“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”
Defining your terms is just a start in order to have an honest discussion about a subject and to avoid confusion, misunderstandings. I’ve challenged the idea that we should minimize the stigma that goes along with addiction.
For those of you in Doylestown, the definition of “stigma”, used in this context:
“A mark of disgrace or infamy; a stain or reproach, as on one’s reputation.” -Dictionary.com
The act of abusing drugs, alcohol, food and other things is disgraceful, sinful. God made us in his image so we have intrinsic value, and all of us are sinners. Even author Gore Vidal, who championed homosexuality, wrote that a homosexual is not who you are, but what you do.
Drug addicts don’t just affect themselves, but their family, friends, and society. In the Levittown, PA vicinity, crime mushroomed in neighborhoods after the recovery houses came. About a hundred of them shot up in the community.
People need to be protected from drug abusers. One particular drug user, who, in his own words is the “King of the panhandlers”, wore something that gave public notice like The Scarlet Letter. I’ve seen him wear a shirt that conspicuously read “MONSTER.” Actually, I think the word was for Monster Drinks, but it serves as a public warning. I’ve noticed that people who regularly drink Monster Drinks have turned into monsters (you are what you drink). It could, however, just be a coincidence.
Condemn the principle, not the person
At an inpatient addiction center in lower Bucks County, PA, a counselor told the group of visitors I was with to practice tough love – have rules and borders. If, for example, your kids get completely out of control, then you need to kick them out of your home and get them to the proper place. But never condemn them, the counselor stressed.
Who will throw the first stone?
A long, long time ago, when Jesus was teaching in the Temple, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They wanted to stone her, and they were not talking about getting her high on weed. They asked Jesus what he thought, to test him and get him busted. Jesus bent down and wrote something on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning Him, He replied “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” They split, leaving Jesus with the woman. He asked her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, sir. “
And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”
The act of doing dope should be stigmatized, not the person. The stigma of addiction and other sins can be removed by stopping this foolish, destructive behavior. Jesus told the woman she was not under condemnation, but she has to stop her sinful behavior.
To get yourself straight, you must not blame others, your circumstances, as did Curly of The Three Stooges (I’m a victim of soy-cum-stances), your environment, your race, your gender, your situation… You must acknowledge your addiction is a result of a character flaw, sin.