written by John Ellard, Christ in the Smokies committee member and alumnus
Last fall, I listened to my voicemail from a friend and heard, “I’m in trouble. I have really messed up and need your help.”
I received an email from a different friend on New Year’s Eve saying he was checking himself into rehab.
One thing that was clear about both of these situations was both men were mostly alone. No one really knew the truth about what was happening in their lives. They, like many of us, were living with secret struggles. I know it is easy for me to withdraw into isolation because it feels safe, but that is just the bait to avoid a problem.
These events were a sobering reminder because both men were seen as leaders having life under control, at least from the outside. It was a stark reminder that isolation is a man’s enemy, and addiction can come in many, many forms. I took to reading and listening to others about addiction and learned a lot.
- Addiction isn’t so much about the vice (work, sex, alcohol, drugs, gambling, money).
- Addiction is about dealing with pain.
- Pain and addiction thrive in privacy and isolation.
- Facing the pain—staring right at it and moving through it—is the way to freedom.
- Freedom does not come in isolation.
It’s hard for men to avoid admitting we need help, and it’s easy to avoid joining a group.
What does this have to do with Christ in the Smokies? The Passage to Manhood experience can be:
- An experience that helps you see you are not alone.
- A safe place to ask for help.
- A safe place to mend a relationship.
- A place to receive and give affirmation.
The funny thing about freedom is that it never comes without taking the risk to move out of isolation and toward someone we love. If you are stuck or even just curious, take the risk and ask about Passage to Manhood Camp.