The posts for the past several months have focused on the many ways that faith is experienced and guides lives. Focusing on faith has led me to revisit some of my own beliefs and to look more deeply at others’ beliefs.
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A few recent experiences reinforced my restlessness about how all of us face the destructive power of addiction in our lives and communities. I’d like to connect this topic to the current series exploring different ways faith develops in different lives and communities.
Bedtime, any night in 1957. My brother and I are on our knees next to Mom who is praying for the missionaries in a far-off country. Meanwhile, a few blocks away there is extreme poverty and people in need of help. Such is life on an open Native American Reservation in the 1950s. The lesson being taught was that prayer “counted” with God.
Last week my wife and I took our 13-year-old grandson to Disney World in Florida as a birthday treat. We joined thousands of other people at Epcot one day and at Animal Kingdom the next. Given the 90 plus heat and the crowds, I approached this trip with mixed feelings – anticipation of my joy of being with him and his joy of being there. Yet I feared the heat and crowds. In Disney speak, they call my experience “the magic.” In my faith, we would call it a miracle.
Our local movie theatre reopened recently with a showing of
Nomadland. What a wonderful way for the theater and the people who attended to come out of Covid-time. The movie is a sweet story of a woman whose husband dies and loses her job to a factory closing. Then she loses her community due to the loss of a major employer. She takes to the road with her losses, her pain and her inkling of residual hope.
The “Higher Power” (who I grew up calling G-d) was punitive and finger-pointing. I grew up in a secular Jewish home, and religion was not discussed, except when it was punitive. For example, the idea of “sinning” and “punishment” were often described. I was angry a lot at Him because I felt cheated; cheated of a “loving family,” a “fun childhood” and “life without compulsive overeating.”
Addictions continue to negatively impact and destroy families. There are lots of possible explanations for the lack of progress in addressing addictions. The consistent reality is that the combination of individual denial and community and societal pressures...
The last few weeks I have been marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of Al-Anon by exploring the broad tentacles of the family disease of alcoholism. As I mentioned in my May 4 post, there are many other addictions besides alcohol that negatively impact individuals and families. Next week I will get more specific with the help of guest writer Jeffrey Roth, M.D, on why it is true that most people are impacted and might benefit from a program like Al-Anon.
As part of my series on addictions and families, guest writer Jeffrey D. Roth, M.D. explores more deeply how depression and anxiety are symptoms for both the person with the addiction and for members of her or his family.
Addictions are part of our culture and human experience. Some appear less harmful, like distractions or annoyances. Others destroy the addict and those around him or her. Because addictions are so embedded in our culture, it can be difficult to tell when an addiction...