DEFINITION: The state of being confined in prison; imprisonment. With incarceration, the definition is pretty straight forward and the location is physically defined and rigid. With addiction, the definition is much the same but how it manifests itself and the locations of confinement are not as well defined. I have been taking some time to read and study some aspects of these two words and, like many areas of life, the complexity of them is great. Within our own humanity we struggle to define them, explore them and understand them but we are not exempt from their effects. As deacons and christians in general, we are faced with mental health issues in our communities, brokenness of relationships in our families and even tragic consequences of circumstances that trap those we love in addiction and incarceration.
We do however have the hope in Jesus Christ and the promise of His saving grace, to lean into areas and times that may feel hopeless. Just listen to these words from ISAIAH 61:1-3: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.
In the words of Charles Colson, "The ground is level at the foot of the cross. We believe that Jesus offers hope, healing, and a new purpose for each life. He can make even the most broken people and situations whole again, replacing the cycle of crime (and addiction) with a cycle of renewal."
For an in depth review of two foundational books on this topic, see the following attached files to this post. They are reviews I have written for "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Gabor Mate and "The Expanding Prison" by David Cayley. Both are excellent books and worth while reading, especially if the reviews just wet the appetite for deeper exploration.
Jesse Edgington - NADC consultant - email@example.com