candour” – seeing hypocrisy everywhere. It’s the “reformed addict” syndrome. Who wants to listen to a sanctimonious Bible basher?

Why they don’t listen:Addicts in early recovery are poor communicators. Drug abuse causes emotionally retardation, development ceasing from the moment the first drug is taken. We have much to learn. It takes time to become informed as well as reformed. Until then, we are a pain in the neck to family and friends. We sound self-righteous when really we are afraid of relapsing. But if we continue to repent we improve. When we surrender to Jesus, our improvement is remarkable. After thirty-six clean-and-sober years, I am quite good at explaining what God is doing in my life. Listen to me. I may be able to help – you, your neighbourhood, your country – your family.
Drug specialists, bureaucrats and well-meaning Christians, while well aware of the problem, are far less acquainted with the solution that lies at the heart of recovery. That’s what I’m an expert in -how to quit and more important, how to stay quit.

How to listen: As I try to explain to my grandchildren: there’s a new type of communication with no media, no electronics, no Ipads, no wifi dongles or modems – nothing, just people. Two equal people (who have not taken any mind-altering chemicals today) sit opposite each other and look each other in the face. It’s not sex; it’s not therapy or counselling; it’s “conversation”. The Bible calls it fellowship. We take turns. While one person talks, the other listens carefully. After I understand you, then I talk to you. Listening is as important as talking. When we converse this way, it is not long before what we both recognize as truth emerges. It is an amazing experience. Give it a try.

Psalm 50:23 (KJV) …to him that ordereth his conversation (life-style) aright will I shew the salvation of God.

Finally
When we get together, as I hope we shall, we will get to know each other. I promise to listen carefully to everything you say. And remember: when you know me, you know a solution to the drug problem. When you know Jesus, you’ll love conversing with all kinds of people.
Hebrews 13:1 (KJV) Let brotherly love continue.