Uniting Brazil (intro)

Updates on the Brazilian mission

Monday, 12 November 2012


"The worst part of being an addict are the lies you tell yourself", I listen to him tell me about his experiences of being a drug addict, and an alcoholic while the meat continues cooking on the braai, and we distract ourselves with a game of table tennis. He tells me how he stole from his family, his friends, and how every time that he 'used', he would then be able to fit in. It was so ironic to me that this guy who seemed to exude confidence was a victim of high school bullying that stripped him of his confidence and made him think that he didn't fit in. He basically took drugs so that he could lose his unique personality and learn to become like everyone else, just so that he could fit in.

The night before I met another old friend who, in a similar way, talks to me about how he became an alcoholic, and his entire life began to revolve around the pivot of himself. He became obsessed with pleasing himself. This kind of self-pursuit seems to be a common factor with people falling prey to their addictions.

We've stopped keeping score in our table tennis, as the conversation has taken a higher rank at the moment. My eyes are watching the ball bounce back and forth between us. I'm focusing on hitting the ball to his strong side, so that he can just knock it back, and we don't have to be distracted with fetching it. My side, his side, my side, his side.

"Every person in my life became someone that I could use. My family, my friends. When I would go to clubs with them, I would look at people and think, how can I use them? How can I manipulate them to get what I want? We were all like that. We all just wanted to get something from the other person, no matter what it cost. You become so suspicious of everyone, everywhere you go."

This kind of lifestyle does seem so distant to me, as he talks, but every time he throws something new out, I do some self reflection.

He's an addict!

Am I really free from addiction? Can I really stand here and pretend that I'm any stronger a person than he is when comparing our tendencies to become addicted to something? No, of course not. It's just easier to hide mine, because it's not drugs, or alcohol. That means nothing when it comes to character.

He's using everybody to get what he wants!

He really is exploiting every person in very obvious ways, from stealing cash from his dad, to taking things from his friends. But are my social activities identified by self-less love? Do I love my friends without expecting from them, or without trying to feed some insecurity of my own? Sure, I'm not using them to get drugs, but I can't claim innocence.

I start looking at what he has done about his shortfalls. He's gone to rehab. He's learnt self-control. He's faced up to his mistakes, and his failures. From confessions, to repayments, he's looked at himself, and accepted that the lies he would tell himself aren't true, and something needs to change. He's learnt to overcome. He's given himself to God. He's so aware that this relationship now is all that his life is about if he is to stay away from becoming someone that would embarrass his family, and friends.

I admire this guy, now. I am so inspired by the struggle he's gone through. I know he has been so much stronger in his life recently than I've been in mine. He wins the table tennis game, hands down.