In the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus teaches us about “wild living.” This parable has much to say about Christianity and addiction recovery since we can see those struggling as the prodigal son. By doing so, we can remove the great divide that frequently exists between Christianity and addiction.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. Today, statistics show that more people suffer from substance abuse than cancer. These statistics mean that 1 in 5 Americans binge drink; America spends over $420 billion per year on substance abuse disorders; substance abuse is the leading cause of accidental death in America.
We can’t ignore these statistics. Christianity and addiction are all too common today. These people are our relatives, friends, acquaintances, and even some of us reading this post.
Recalling the parable of the Prodigal Son, you’ll remember how the father split up the property and let his son go out on his own. When it comes to Christianity and addiction, this can be one of the most challenging things to do. Although the father probably tried to talk some sense into his son, ultimately, he had to let him go. His son had to learn on his own that wild-living ultimately leads to a severe struggle because nothing in this world is free. Many have had to learn the hard way that this is also true with Christianity and addiction recovery.
Like the Prodigal Son, addicts do eventually come to their senses. However, everyone involved with Christianity and addiction recovery learn a hard lesson. The lesson becomes even more challenging when we hear God tell us to stop rescuing them so they can come to their senses.
Eventually, the Prodigal Son returned home and received a fresh start. The father ran to and embraced his son because the father was waiting to give his son this fresh start. This parable reminds us that when it comes to Christianity and addiction recovery, there is always hope. We can’t afford to give up on them even though it may take them a while to get back home again.
As Christians, we must work together to end the stigma of addiction. It’s up to us to reach out to them and tell them it’s “safe” to reach out to us. We need to learn about addiction, recovery, and creating healthy boundaries. We need to take care of ourselves too. Spend time in prayer and seek Godly counsel. All the while, keep the faith.