Addiction as a Spiritual Deficit:
(Note – Addiction is a very complicated arena. What I write below is simply an introduction to the “spiritual deficit” side of addiction. Future posts will deal in more detail with the various issues the complicate what is written below.)
My name is Gordon. I am an addict. I am addicted to anything I enjoy. My experience is my experience, and yours is yours. However, we “addicts” share things in common. One of the things we share is the propensity to become dependent on anything that makes us feel “good,” or makes us feel “better.” When stressed, we turn to these things or behaviours to medicate our pain. These things or behaviours can be drugs, alcohol, food, sex, exercise, music, anything... and yes, even religion. Addiction is an unhealthy dependence on anything in order to mask or avoid our negative thoughts and feelings.
Even though I was sober for almost 10 years, it wasn't until I realised the truth of the following statement that I became fully free to CHOOSE my path in full knowledge of what my choices actually mean on a spiritual level.
Trusting God or Trusting Myself:
Addiction and self-medication is very much a spiritual problem; in reality it is a deeply embedded MISTRUST of anyone other than ourselves, and as such, is ultimately a mistrust of God. When we self-medicate we are mistrusting God; we do not believe He can, or will, provide us with good feelings, a healthy sense of self, a sense of true belonging, or a fulfilling life. We lust to feel better. We must have good feelings, and we must have them NOW! So we "self-medicate" in an attempt to do the above for ourselves. In fact, this "mistrust" is a form of idolatry and hence a form of self-worship as we place our own wisdom above God's wisdom, and our self-love above His love for us, thus circumventing His plan for our lives.
My prayer for you, myself, and our brotherhood/sisterhood of addicts is for God to give us faith, and His patience for His Spirit to work, and for Jesus to fulfil his promise to us, as found in Jeremiah 29:11, when we are ready to receive all He has to offer:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." NIV)