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The challenge with getting someone to sober up is convincing them that they’re drunk.

     Lifeguards, pastors, and counselors are all cautioned at some point about the danger of “double drowning”. If someone is thrashing madly in the water, in their pain, in their mess and you get too close to them, you run the risk of being sucked into their trouble and becoming part of it. In the water, you could be struck unconscious by the flailing victim, and you’d both drown, hence the term. In pastoring and counseling, you have to maintain a professional distance that encourages the addict but discourages the addiction, or you become part of a system of people that either keeps an addict sick or pulls you into their addiction.

     The trouble with addicts is, most of us don’t believe we’re drowning. Most of us are so used to choking on water and flailing around, we think that’s just how swimming goes. When confronted about our addictive behavior, we defend and/or minimize it – “I’m not addicted”, “It’s just a little “, “I can quit anytime I want”, etc.

     I keep reading over this story of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 and it bothers me. Five of them brought oil – took personal responsibility, admitted the brutal facts of their oil-less reality, and prepared for a time when they’d really need oil. The other five figured they could get by on their friends or in some other way minimized their need for oil. I’m amazed