“Addiction doesn’t work”

Richard Rohr writes (On the Threshold of Transformation: Daily Meditations for Men, Day 110):

Addiction happens when we no longer want to feel our feelings. Addiction happens when we don’t want to know our own thoughts or feel our own pain. But you know what? Addiction doesn’t work. In the long run, addiction brings ten times more pain than you would experience by accepting the legitimate pain of being a human being. Religion needs to be teaching this up front and without apology.

And by “addiction,” Fr. Rohr refers not only to alcohol, street drugs, or the abuse of other substances that those in treatment facilities and halfway houses are addicted to. He’s also talking about the unfettered consumerism and materialism of our culture. To this list, I would add the addiction to self-righteousness which, in the extreme, is expressed as hate. It’s the view heard so frequently on talk radio, seen often in the comments of “anonymous,”and even heard preached from pulpits. It’s the view that says, “I’m right, you’re wrong; I possess truth, and you are filled with lies.”

There are treatment options and 12-step programs for those struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction. But where’s the 12-step program for consumerism and the addiction to hate? Where’s the treatment plan for the addiction that never has enough “stuff” or that so quickly judges others who are “different” by equating “different” with evil?

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