I have been clean for 7 years. I not only was an addict, I was a dealer. Seven years ago I quit the business.
I delivered the good stuff, I had learned that the want for more would make me influential and powerful. I would spend hours each week preparing the dose, increasing the strength, and on special occasions like Christmas and Easter, my best chance to introduce new customers, ramp up production and quality to the limits. I would long for my customers to have a near overdose experience.
I have been part of a 12-step program, and I am part of The Refuge, a faith community that has a high value on sobriety. Sex, drugs, alcohol and co-dependence are just some of the traps we seek to escape. We celebrate our baby steps toward freedom from these strongholds. I now realize we must add a new deadly drug, one that kills the soul. A steady dose of ecstatic Christianity is deadly. Inspiration addiction is quickly becoming an epidemic.
I believe that in large part the numerical success of the American mega church movement is because of inspiration addiction. The orchestration of the music, lights, message, video, and even the announcements are geared to creating an internal flood of adrenaline. That adrenaline is confused with the Holy Spirit. I have asked people, “Why do you go to Mega Church?” In almost every case the answer is the same: the music and/or speaker are amazing. Yet, no where in the scriptures do any of these values appear, in fact we are warned against it. We read of healing, learning and practicing communities and yet today we find ourselves facing forward, alone in the dark with our heart racing in anticipation of what might come next.
As the speaker, I could manipulate the success of the Sunday service. Tweaking the dose between services, giving the earlier, older demographic a more benign dose. The later Sunday services, or the Saturday night service, I would pour it on to the young people who required much higher doses due to the inoculation of so much stimuli outside the walls of our church. Often, just one dose, one hit of the cosmic cocktail of spirituality and adrenaline is all that is needed to create a steady need of dependence.
Like all addictions, an addict will live with an amazing amount of rationalization. The drunk who hates that he is ruining his family will console himself that just “one more and then no more” will make things right. The inspiration addict will endure the dismissal of women, the poor, even the average in pursuit of the amazing. The addict may sometimes wonder why no one on food stamps is in a position of leadership, or why millions and millions of dollars are spent on the operation of a ministry as opposed to actual food, shelter and comfort. But the pursuit of their addiction trumps even what they know to be right.
I have confessed my part. I have attempted these past 7 years to make restitution. The Refuge is an inspiration addiction treatment center. Our method is cold turkey. We give no reason to belong higher than the opportunity to grow in loving ourselves, others and God. So many have come, drawn by what resonates deep in their spirit, but they are unable to live free of the high cost of spiritual compromise.
It just feels too damn good.
I am not apologetic, but I am sympathetic. I know the cycle or a promise to live better, but by Sunday I needed just a little more. Our treatment center is always open, and I can say that those who can endure God will give a measure of freedom.
P.s. I will be gone for a week. I would love to dialogue more with you, so please leave ideas and make your comments and I promise to get to them first thing next week.