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When I was a kid, we raised chicken for our food. At first, we only had a few in a large pen. It was a fairly natural environment for them with lots of grass to scratch around in for insects and seeds. Those chickens were very healthy in that environment. Then we dramatically increased their numbers. We squeezed more and more chickens in the limited space. We put some in wire cages. We also learned how to feed them in a way that maximized egg production. Those changes put the chickens under more and more stress.

The more we departed from their natural environment, the more stressed they became. And under that stress they began to behave badly. Crammed in together they began to peck one another obsessively. The ones at the bottom of the pecking order had all the feather on their backs plucked out. Their backs and sometimes their heads were bleeding from the abuse they received from the other chickens. None of that obsessive behavior happened when they had plenty of space and grass to scratch around in. It all began when we put them under the stress of close, unnatural conditions and pressed them for maximum production. We’re not chickens, but when we are put in unnatural, high-stress conditions we tend to respond in unhealthy ways. We tend to seek out ways to reduce the tension. Addiction recovery is more than just saying "no." It involves changing the lifestyle.

From Sermon by Richard Tow entitled "Stressed Out or Prayed Up."

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