Friday will be the second funeral that I have done for a heroin-related death in three months. The first young man was 24 years old. The most recent tragedy is 35 and he has left behind an 11-year-old daughter.
Heroin has quickly become the drug of choice in the United States; it is cheaper than weed and more prevalent in suburban America than you would ever care to imagine. The truth is that someone who is sitting beside you in a coffee shop, someone who is walking into the movies, or someone you are working with is struggling with an addiction.
And here is the thing that I am learning about addictions: if you aren’t working a program, then the addiction works you. It makes things worse. It ramps things up. If you aren’t actively fighting back the demons, then the demons win. I know some people have a hard time picturing what the demons look like. But imagine there is a voice in your head that never stops talking. Actually, it talks so much it becomes the soundtrack of your life. The voice is telling you everything you can’t do, everything you should do, and everything you are able to do – but the world is holding you back. The demons lie to you, they trick you, and they convince you that it is the world that is upside down, while you are right side up. The demons are very real.
When I felt God’s call to serve the recovery community, I never imagined this side of the equation. I never would have guessed that there would be so many funerals, so many people who can’t fight the demons any longer.
Every week at Next Step we stand in front of our church family and ask to celebrate anniversaries. We celebrate the amount of time someone has spent sober from anything: alcohol, heroin, sugar, and caffeine (to name just a few). When those moments happen, my heart leaps because I think that maybe that is one less funeral, one more person who learned how to fight the demons, one more person working a program of recovery.
If you or someone you know is currently fighting demons or suffering from addiction/brokenness of any sorts, please join us on Saturday night for Next Step. We are all in this together. Together we can defeat the demons.