Read: Luke 15:11-32
Somehow, by the grace of God, the Prodigal son "came to himself" and
realized that the only way he was going to survive was to go home.
Some might say he hit bottom and had no where else to go.
When he was a still a long way off, his father ran out to meet
his long-lost son and invited him back into the family.
Today, once-lost sons and daughters are being found and coming home.
They are detoxing from opioids and completing rehabilitation
programs. As this point in their lives they desperately need our
love and support as they begin their lifelong journey of recovery.
We do not know what happened to Jesus' prodigal son the day after
the homecoming celebration. Did he live happily ever after at
home, or did he--for whatever reason--leave home again?
Today when you fast, pray, listen, and respond, ask God to show how you
can help support, encourage, and love those struggling everyday in
recovery in our neighborhood. Ask God to show how you to walk
beside a person who is in recovery so they will know they are
welcome in our church family.
It is not enough to open our church doors and hope the prodigal sons
and daughters will come in and stay. We must leave our
sanctuaries and find these persons while they are "still a long ways
off" and walk them all the way home...step by step.
Dangers of Opioid Addiction
The person suffering from addiction to opioids faces many
dangers. There is the obvious danger of taking too many or too
strong a dose and dying from an overdose. Opioids are
depressants, which means they slow down a person's breathing and heart
rate. Take too many or too strong a dose, and the user can just
stop breathing. If an overdosing person is revived and survives,
their brain has endured a time of low oxygen, which can result in brain
damage in very little time.
Heroin is mixed or "cut" with a multitude of products in order to make
it less expensive for the dealer. A heroin user injects or
inhales heroin and whatever else it may be cut with. the cutting
agents can be: Benefiber, baby powder, baking soda, meat
tenderizer, sugar, corn starch, etc. The blood stream is not
built to handle these chemicals and flush them out of the system
without some damage. The user had no idea what their heroin has
been cut with. The cutting process usually starts before the
heroin enters the country, and is continued with every subsequent
dealer that touches it. Recently, the trend has been to cut the
heroin with the very powerful but inexpensive Fentanyl or Carfentanyl
to increase the potency of the heroin. Again, the user has no
idea how much Fentanyl or Carfentynal to increase the potency of the
heroin, and their next dose could kill them.
When an addicted person is injecting their dose of opioid and sharing
their needles, they are exposing themselves to follow-on diseases.
Follow-on diseases like MRSA, hepatitis, or HIV are highly
infectious diseases that can kill the addicted person while actively
using or even after they have been in recovery.
Because addicted persons have to participate in illegal activities to
support their addiction, they expose themselves to the world of
violence. Addicted persons are constantly in danger of being the
victim of violence or in causing violence in order to supply their need
Addicted persons soon separate themselves from their families and
communities because of their lone focus on obtaining opioids. The
very people who would give anything to see the addicted person healthy
again are cut off by the addicted person.
An addicted person is risking their health everyday, be that by
overdose, gunshot, or follow-on diseases, and facing these threats by
themselves. The addicted life is miserable and dangerous...not a
life anyone would choose.
What If Week 6 Insert (PDF)