The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as depicted in the book of Revelations (Chapter 6: 1 - 8) is a vision of John of Patmos. In it there are four beings mounted on four horses of different colors (white, red, black and pale). They have come at the End Time to destroy humanity through Conquest, War, Famine and Death.
Nearly 2,000 years later, we now have the Four Horsemen of Addiction: Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Sex. These four addictions taken together, like an Apocalyptic metaphor, have negatively impacted 50% of all Americans.
In a new documentary from 11-time Emmy Award winner, Nick Nanton, entitled Connected: The Joe Polish Story, tells the incredible story of Joe Polish, who went from being a terribly addicted person who nearly died from his multiple addictions to become a successful business man, marketing guru and worldwide connector. He is now one of the most recognized people in business and has influenced such industry titans as Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins. and Ariana Huffington. The documentary was shown at the Los Angeles independent film festival (called Dances with Film, June 13 - 23. 2019) in Hollywood.
I was at the film festival to view a different documentary called Song of the Open Road: The Story of the Southern California Youth Chorale (SCYC). It tells the story of singers, dancers and musicians from more than 100 high schools who toured the world as good will ambassadors bringing American music to Europe, Asian, South America, and Russia. SCYC was the vision of K. Gene Simmonds, creator and director of the choir, and the documentary shares the impact it had on these youthful singers for the rest of their lives. The SCYC endured 12 years from 1965 to 1977. I was the first student president of the SCYC at the age of 18 and I met a girl in the choir who later became my wife.
This documentary was paired with the Joe Polish documentary, and after both films screened, producers and directors of the films came up on stage to answer questions from the audience. Joe Polish, himself, came up on stage. In an answer to one question, Mr. Polish said that he began his addictions following his horrible sexual molestations as a child and became a sexual addict during adolescence. In the documentary we learn that as a sexual addict there was nothing that he wouldn’t try or indulge in. By the age of 19 he was using cocaine and other drugs, and although he was six feet tall, his weight had plummeted to 120 lbs. He knew that if he didn’t turn his life around that he would die. So he began attending A.A. and N.A. meeting (Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous). There he began his spiritual journey. He cleaned up his life and started a one-man carpet cleaning service in Mesa, Arizona and he stopped his drinking, drugs and sexual escapades.
He said on stage, “Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sex are the four things that help people cope with life. They use these things to escape the painful realities of life. People pursue these for pleasure, to numb themselves or run away.” Quoting Bill W., the founder of A.A., he said, “addicts try to drink God out of a bottle,” but they learn that it doesn’t work. That only leads to destruction, ruin and death.
Joe Polish (his name is pronounced like shoe “polish”) created the Genius Network where entrepreneurs write personal checks for $25,000 each for the privilege of joining the network. He does dozens of business workshops around the world where people gather to learn new ideas and hear his message that you must clean up your life and addictions in order to be the best person you can be in business. He is very open about his past. He tells his story often so that others will not hide their own shame from their addictions and mistakes. Hundreds of his followers have personal testimonials about Joe’s influence on their lives. His honesty about his messy past, along with his positive outlook on life, frees people to disclose their own foibles. His creative ideas in business are legendary. But he says, “Until you deal with your own demons, you will remain shackled”.
The 12-step program of A.A. and N.A. saved his life. His life was transformed, and he thanks God for his new life. He is an example of how the Spirit moves in the secular lives of many.
If you need to find a 12-step support group for any addiction you struggle with (sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, etc) I can help you find one. These 12 step programs keep your identity anonymous. You don’t even need to talk at a meeting. If you care about someone else struggling, I will keep your information confidential. Just give me a call at 949.433.5182 or e-mail at email@example.com.
This One Minute is written by Pastor Ron Rehrer, Counselor for Church Workers in the PSD. For help, contact Ron at 949-433-5182 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)