So I used to not understand this song. And I think it gets a bad rap (especially in Christian circles). I remember one of my student’s mom didn’t allow her son to listen to Switchfoot anymore after hearing this song & all but threw the Switchfoot baby out with the bathwater just because it said “drug.”

I kinda agreed with her at the time. I mean, why would Christians need to sing so predominately about drugs? Couldn’t you just say “Jesus is the answer” repeatedly instead of “there ain’t no drug” over and again?

But then I experienced drugs. No, not that kind. Prescription drugs. I know, I live in California, so again, not that kind. Prescribed medicines for my depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and whatever else I have been battled. Those kind of drugs.

It’s true: There is no drug that will make me whole.I am my own affliction

I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

When most people see this, they may sit in one of two camps: 1.) that’s right, it’s your fault! You (even if talking to themselves) created this disease and you are the reason you are so ill (whether mental or physical – assuming those are the two aspects of our being we typically take drugs for). Or 2.)

There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug
There ain’t no drug, it’s not enough
The sickness is myself

Forgive me if I overstep my bounds of trying not to spiritualize things with my Christianese, but the sickness is us. We are the issue. Psalm 14:1-3 and Romans 3:9-12 say it pretty clearly.  We are depraved people. It goes back to the garden in which beings made in God’s image first came about. We may not know exactly how long it took them to “drop the ball,” but it’s only three chapters into our Bible. And it’s a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s the reason why we have the rest of the book. We are jacked up! And there’s nothing WE can do to fix that. We think if we work hard enough or do “good enough” we’ll somehow make it to the other side. Right!

In fact, just yesterday my daughter was making good and bad lists. It didn’t take long for her brother to make the bad list. She was summoned immediately. We chatted about the fact that she was to write no more good/bad lists. I said only Santa keeps good and bad lists. ‘t wasn’t too long after that when I heard her or others surmising about those dreaded lists again. She was told to go to her room. What followed was devastatingly divine. She stomped into her room saying, “I’m on the bad list now . . . I’ll always be on the bad list!” Simultaneously my heart sunk and God’s Spirit in me arose. My heart screamed, “Don’t let her fall into the same self-defeating trap you’ve caved into!” The Spirit said, “Here’s a great opportunity.”

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I explained to her that everyone is on the bad list. Everyone. Her eyes became like bugs’. And only one Person was able to stay on the good list. She knew who it was: Jesus. God Himself. And to get everyone who wanted to get on the “good list” (man I hate this terminology), Jesus died and took on everyone’s bad choices and died a terrible death. Man, it was cool. I’m sure I may have jacked up some theology with a wrong metaphor in there somewhere but you get the point. We’re a Mess! Yet we DO get to spend the rest of our lives ALIVE!

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It’s hard to free the ones you love
Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself
Yeah, forgive yourself

Could this be more true? Wow. In part there’s the mood, theory, punch, drop of instruments and more that really drives home this point in the song. But you don’t even really need the music because of how well it’s written in its poetry form. Like my daughter who clearly was saddened greatly by the reality that she’ll “always be on the bad list,” so we are tempted to take on that burden.

There ain’t no drug
It’s not enough
I’m breaking up
The sickness is myself
The sickness is myself

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention drugs like we normally think of when we use the word “drugs” in this culture. I don’t know a ton of names for them or even the categories in which they fall, but let me just simplify into: bad drugs; good drugs; (good) drugs that can be addicting; and are they necessary drugs?.

Bad drugs would include cocaine, meth and other street drugs that we know are bad. I include nicotine in this category. I also throw alcohol in there (easy on the unsubscribe button, hear me out – I actually had to write a whole separate blog on this before I could post this entry – check it out).

Good drugs would be insulin, heart meds, ibuprofen, tylenol, etc. and I’m sure others more common that I can’t think of, but the reality is that most meds fall into the category of “are they necessary?”. Folks will argue that certain medicines that I put in his category are necessary. I remember being convinced I’d be on two particular drugs for life (now I’m not sure what to think), so I know the thought that drugs have done miracles … And they do! What we choose to put in our bodies (and things we don’t) have lasting effects. It’s just like decisions we make and how they can pact more than we could ever dream or imagine! But we need to be honest hat more drugs than we would care to admit are actually more questionable than certain.

Lastly there’s those addictive ones. I don’t exactly know all the scientific terms or causes and effects, but I’ve experienced them a bit having been on narcotics at certain times in my life (only for a few days in the last year). There something in me that just says, “get off this as soon as you can.”. I’m not sure whether I have an addictive personality or not (probably because I don’t totally understand what that means), but narcotics and other potentially addicting things in your body scare me. In fact, as I write this I know I need another blog because addictions are so prevalent and we just assume they are food. Money, sex, video games, relationships, devices like phones/tablets/electronics, news, sports and more can all be addictive. Food itself can be! But as the song singa, “there ain’t no drug … No drug to make me whole” (substitute addiction for drug).

One time I had an infection in my eye. Man it hurt. My eye doctor gave me a prescription I was to take for like a week. Within 24 hours with that stuff I wasn’t gooping and my eye wasn’t as bloodshot! Wow, what a relief! I was tempted not to finish doing it all week, but I did my best. I figured he wouldn’t have given me more than I needed so I thought I should finish it, but also thought I should hold on to it. The expiration wasn’t until three years later, so I was smart and held on to that drug for five years until my wife threw the expired drops away (as if they go bad!)

Those drops I had helped me to see better within hours. If only I could see better spiritually with a better perspective for as long as I have since taking that drug. The first step in seeing better for longer stretches of time is to recognize the mess we are.

I close with a crazy video that was used as the opening to’s Easter services. After spoken word the song comes on. Just make sure you don’t get seizures too easily.



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