Op-Ed: Addiction is Killing Black Families

What is addiction?

Addiction – is a compulsive, chronic, physiological, or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects. 

Addiction is not only life-altering but life-threatening as well.

Source: Lightspring / Shutterstock
Source: Lightspring / Shutterstock

Whenever one wrestles and contends with a habit of any sort, whether through substance or alcohol abuse, addicts are likely to grapple with mental illness, emotional turmoil, and physical woes as well.

Addiction not only affects one’s psyche but infects the bodies of those itching for his/her next fix. 

These cravings can inflict pain, wreak havoc, and cause those closest to them to suffer tremendously, including their children, spouses, parents, companions, and loved ones alike. We are always looking for the next (cheap) thrill—the adrenaline rush.

An escape or get away from life. So, whether one is an addict or not, we as spiritual beings partaking in a human experience are prone to succumb to the very things that free us and make us feel alive again.

Life hurts us all, and how we deal with our pain and affliction can push us toward our destiny or utterly become our downfall and demise. 

The choice is ours to make.

My experience with addiction

Over the weekend, my family and I laid to rest my great uncle Walter Rufus Jr aka “Willie Wimp, The Ladies Pimp, but he wasn’t a pimp though, or so they say.”

The memories I have of my great Uncle Willie Wimp are bleak and somewhat dim simply because I didn’t know him, but I had heard lots and lots of stories about him growing up. 

Now, this moment of truth and transparency isn’t meant to disgrace my great uncle nor smear his name and legacy but shine a light on addiction, drug abuse, and awareness. 

At his funeral, I remember how my family and his dear loved ones spoke and thought so highly of him, despite his fixes, flaws, and failures. 

They spoke about how he was an imperfect man but would give anyone the shirt off his back even if that was his only shirt.

“I sat in awe and astonishment as each person sent praises up to heaven for my great uncle Willie Wimp”. 

In his life, Willie wrestled with many addictions and danced with many demons. Maybe it was because of his environment or upbringing.

Or maybe it was his childhood traumas that kept him going back for more and more. Sadly, as he got older, his health declined even more.

The decades of drug abuse and alcohol consumption took a toll on my uncle’s body, which resulted in multiple heartaches and strokes-sometimes all at once. 

Thankfully, my great uncle accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and turned his life completely around for the better in his later years. Bless God!

 The “Uncle Willie” of the Family


Maybe you have an Uncle “Willie Wimp” in your family. If so, I beseech you, therefore brethren, to choose to love them as Jesus Christ loves you and all of us.

You see, brothers and sisters, our jobs are not to cast judgment on those afflicted, but instead show kindness, grant those who are hurting unmerited grace, and have mercy on their souls just as God has understanding on all of us.

None of us, no not one, is better than the other simply because “our sin is not as bad as theirs.”

We are all afflicted and bleeding in some area of our lives. 

For we all wrestle with something, we can’t seem to shake, even if it’s now and then. 

Perhaps you’ve tried everything you can to help save your loved ones’ life but to no avail. Maybe you’ve washed your hands with them and thrown in the towel. Beloved, if this sounds like you, my prayer is that you find it in your heart to forgive your loved one, for they know not what they do. 

As I write this, tears pour down my face because I weep for my Uncle Willie Wimp.

Is it a generational curse passed down from his father’s side, his mother’s side, or both? I weep because I can not fathom the number of times he was beaten, battered, and bruised every Friday for his paycheck.

I cry because I can’t imagine how many times he suffered in his life and his body due to being lied to and hoodwinked by our adversary, the devil.

Thankfully, I weep because my dear uncle is no longer suffering spiritually, mentally, physically, or emotionally, but resting and rejoicing with Our Father, who art in heaven forever.

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