What addiction and mental disorder tell a person is that they are broken, unremarkable and without great meaning. Putting more stock in the thought patterns of addiction and mental disorder than in the thought patterns of seeking and praising God result in a tarnished view of one’s self and one’s purpose. If an addict accepts the thoughts and ideas that form in the addicted or afflicted mental faculty, they will not have the hope and will necessary to conquer their addiction. It is imperative for addict’s to embrace God’s message of truth and love that ensures we are beings called to the highest purpose, and that our place in this world is enormously valued.
In the midst of addiction, many people have claimed to have felt a calling, something deeply personal and mysterious. The calling is to recognize what their true identity is; not a servant to alcohol or drugs or some other addictive thing, but a miraculous being that is loved by its creator. This feeling does not occur only in the midst of addiction. The biblical book of Ecclesiastes explains this feeling as something that God wrote within us, a sense for eternity that is laid on our hearts. We have an innate instinct to seek him and his ways although we can not understand him. This inherent quality within us is part of the reason we know we can trust God’s promises.
This God-shaped hole in our hearts is very important to an addict’s recovery. Having true faith and trust in a loving God is a strong reason to fight addiction. Most people who sucumb to addiction do so because they do not see how immensely important it is for them to be a whole person and pursue the deepest questions of their soul. Addiction, often combined with mental disorder, blinds an addict from the truth of their identity in Christ and in God, which is that we are all called to live incredible, meaningful lives of adventure, love and purpose.
Christ set the ultimate example of selflessness by dying on the cross for humanity. There has been no greater example of selflessness in history than that of Jesus Christ. Selflessness is very interesting when one considers the effect that it has on the person exhibiting it. Selflessness has the power to change a person’s life for the better by reversing destructive thinking and replacing it with healthy thinking. Interestingly, studies have shown that people are more mentally and physically healthy when they live in productive harmony with their community and their support systems. This means living selflessly – not focused on what is good for themselves but focused on what is good for their group. It would seem that we were intended to live this way.
Consider addiction for what it is: pure selfishness. Addiction happens when someone discovers something that makes them feel good, and the person begins to pursue that thing and obsess over it so relentlessly that they stop caring about everything else in their life, including their relationships. Addiction isolates a person with something they are idolizing, making it impossible to be selfless. Knowing that people were meant to exist in healthy community with one another, one can see that it is impossible to be addicted and to be healthy because selflessness is not an option.
Now think of what happens when selflessness is allowed to conquer addiction. Acts of selflessness defeat addiction by reversing its effects. Selflessness makes you available to your friends, family and acquaintances, taking you out of the isolation that addiction locks you in. Being selfless reminds you that the contributions you make to the lives of others should be your top priority, and that means you need to continue being responsible in order to properly care for yourself and for those around you. Whether you are a parent, child, sibling or simply a friend, your presence, heart and mind are required to help others along. If you are struggling with addiction, remember that you are needed by others and let selflessness change you for the better.
The power of Christ’s love is transforming, so much so that a person’s life will not resemble what it used to be when they fully accept Christ’s love. Sinners repent, wrongdoers ask those they have wronged for forgiveness and selfish people become charitable. This sphere of influence extends to addicts as well. Addiction takes a powerful hold on people, but not as powerful as Christ’s love. There are many who believe that Christ’s love is, in fact, the only force powerful enough to conquer addiction. What happens when an addict fully accepts the love of Christ without inhibition is beautiful. There are many accounts of addicts making the most overwhelming progress they have ever made in their recovery when they accept the love of Christ.
Jesus Christ walked the earth 2,000 years ago. It can be difficult for some to relate to events that happened this long ago, so putting Christ’s love into a modern context and making it personal can truly drive it home. Jesus was the son of God, and was therefore perfect in how he loved and cared for people. Everyone who has ever lived must be held accountable for what kind of person they are. God sent Jesus to live among us and ultimately die for us in order to save us from ourselves. In dying, he took on the burden of our judgment so that we could have eternal salvation. If we were to translate this kind of love into a personal metaphor, it would be like our own parent or guardian dying for us. Picture an alcoholic, selfishly addicted to something that will eventually kill them. Say the parent of that alcoholic knew that the only way to save them from their alcoholism was to drink all of the alcohol they would ever have access to in one event, giving themselves alcohol poisoning and dying. If you insert your own parent or guardian into this metaphor, you can begin to understand what God’s love is like.
This metaphor is heartbreaking, of course, but the story of Christ does not end in heartbreak. The son of God experienced death as a man, but three days later, he reversed death and lived again. He proved that natural death is not the end of life. He demonstrated his power over death by conquering the grave. He gave us a glimpse of the eternal life that can be ours if we choose to follow him.
For those struggling with addiction, nothing has proven a faster and more efficient way of ending addiction than inpatient addiction treatment. This form of treating addiction, also known as residential rehabilitation, is statistically the most likely treatment to prevent relapses and promote recovery. What many people do not know about rehab, however, is that it comes in many different varieties. Because people commit to living in rehab for long durations of time, they desire a rehab that suits their personality, beliefs and lifestyle. For Christians, that means a Christian rehab.
Any Christian who is struggling with addiction or knows a Christian who is struggling with addiction should know that Christian rehab is an option. In fact, the addiction treatment industry was founded by Christian organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous. The Christian value system of meeting life courageously with Christ at your side instead of escaping life through addiction has been inspiring recovery for generations. Christian rehabs are available in large numbers today throughout North America and provide addiction treatment for Christians that incorporates their faith into the message of recovery.
Addiction in the Christian community is a hard subject to approach. Many churches do not address the subject at all but instead sweep it under the rug. The number of people in the church who are addicted is a shocking statistic to those who have no awareness of the matter. In the church, it is still a common method of addressing addiction to simply call it sinful nature and dismiss it along with all other sin. There is an awareness lacking within the church about what addiction is, what characteristics of disease it possesses, how it is largely a neurological and biological condition and how it needs to be treated.
At a Christian rehabilitation center, however, Christian addict’s will not be met with these misunderstandings. Christian rehabs are staffed by people with a psychological or social services background who are educated about the various forms of addiction. Many were addicts themselves at one point and can provide invaluable information on turning to God’s promises to alleviate the pain and frustration of depression and mental disorder.
When you think of the way an addict behaves toward their addiction, certain words come to mind such as reverence, obsession, slavery and servitude. Addict’s live for their addiction, to the detriment of their own well-being. When you revisit the biblical concept of worshipping false idols, you will be able to draw many comparisons between addiction and false idol worship. When the Israelites bowed down before golden statues, they were turning their eyes from the god they served to worship a false, empty god – one that would offer no provision or relationship.
Addiction and false idols are similar in that they both demand to be served. Addiction has a heavy sway over the addict that bows down to it. It commands their time, energy, money and devotion with no regard for the things the person used to value, such as personal relationships,worh ethic and health. Similarly, a false idol is not any kind of real god, but rather a pretend god that offers the servant nothing of value in return for their servitude. Those who choose to follow a pretend god will have no reward for their efforts.
An addict behaves in a worshipful way toward their addiction. Their top priority on any given day is to ensure that their addiction is protected and accessible. The organize their schedule around it. They reallocate funds toward it. They save up their energy for it. They may even tell others how great it is, and why it is the best thing in their lives. All of these behaviors are condusive with worship. A false idol, of course, serves the same purpose. People fuss over a false idol in order to appease it in a mislead belief that the false idol will bless them and favor them. Their efforts are, of course, fruitless because a false idol is not worthy of worship.
Addiction is an inherently harmful behavior. It is human nature to want to deny the existence of addiction within one’s self, but it is also human nature to be more perceptive than denial and eventually recognize addiction within one’s self. When that time comes, it takes immense strength, courage and support to commit to ending your addiction. One necessary ingredient for addiction recovery, the element that inspires a path of health and purpose over a path of destructiveness, is love.
Love is the feeling that tells us we are valued. Love tells us that it matters if we live or die, cry or rejoice, experience life or hide from it, grow or shrink. Possessing the feeling of reciprocal love is half of winning the battle with addiction because it validates our lives as meaningful. Many people find love in the relationships they have with family and friends. Sadly, some people do not have love in relationships with family and friends, so they seek a support system outside the one they were born into, or accept a lonely existence. There is one type of love that is available to everyone, that is only ever a breath away at any given moment. This is the love of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the living son of God, and God incarnate all in the same. He is the one true God, a God of love, forgiveness and acceptance. Jesus died for us, by our own hand, to serve as a sacrifice and to take the penalty for our sins so that we could be in heaven with God when we die and not face the judgment we deserve. There is no greater kind of love than this. The bible makes it clear that, although Jesus lived and walked the earth 2,000 years ago, the sacrifice he made was for every person who ever lived, because he loves all of us equally and desires what is best for us, as well as our presence in heaven with him.
Addiction is a trap for the heart and for the life of the spirit. Coming to depend on a harmful substance or activity for a sense of normalcy is an old trick of the Devil to get us to lose sight of our identity in God through a carefully constructed web of lies and deceit. Addiction can be a powerful force, and the only counter force that is strong enough to break its bonds is the love of the one true God.
When someone is addicted, they are battling the clutches of the addiction itself as well as the damaged way they perceive themselves. Satan lies to them, telling them they are worthless and God, family and friends have turned their backs on them. They begin to believe that they are worthless and incapable of change, immersing themselves deeper into their addiction in an attempt to numb the pain.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. God loves us despite our weaknesses – even more for them, in fact. We were created to be dependent on God for security, for identity, for peace and for love. Our weaknesses demonstrate this, and decry our endless need for a savior. God loves us in the midst of our shame, our confusion, our anger and our agony, and our flaws only make him want to draw closer to us.
Coming to embrace the truth of God’s love is truly the only thing that can free us from the scars of our pasts; the scars that are responsible for addictive behavior. God wants us to believe that we are beautiful and loved, not that we are disgraceful. By simply inviting him into your heart, you can experience the incredible love of God and a peace that surpasses all understanding, releasing you from the clutches of addiction. The caring staff at any number of christian drug rehabilitation programs is eager to help you connect with God and defeat your addiction.