“I don’t mean to say that they have any kind of negative intent. I think it’s more of a lack of understanding about the person who is trying to recover.” Recovering from addiction to prescription medicine, Harmon said only surrender to God can free an addict from bondage. “Addiction is not the problem. ... I didn’t have a problem being an addict. I had a problem recovering. It wasn’t about God replacing something; it was that God had to be in charge completely, wholeheartedly. It had nothing to do with a lack of willpower on my part,” she said. Harmon sees addiction as the most “in-your-face example of bondage to sin” and says recovery started when people in church told her, “God loves you, no matter what!” Followers of Islam historically “engage in practices that bring them closer to God when they’re having difficulties overcoming sin — such as fasting, praying, reading Quran, and engaging in charity,” said Muneer O. Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “But if we understand addiction as an illness, then it may need more attention than that of a sin.” Cohen said God never gives up on a person. “For whatever we’ve done in the past, anything that we’re ashamed of ... any kind of hurt that we’ve inflicted, you can find atonement and heal the pain,” he said.
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