Guilt. Shame. Embarrassment. These are all feelings someone addicted to alcohol or drugs feels on a regular basis. They know they have a problem and they want to fix it, but these negative feelings and the fear of being judged prevents them from seeking help.
If you’re suffering from addiction, it’s easy to isolate yourself and assume those closest to you will get angry and not understand what you’re going through. Instead, try turning to your pastor who has been trained to help others and will understand your pain. You may be thinking you’re too nervous and ashamed to share your secret with a person of God, but your pastor is actually one of your greatest allies in your fight against addiction.
Here are four ways to help you talk to your pastor about your addiction.
“To err is human”
In Alexander Pope’s 1711 poem, An Essay on Criticism, Part II, he wrote:
Ah ne’er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast,
Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost!
Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.
What he was trying to convey was that all humans make mistakes and we should all work to show mercy and forgiveness. Pastors may be people of God, but they still make mistakes and sin just like any other human being does. The difference is they’re better at showing mercy and forgiveness than the average person, making them a powerful resource to go to about your addiction. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to confide in your pastor because he realizes he makes mistakes, too, and wants to help you through your struggles.
Towering, historical buildings, intricate and priceless architecture, breathtaking stained-glass windows. Churches can be both awe-inspiring and intimidating places to enter, and many of them were designed to have that exact effect on people. Why? To make those who enter aware that they’re stepping inside a holy place. This can make people feel unworthy, preventing them from reaching out for help or guidance when they need it.
If talking about your addiction inside your church makes you feel uneasy, reach out to see if your pastor will meet you someplace else to talk. No matter if it’s at your home, at a park or inside a cozy coffee shop, pick a place where you feel safe and comfortable, so you can be open and honest with your pastor about your struggles.
Maybe you just need a bit of reassurance that your pastor is willing to talk to you before you commit to reaching out. If that’s the case, start listening to what other members of your church community have to say about them. Ask church members you know if they’ve ever talked to your pastor one-on-one before. You may find that your pastor helped your neighbor as he was struggling through his divorce. Or maybe they supported another member through a serious illness. Getting a sense of how your pastor interacts with others will provide some peace of mind and give you an idea of what to expect when you talk to them.
We’re living in a time where abuse scandals and contention around homosexuality have made people lose faith in the church and its leadership. But the reality is, the majority of pastors are hard-working, compassionate, highly educated people who just want to help and guide God’s people. Rather than point fingers and call you out for your addiction, your pastor just wants to help you find your way again. Don’t be afraid to talk to your pastor. Give them a chance and know that they have the knowledge and experience to know what to say and how to guide you in your quest to recover from addiction.
At Covenant Hills, we know how important it is to get you back on the path to being the person that God wants you to be. We keep Christ at the forefront of your addiction recovery by treating your mind, body and spirit with our Christian Treatment Program.