If you watch ESPN you have probably watched, or at least seen advertised, the various 30 for 30 documentaries produced. The productions usually focus on a singular sports event, team, or individual and a particular thing that happened, i.e. Steve Bartman trying to catch the foul ball in the 2003 NLCS game 6 in Chicago, the mid 80’s college football scene in the south involving the fallen SWC conference especially SMU and the subsequent Death Penalty it received for improper benefits players received. This last Tuesday the 30 for 30 documentary was about former professional basketball player Steve Herran and his rise from playing college ball at Fresno State to being drafted in the second round by the Denver Nuggets, being traded a year later to, the team he grew up cheering for as a child, the Boston Celtics and spending nearly a decades more worth of time in Europe and Asia playing basketball.
However, the real focus of the film was on Steve and his near decade and half struggle with drugs and alcohol. No matter what continent, country, state, city, or province he was in he could always find some source for his spiraling drug addiction. Thankfully, three years ago he found help at a rehab facility in Massachusetts and has since been clean. Now he travels to schools, prisons, civic events, etc… and share his personal story of being a slave to marijuana, heroin, crystal meth, and ecstasy.
Formerly having a pornography issue I could see myself relating to Steve and his struggles with drugs. Although the “substance” itself may have been different the issue still remains; if you allow yourself to become enslaved to anything (porn, drugs, alcohol, food, work, spending money) you will continue to remain in an abusive cycle of falling and failing unless you (or others around you) help set up some sort of parameters to keep you safe from whatever it is that binds you. While in Denver Steve had a safety net to protect him in NBA veterans Nick Van Exel and Antonio McDyess who went out of their way to make sure that at all times he was with them, off the court, to keep him from falling back into his former vices. However, when in Boston he lost his firewall of protection and quickly began repeating his old patterns.
If you simply attempt to remove the temptation but do nothing to ensure you can’t find new access to the problem you will cave into your inner cravings and relapse. Some people turn to accountability partners, some even go the path of “cutting off their right eye” and cut up credit cards, get rid of their television or computer, move in with friends and family. No matter what the issue is no one has to be a slave for whatever to holds them captive; if I have the faith to believe Christ rose and died to set me free from my sins surely he can set me free from my addictions. However, let us not work against the grace Christ provides us. Although setting up parameters around ourselves may seem extreme; extreme is often what we need to ensure we walk in true freedom and not be the dog who returns back to its vomit or the sow who comes back to the mud wallow.