Having conversations about addiction.

So this is a follow up post to The battle against addiction. I know addiction is not an easy topic to bring to the table. You can’t actually go “Hey mom and dad, I’m addicted to cocaine, can you please pass the salt.” It’s not that simple. Maybe that’s why it’s such an issue, nobody is willing to talk about it, nobody is willing to put themselves out there. People would rather live a facade of a life hiding behind suffering and lack of control over life because they are afraid of what somebody else might say. Not that I blame them, I mean the society we live in can be pretty judgemental.

It’s easy to judge a junkie sleeping on the sidewalk. “Why would she leave her home? Who told him to do drugs? She is filthy, he is a thief, she is this and he is that”. It can also happen to a celebrity gambler, “How could he be so stupid? Doesn’t she have enough money? How could he lose? Why this, why that”. Everyone is passing judgement. I can already hear the judgements on that sex addict. “That’s disgusting, is that even a real thing? Is he that stupid? What a loser”. Even if people don’t say these things out loud, they still think them. So how does the conversation even start?

People need to understand that addiction is a problem, it’s bondage and most of all its a sickness. Addicts are sick. That inability to function without a drug, that excessive watching of porn, that need to gamble every time you have a buck, that’s a problem. It’s an illness. Addiction takes away your control over things and if you can’t control yourself then what of managing life situations? The minute people learn more about addiction, how to deal with addicts and how to treat them will be a stepping stone into starting conversations about it and a huge step in the right direction.

See, addiction is not only a personal problem. It’s not a problem or a situation that only affects the addict but it affects those around the addict too. Living with an addict is not easy, it means caring for them, making sure that they don’t harm themselves or others, keeping them on the right side of the law and being there for them at all times. If an addict steals then that’s breaking the law, if the addict is into body harm then they can hurt themselves, if the addict is an alcoholic or abuses certain substances then they might hurt others. That’s where it stops being a personal problem.

Addiction is not only dangerous to the addict but to those around as well. That’s why people need to stop tip toeing around the situation and face it head on. They need to talk about it, face it and take control of it. It’s not easy but it is important. Not talking about the situation only makes it worse. Choosing not to see or acknowledge the situation for what it is does not mean it does not exist. Addiction is a pain to all involved and the only way to heal is to take the necessary steps such as rehab and make sure that the patient knows that there are those who care about them.

Moral of the post.
People should make it a point to start talking about their addiction and those demons they are battling. The society also needs to be less judgmental and more lenient when it comes to dealing with sensitive matters such as addiction. Addicts are sick and thus should be taken care off and loved like any other person with any illness.

Remember, Live, Love, Learn and be Happy.

Advertisements

Help me define Christianity and I might just go back to church.

I don’t think I want to be called a christian anymore. Here is my story, I grew up in a Christian household and every Sunday we would all wear our Sunday best, rain or shine, hungry or full and go to church. The idea of praising the most high, an all seeing being, God, made the experience of church both scary and surreal. I mean here I am and I am going to be in the presence of God , that was big, that was huge and that was church. I knew my bible verses. I knew my church hymns, the Lord’s prayer and all that guaranteed me a spot in heaven. The idea of hell was terrifying, actually it still is. I was taught that for you not to go to hell you need to be good. And the best example of good in church is no one else but the pastor.

The pastor seemed more powerful than any being around. The pastor spoke to God and God spoke to the pastor. We told the pastor what we wanted from God and he would deliver the message. If our prayers are answered it’s thanks to the pastor by the Grace of God. This was the way it was. This was my childhood and a bit of my adult life until I realised that life is not just black and white, there are grey areas too and that’s what slapped the church out of me. The grey areas. The reality of what church has become. In a way it crushed my faith and spirit. My santa clause didnt exist anymore. The horror. Well not horror but the bitter truth. Church isn’t the same anymore. Imagine that in bold letters on a front page of a gossip tabloid.

HORROR! CHURCH CHANGED, GIRL REALITY CRUSHED.” That’s how it would go.

So here is the deal, we want happiness, we want good health, wealth and all this world has to offer. If one person says they don’t want that then they are lying. Even monks have things they want like peace. We are humans we either have a need or a want and most of the time it’s both. That’s why we even go to church. We believe that God will answer our prayers and grant our needs. When we go to church we tell our pastors and they usually have a solution or they will pray for a solution so we believe in them and trust in what they have to say because they have a direct telephone line to heaven. Now what happens when the pastor’s solution is just too ridiculous or just plain harmful, what then???

Here is a story you probably won’t believe or you will because all this is just too normal these days. A pastor here in South Africa had an alter call (when everyone with problems at church stands up and goes to the front to be prayed for). Now there is nothing wrong with that but what’s crazy or shocking is what the pastor told the congregants to do. The man told his congregants to eat grass and even drink petrol. Yes petrol. The one you use to fuel up your car. He told them to drink petrol and they would be healed.

Sit down and close your mouth. I know, it’s shocking right? Wait till I tell you about the rats and snakes. Yes there are rats and snakes in this story too. I told you you wouldn’t believe it. So another unbelievable incident with a pastor was when he told his congregants to eat snakes and rats. Apparently they would also experience some divine intervention. The sad part is that people believed all this and still do. You run away from a live snake (well if you don’t , I do), so why would you eat a snake whether dead or alive it doesn’t matter. It’s a snake. It doesnt stop there, another pastor thought it was a great idea to spray pesticide on or in peoples eyes because… well who cares why he did it. Its pesticide, its for roaches and insects. Unless his congregants were villains from the MIB franchise there is and was no reason for that. These things are all dangerous or rather harmful to a person’s health so why do all that? What gets me the most are the people who clap their hands and praise while people are being fed petrol. Are we so desperate for miracles that we threw away our ability to think?

However in all honesty if a person says they have a method on how to achieve wealth and riches then people naturally flock to the person. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds. They don’t have to pay much, sadly they just have to put away their common sense and put their lives in danger to get all those luxuries. People are so sick of being poor and sick that they believe anything a pastor would say.

Pastors these days don’t live in shacks and drive old beat up cars we call skorokoro. No, they live in big houses, eat fancy foods and drive cars so expensive that the price of the car could feed 100 families for a year or two. The irony in all this is that the congregants are the ones paying for all this lavish lifestyle. Sadly they don’t see that. They just want the wealth and miracles. They are attracted to that. If a pastor is wealthy then God is with him and if God is with him then they believe that that’s where their salvation lies. People want miracles and these pastors provide ‘miracles’.

I was angry and hurt. To be quiet honest I still am. I feel like a religion in which I was raised under, a God I was told loves all people was disrespected. Again that’s just the thing, when all these things are done, they are done in the name of religion. Not only do we find fault in the pastors, we also find fault in the religion. They are a small speck and yet they represent a huge thing and because they have tainted it, the whole thing has gone bad. I believe that religion is a beautiful and sacred thing. It builds and keeps a community together. I also believe that its most beautiful teachings are love and peace. Whether it’s Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and other religions, I believe that the ultimate message they carry is love and peace. You shall love one another and you shall not kill. Now how is it that I have to swallow a rat, a snake, drink petrol and other things just to be a part of it.

I don’t condone violence at all but people wonder why churches are being attacked and why people don’t pray any more. If people don’t know something they usually attack it, if people feel that wrong things are being done to others they attack and if people feel like their beliefs and ways of life are being attacked then they fight back. People want normal, they want what they know and they want what they understand. They can’t handle change especially when it goes against what they stand for.

I’m not attacking religion or churches and I’m not against them, I’m against people being hurt and being made fools. I just want to know what changed? Why can’t it be the way it was? Why can’t religion be of peace and love and being a family. There is no way I will give my baby sister a snake to eat dead or alive just because she is sick. How can I make her drink petrol? Then why is it that a pastor who is supposed to be a father of the church thinks it’s okay to make someone drink petrol?. What happened? What went wrong and how do we fix it?

As I’m writing all this the little girl in me that used to go to church every Sunday and say her prayers is wondering. Wondering if God sees her dilemma? Did He really tell pastors to do all this? What about hell, is she going to hell for questioning all this?
It’s a debate that goes on and on in my head. Not only in mine but many Christians and other religions. I just want to know what Christianity is in this day and age? Is it what I read in the bible or what I see in churches currently? Am I still evil if I choose to not be called a Christian? I don’t know this new miracle obsessed religion. I don’t know these money obsessed ministers, I don’t know these harmful pastors, I don’t know this religion.

That’s why I want to go back to find out what Christianity is. What the purpose of a church is, what the purpose of the pastor is. If I am to call myself a Christian I need to know what it is and when did it change. If any of you have a clue please help me out. I’m lost and I’d like to find my way back.