So what brings people to the place where they feel the need for drugs? I believe that it is the same thing that drives most of us throughout our lives, and that is to reduce suffering. Comfort is the desire of most people, which is completely understandable. The Scriptures explicitly state in Genesis 2:15-16 that all the works of God were good, and furthermore, that man was given dominion of the works of God and was not originally destined for death; but then verse 17 tells us: "...but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
God designed us to live in his love, and to live a life without suffering. In a world filled with suffering we try to escape it: drugs, work, obsessions, friends, sex, overindulgence, etc. In short, we will try anything that we can. When all else fails and we no longer escape suffering some people get anxious or depressed and see suffering as what it is, an inescapable part of living and a part of living that sometimes feels like the whole. It is when we feel like this that it becomes so attractive to find ways to reduce comfort, such as drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol act directly on the brain to change mood. When the situation you live in is bad, drugs may seem to be the only ways to alleviate anxiety and depression.
As a Christian it is often too easy to view suffering as the judgement of God. It is true that some suffering is the result of sin. However much of suffering is not the result of personal sin, and is a result of a world under the control of Satan. The story of Job tells us of a good and righteous man is all respects. Then Satan is allowed to strip away his family, wealth, and health. His friends condemn him, stating in Job 5:8 "...I have observed those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it". His friends state he is suffering due to his wrongdoing.
Despite how attractive this view of Judgement can be it is false. Suffering may not always be the result of sin. A child dying from malnutrition or cancer is not suffering due to their sin being worse than that of any other person. Neither is a comfortable lifestyle earned. God eventually reveals to Job is that we cannot always comprehend the purposes of suffering, because the purposes of God are greater than ours. As such we do not have the right to judge others based upon their circumstances.
This does not mean we should dwell in misery and suffering when it occurs. Even Jesus did not wish to experience his suffering on the cross, Matthew 26:39 "...My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Furthermore Jesus is the perfect example of how one can suffer without sin in contradiction to the view of Job's friends Job 5:8!
So whilst Jesus did not wish to suffer he held the will of the Father above his own wishes, and suffered despite not sinning. The crucifixion whilst unjust and underserved is in fact the most purposeful thing to ever occur! In a similar fashion although martyrs and missionaries should not desire persecution if it does occur, they should persist despite their sufferings because God has a purpose for them.
In the Christmas season personal sufferings often become much more acute as many may dwell on what they do not have, or what they have lost. It may seem to be too much, and the escape of food, drink, and being busy may be attractive. But remember that God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, even when we are suffering and maybe even through our suffering. May we always have confident in the love and purpose that God gives.
We should always remember the gift of Christmas that we all have, Christ was born and suffered for us so that some day we may never have to suffer again.