The Reverend Dr. Johanna Wagner discusses the different reasons that people struggle with opiate addiction; medical, legal, and cultural.
Throughout the many stories of Jesus healing people, there are usually people who help or advocate for those trying to be healed. In this story, however, the man trying to get up and walk is not being helped by anyone. In fact, this man does not even have a straight answer for Jesus asking “do you want to be healed?” Despite the man's hopelessness, Jesus heals him.
The Reverend cites the arguments put forth in the book “Cruel Optimism,” such as putting more focus on maintaining things rather than things. The author believes that optimism gets in the way of experiencing happiness, because of our perfectionism. When it comes to opiate addiction, people do not have the same level of optimism.
The song “Amazing Grace” is brought up, to make the point that grace is “amazing” because it finds and helps the wretched, not those who are already healing and/or healed.
The Reverend lays out ways to combat our own misgivings and stigma surrounding addiction. We must not act like addiction is un-treatable, we must not ignore the satisfaction that comes from life after addiction, and we must not rely on harm reduction over treatment.
Then, the reverend lays out the advent of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, used to actually treat people with Borderline Personality Disorder, previously thought to be un-treatable. What people need is hope, not doubt, for healing.