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Prescription Drug Addiction Is an 'Epidemic' in the Church, Says Ex-Addict, Gospel Singer Joseph Habedank

Man, I would never want to put my wife through this. She's amazing, just this amazing woman of God raised in this amazing Christian family. Her dad's a pastor at an Assembly of God church in Virginia. She had this wonderful background and she really didn't deserve this.

The biggest thing that I learned is this: marriage is hard anyway but you throw in something like this and it makes it even more difficult to work through stuff and yet she has not only stayed with me, but she's applied herself to learning what addiction is all about.

She came to what is called family week at Cumberland Heights and really learned about this awful thing we call addiction and totally applied herself. She has gone to bat (for) me with people who didn't understand and just wrote me off as some loser pill head and she has said no, it is more than that. My brother said this the other day, we just cannot pass off addiction as a petty sin; it's more than that. Sin can be forgiven but sobriety has to be earned. You have to earn that.

Lindsey's been amazing. She's just an amazing woman and the most forgiving person I know.

CP: What did you learn about God and faith during the recovery process?

Habedank: The biggest thing that I learned is that God is not this mean judge who sits on His throne and judges everyone for every sin they've ever committed. The truth of that matter is there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. I was raised in a very independent fundamental upbringing and you just didn't sin and if you did, you hid it. So I always thought that God was mad at me and that He somehow didn't like me because I had messed up.

My sponsor, who is also a Christian, finally told me, you know what Joe, he said, Jesus loved you when you were using, but He's crazy about you now. That did something to me. Whether it's theologically sound or not, that moved me to make me think that God loves me. He knows how I've messed up. He already knew – he knows everything so He knew how I was going to fail Him and He still chose to love me. What we often forget as Christians is that Jesus has already paid for all this. It's already been paid for and we try our best to earn His love and His respect and His favor and yet every sin that we already committed has been paid for.

That's not to say that we should take advantage of Him and of His forgiveness. However when we do slip and fall, that's why He went to the cross. He didn't go to the cross just to be the sacrificial lamb for no reason. He did it to pay for our sins and somewhere along the way the church has forgotten that the church is not for fixed people, it's for broken people. We didn't make an alter just for Christians to come and worship Jesus. We made the alter for sinners to come and find redemption and peace, forgiveness and grace and mercy.

So my view of God as a deity has changed completely. He's a different savior to me now. He's not the ruler, He's not just the king, He's the forgiver and the giver of life and the gracious God and a merciful savior. He's all those things to me now.

CP: If you could dedicate a song or songs from your album to others who share your struggle with addiction, which song or songs would it be and why?

Habedank: That's a great question. Probably "The Beauty of the Blood" which talks about even in the second verse, "what a thought that a single drop can forever wipe away every stain and with its power, ever chain that held us now lies at our feet and we stand free and forever changed, I stand amazed by everything it does –The beauty of the blood." That stuff is just born out of addiction and born out of failure and born out of sin and just messing up. There's another song called "Big Enough" which basically says "when they say it can't be done, I know that God is big enough. I can run the race I'm called to run because I know God's big enough."

To be honest, this whole album is a sound track to people who have needed forgiveness in their lives and the truth of the matter that I finally realized, that's everybody. It was so refreshing to think I'm making an album that everyone can relate with because we all messed up, we all need redemption, we all need forgiveness. Since Adam's fall, we were all pretty much cursed but then Jesus went to the cross, then He paid for sins and now we have this wonderful thing called salvation, this wonderful thing (sic) called grace and mercy and redemption and I'm really grateful for that.

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