Billy Graham: God Is The Answer To Drug Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 07/18/16

The 97-year-old evangelist offered a heavenly solution to a reader's marijuana addiction in his latest column. 

Billy Graham: God Is The Answer To Drug Addiction

Evangelical pastor Billy Graham has been preaching the Bible for over 70 years, but his views on drug use have remained the same.

In his latest column for the Bowling Green Daily News, the 97-year-old Graham took a question from a reader who lives in a legal marijuana state but admits that he “probably [smokes] pot a bit more than I should.” Apparently his wife claims he’s “turning into the equivalent of an alcoholic,” but the reader questions whether “harmless drugs like pot” can really be just as damaging.

The preacher tells him that “no drug is harmless, and experts I have consulted agree that almost any drug can become addictive—including marijuana. When that happens, a person becomes more and more dependent on it, and may find it almost impossible to break away from it on their own. Gradually it ruins their life and destroys their relationships.” Perhaps surprisingly, Graham then tells the reader that even though his wife clearly cares about him, “God cares about you even more than she does.” He then urged him to seek Christ in order to find salvation and break his drug use.

“First, He’ll help you face your situation honestly—not only what you’re doing, but why you’re trying to escape from your problems through drugs,” writes Graham. “Then He’ll give you a new desire and a new strength to do what’s right, as you realize how much He loves you.” He concludes with a proverb from the book of John: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

The power of religion hasn’t been enough for members of Graham’s family to avoid drug abuse and mental health issues, though. His third daughter, Ruth, has been open about her daughter's struggle with bulimia nervosa and her son’s drug use. Ruth also struggled with depression and even admitted suicidal thoughts after finding out her first husband of 18 years was unfaithful. She addressed her family’s hardships in her book, In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart.

“The world is tired of plastic Christians,” Ruth told the Columbus Dispatch in November 2008. “I was tired of being a plastic Christian. I told everybody I had it all together, and I was falling apart. And I was scared to death to tell somebody.”

Ruth said she underwent psychological counseling to help manage her depression. She’s also started a ministry, Ruth Graham & Friends, to tackle the types of issues she feels are often swept under in the rug in the Christian community.

“No one was addressing [depression] with me. I was told to get a Bible and go up into the mountains, and I'd be fine. And I knew I wasn’t. I wanted to take a gun into the woods and shoot myself,” she said. “ A lot of people have been taught that if you're depressed there's something wrong with you spiritually. That’s so unfair. It’s a physical issue.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.