Issuing a Rare Retraction
I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:3-5
Back in 2017, I published a blog about methadone, an opioid replacement therapy. At the time, I was firmly opposed to the practice, which came through in the blog entry. The idea of opioid replacement therapy is to get the addict to stop using illicit opioids by putting them on a prescribed one (methadone or suboxone) which helps manage the addiction. The addict isn’t abstinent from opioids and they do remain physically dependent, but under the supervision of the prescriber, hopefully the self-destructive behavior decreases in what is referred to as the harm reduction model.
As a physician and recovering addict, I’ve come to understand the damage that opioids did to my brain. I also know that for my brain to truly heal, I had to become abstinent from all opioids. I’ve been sober (abstinent) for nearly seven years now and I’m convinced that my brain wouldn’t have recovered the way it has if I was on an opioid replacement. Today’s medical standard of care, however, would certainly have encouraged the use of suboxone for me back in 2014. I’m terribly thankful though, that I wasn’t put on methadone or suboxone back then. The truth is, if I had, I’d probably still be physically and psychologically dependent on it.
I do still believe that abstinence is the best thing for the addict. Over time though, I’ve come to know those who simply cannot stay sober long enough for their brain to recover. They either die in their addiction, or they just limp along, from disaster to disaster, going to jail or treatment but immediately relapsing after. For some addicts, simply keeping them alive and out of prison is the immediate priority. To this end, suboxone or methadone has been shown to be useful. It’s not the best condition (abstinence), but it beats the alternative (death). Suboxone may not be right for everyone, but it’s not always wrong either.
So, it’s come time to admit that I may not have been right back in 2017. I don’t know everything, and I’m wrong often enough, that as the reader, you must look to God’s word, not mine, as the ultimate authority. In today’s passage, Paul too, insisted that his audience not rely on his wisdom, but on God’s. No one person is always right and when we set any human up as infallible, we make a god out of someone who will eventually fail at carrying that burden. Our faith isn’t in the wisdom of any one man, but rather, the wisdom of God. As humans, we’re all wrong sometimes.