According to Psychology Today, Addiction can be thought of in three different ways. The first would be in the physical sense where a person ingests a substance (heroine, nicotine, alcohol) and gains pleasure from it resulting in compulsive behavior that begins to interfere with relationships, work, and other demands.
There is also addiction through external cues such as a smoker who goes into a gas station and feels an “urge” because he or she sees the pack of cigarettes behind the counter.
The last one which is very common is where people will compulsively use a substance or engage in a particular activity (pornography, shopping, gambling) because they are emotionally stressed out. If you look at the earlier definitions of addiction in the Diagnostic Statistic Manual you will see how the definition of addiction has evolved and expanded.
So how does God define addiction?
In Exodus 20:3-6, God clearly warns us to have no other Gods before Him.
God views addictions of any kind as idolatry because it involves raising up a particular substance or activity (through compulsory activity) while pushing everything else beneath it (including God).
God is also very clear about warning us to avoid such addictions in Titus 2:3, “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to to much wine, but to teach what is good.”
What are the consequences of Addiction?
The consequences of Addiction have been well documented medically speaking. If you have know someone personally who has an Addiction you know the damaging effects and its potential to destroy the lives of the person addicted as well as those they love.
For a Christian, the consequences are even more relevant. Ultimately, what addiction does is pull a person away from God which is never a good thing. The Bible also highlights how God swiftly punishes those who commit idolatry not because he is a hate filled God, but a God who knows the dangers of it and how unhealthy it is for those affected.
While there are severe consequences as a result of addiction, its important to also have a better understanding of what it is and what is isn’t to lend compassion to those going through it.
According to Carl Hart, who is a neuroscientist at Columbia University, Addiction is a choice but there are obvious changes in the brain that occur that are a result of Addiction. Furthermore, Addiction isn’t about a person’s character or a person’s willpower.
Treatment of Addictions are also problematic according to a new study by Columbia University, most addictions are not treated by evidence based care. In fact, many addictions are being treated by methods that are very outdated, think 1950s outdated.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends treatments that are multi-modal, individualized and address all of the sufferer’s drug abuse and associated medical, social, legal, and vocational problems.
We know as Christians that we also have a wide array of things we can do to treat Addictions as well.
Here are 4 things you can do to help with your addiction.
1. Pray that God helps you break free from your addiction.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When we try to resist on our own, we fail. We are not strong enough, but when we trust God and lay our burdens on Him, He will strengthen us. He will give us the faith and the means to overcome any struggle, we must trust his promises.
2. Read Scripture
The Bible provides a great deal of insight when it comes to overcoming addiction to sin. The struggle was just as real back then as it is now. Open your heart to what God has to say through his Word, and allow God to renew your mindset.
3. Distance Yourself from the thing you are addicted to.
You can’t expect yourself to break free from addiction by sitting back and doing nothing. You have to make an effort to get away from the things that enslave you. If you’re addicted to alcohol, get rid of it. If your addicted to porn, you might have to take even greater steps such as throwing out your computer.
The point is, the more that you fill yourself up with God, the more you start to put God in between your addiction and yourself. I can’t think of anyone or anything stronger than having the almighty as a barrier.
4. Remember the Consequences
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” All sin and temptation leads to death. It might bring us pleasure for a little while, but it will only destroy us later on. No earthly desire is worth losing your soul over.
1 Corinthian 10:13 says that, God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. If we have faith in Him, He will help us break free from any addiction. No matter what we’re going through, we are never a lost cause. We can always be saved and set free through the blood of Christ.
I hope this article has helped you gain a better understanding of Addiction and gives you some insight into what you can do as a Christian to break free from it. If you know someone who could benefit from this article, would you please share it with them so they can get the healing they need.
Do you or someone you know struggle with addiction? What has your experience been like? Have you found any methods to be helpful?