Freedom From Addiction


Pope Francis has asked us to pray over addiction this month.  We are all too familiar with the suffering of people around us, as well as to ourselves, because of the compulsions we label as addictions.  Of course we want to reach out to people we know who are suffering, but first we might want to consider ourselves.

We probably don’t consider ourselves as addicts, but can probably spot unhealthy compulsions in ourselves!  We all have “blind spots,” so might consider consulting sympathetic friends, or community and family members.  Have they concerns about our behavior?

We all have the need to improve our personal thoughts, words, and actions.  A measuring stick I like is my wish to extend myselffor the spiritual good of myself and others.  Of course that wish is real only insofar as it leads to appropriate results!

Perhaps we can consider our “positive addictions.”  We try to live good Christian lives in our communities and families.  We spend most of our time serving others through our ministries.  I like to ask for honest feedback from trusted friends.  I consider it my responsibility to give appropriate evaluations to others as well.

For example, these days as I impatiently look forward to an end to our “lockdown,” I’m spending time reviewing class notes based on the last couple of years of teaching, and looking for better ways of bringing the wonders of physics alive to my students – a challenge when dealing with seventeen year olds!

In the community, I ask myself how I can best help others, while being careful not to compulsively butt in!  I’m blessed with community friends generous in both positive and negative feedback.  Then it is up to me to evaluate advice and make appropriate changes!  I don’t like calls to slow down, but try to evaluate those calls.  I’m not getting younger!

I consider my basic positive addiction, the enjoyment of God’s love, to be my measurement of success.  My first challenge is to recognize God’s presence in everyone I deal with from the most limited contacts on the street, to daily lives shared in community.

If I honestly recognize God in another, then a simply expressed “thank-you” is good for both me and the person who stepped out of my way.  Honest dealings with community members and close friends become essential in my life.  I truly want to see God in them, and to thank both for our unity in this faith.

Therefore with Pope Francis, I pray for recognition of God’s presence in myself and everyone I deal with.  I hope I can express my thanks for that presence to everyone and to God, who guides me through life and who challenges me to accept that guidance.  Changes and challenges come along.  May we all have trust that those changes lead to greater good!

Bill Robins, SJ, is a Canadian Jesuit living at Godavari, our original school at the south-east edge of the Kathmandu Valley. He lives in a community of six Jesuits and teaches 11 and 12 English.

  • Paul Baker
    Posted at 06:35h, 21 May Reply

    An interesting, helpful and informative read. Thanks, Bill.

  • Peter Bisson SJ
    Posted at 08:08h, 21 May Reply

    Thank you Bill!

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 08:51h, 21 May Reply

    Thank you Fr. Robins for sharing this profound insight!! We do become addicted, don’t we? Addiction to socially acceptable items or actions may even be praised! This pandemic lockdown is teaching us in more than one way. Of course, Ignatius’ examen is endlessly helpful. Thank you again. I am very grateful to have read your reflection today.

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