Mistaken Identity

Editorial Perspective

A few weeks ago, I was mowing a lawn when I felt what I thought was several small pebbles hitting my left ankle and being thrown by the lawnmower. However, when I looked, I noticed several yellow jacket wasps. I didn’t realize the potency of the venom of those three or four flying insects and later that day spent more time walking behind the mower while mowing the lawns at my home.

The next few days and nights were filled with intense pain that kept me from accomplishing some things I needed to do. The swelling of the ankle and foot meant treatments with ice and medications while, I spent the days sitting in a big comfortable reclining chair with my leg and foot elevated to relieve the pressure and reduce the chances of the venom traveling to the rest of my body.

Isn’t this the way addiction often begins. A person thinks the addictive substance, such as an alcoholic beverage or tobacco, is of little or no consequence. However, that substance or an activity like playing video games soon becomes a “drug of choice” (with its physical and mental attachments) to medicate the pain and escape the negative feelings associated with living life on one’s own terms.

Frank’s personal experience with alcohol as he shares it in this issue of the Journey to Life, is another reminder of the years that are negatively effected by mistaking the true identity of the substance. Like the yellow jackets (which unlike most other stinging insects) can sting repeatedly, alcohol keeps on stinging and causing pain.

You will also notice in this issue the feature article, “Addiction and the Family” by Professor Alina Baltazar. The many ways addiction continues to negative impact the family are its’ focus.

False and mistaken identities can and will confuse us and cause dysfunction in our lives and those we know. The good news is that even though we may be alcoholics and addicts (in other words “sinners”); our true identity is “a new creation” in Christ Jesus.

Ray Nelson, MDiv, MSPH