Ever wonder what causes people to become addicted? We often see the homeless person clothed in the evidence of rough times. His body is dressed in torn, unclean items tossed over a malnourished figure that once held the healthy weight of muscle mass and fat. The overgrown, scraggly, unkept beard that drags down from the bottom of his chin to the middle of his chest. The filth beneath jagged nails that haven’t seen a manicure. Ever. And we know (without ever being told): he is an addict. She is an addict. They, are addicts.
But what about the stay-at-home mom popping opioids like peppermints as she manages folding laundry, needy toddlers, and a sink full of week’s long dishes? Or the kid who makes his way to school only to hide in the restroom stall before class to take his hit of Methamphetamine, or whatever kids are taking a hit of now-a-days. These are the ones that go unnoticed. These are the addicts that look like us.
We all do a little too much of something and depending on what that something is, the level of consequence varies. But what does stay the same, is that we become dependent on that thing that (at least in the beginning) we so enjoy.
Maybe it’s not drugs, but food. And maybe not food, but sex. Or maybe coffee. Or gossip.
I believe that addiction comes from a place of need, no matter your drug of choice, but the deception, is that this thing, this experience, this person, will satisfy that need. The trick, is that it feels like it does initially. And sometimes it does. Until it doesn’t…
God has given us all an ability to choose. At the onset of any addiction, we freely choose to do this thing that induces this indescribable pleasure. It makes us feel good when we are down. It dulls the pain that just never seems to dissipate. It becomes our friend. Then before long, that friend, is now our master. Our ability to make a choice has vanished when we can now only seem to choose that thing.
We become slaves.
I come from a long line of addicts. Men and women who coped with suffering and trauma by using various methods, inclusive of drugs, sex and alcohol. The Black community is just one group of people of color who battle with drug dependency due to abuse, poverty, PTSD, and a lengthy list of systemic forms of oppression that have lasted too many generations. Addiction is in my bloodline, and more than likely, it’s in yours. I remember when I was younger, and was becoming easily dependent on food. I didn’t have friends and I was an only child, so food became my friend. It gave me that sense of comfort that I didn’t seem to receive from anything, or anyone, else. In my pre-teen years, I once ate half a loaf of bread, all by myself. When my grandmother discovered the half empty plastic bread bag, she blamed it on her husband, who truthfully denied it, telling her that I was the culprit. “How can a little girl eat that much bread?” I heard her muffled voice cry in the other room in complete disbelief. Oh, but I had.
There was something triggered in my brain when it came to food and it seemed I had no “off” button. Even though my body was full, my brain continued to want more, and so, I gave it more. If you’ve kept up with this blog for any significant period of time then you know my history of having eating disorders. Thankfully, God delivered me, and eventually introduced me to a healthy eating lifestyle, of which I have been the beneficiary of for almost 8 years now.
Not everyone has the story of a quick deliverance though. Sometimes addictions can only be healed in a process. Sometimes the recovery is long, the journey is arduous, and support is needed. Regardless of the steps we need to take for our healing and deliverance, it is vital that we take them.Tweet
Addictions steal our joy. They sabotage our ability to live abundantly. They enslave us into a bondage that is too weighty to easily escape from.
And we were never meant to be slaves.
So dear friend, be honest with yourself. What is your drug of choice? What is it that is causing you to lose your mind and toss away your God-given ability to choose to not succumb to that decision? To that pleasure? To that thing? And who can you share your struggle with? And how will you take back your authority?
Every addict knows, the first step is admittance. First, be honest with yourself to obtain your freedom, then find a substitute. In this season of my life, working out has been a great substitute for a lot of unhealthy behaviors I am often tempted by. I have totally fallen in love with step class and am avidly recruiting those around me to join me in the fun! As my beloved pastor recently said, “What is the purpose, if it’s not fun anymore?” I think that statement pertains to a lot of things. Christianity, life, relationships. God wants us to have fun, not be bound by the chains of addiction.
So, if you can relate, and have a testimony, I would love to hear your own story of how you overcame your drug of choice. Feel free to email me to hear more of mine.
Here is a link to an article that really ministered to me about God’s deliverance from addiction.
And if you are just coming to grips with that area of dependency, then be encouraged, because there is nothing too hard for my God. I’m a witness!
Here is the link to SAMHSA’s National Helpline.
Don’t forget to visit my website and learn more about me and my books.
If you’re in the Cleveland area, I’ll be here signing/selling books so please stop by!