the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma."
Tonight I mentioned to a group of 12-step people seeking recovery that I was in my 40th year of being clean and sober. They believed me but it shocked them and as some said later, both inspired and offered them hope.
I truly understand addiction.
Western and surely American culture doesn't bother with balance or moderation all that often. We are a culture of excess and intolerance of boundaries or anything that stifles our independence.
This of course, along with the pursuit of pleasure over and at times against the pursuit of God is a core illness within American society.
I am often more than a little amazed at how we blast Mexican and Colombian and Afghan drug lords when in fact we are their largest and richest market. No buy, no deal, end of story! But this, so sadly and with engulfing sickness, is not the case.
I'm not saying these demonized, evil people who run drugs, guns and prostitution, involve themselves in gruesome murders and terrorising people throughout much of this hemisphere are not to blame. I am simply saying enough U.S. citizens want to get high that there is a lot of money to be made and illegal drugs are one of the most apparently lucrative items on organized (U.S., and south of the border) criminal's crops.
Sin kills. It truly does. And it often ravages and torments on the way to death.
Very, very few addicts started out thinking "COOL… I can become a slave, a full-on ADDICT living in my own cesspool, my own puke, wreck my relationships, steal from my parents and friends, lie, cheat and get violent all so I can fund my addiction. NICE!"
And by the way, plenty of Christians, some in pulpits and many in the music and yes, even worship teams have fallen into various addictions- and I predict more will as time goes on.
Prayer, reading and actually applying the Bible to your life, genuine accountability/confession of your sins, actual service to others as opposed to living for your own childish fulfillments… it's no mystery why some end up drug-dependent, smoking dope, getting drunk, sleeping around, etc.. It really isn't. All we have to do is live for self and many of us will eventually drift right into it.
Nominal Christianity is a great place to start if you want to end up drowning along with others in society who don't follow God either.
There was a time I wanted dope and sex more than any other two things I could name. Uncontrollable urges and un-ending appetite for pleasure and/or escape ruled my thoughts, choices, habits and nearly killed me.
Until I became an actual follower of Jesus, even after my initial encounter with Him in faith, I still fell back into smoking dope and getting drunk off and on. In fact, it was not until I walked into the doors of JPUSA (an inner-city church and intentional community I've been part of for nearly 40 years) and truly began serving the Lord in a focused way… not until then was I fully in recovery.
Tonight I played a bit of music, spoke, answered questions and interacted with a room full of men who understand addiction.
Even if they don't want to surrender to God- even if they aren't fully aware when they pretend to BE God… they truly understand that their drug of choice, their addiction when yielded to is more important to them than God, their wife, kids, friends, love, truth, peace, even themselves. In the end, addiction means the addiction is the god of your life. Pleasure itself no longer calls the shots… your addiction does. You are but a pawn, the fool of all fools to think you have control when you are an addict.
Been there, done that. Never again! By the grace and help of my Lord and Savior, never again!
Drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions made me a slave for too many years. I reached a point where I no longer cared what my friends said about any of it- for many of them were addicted to this or that too. They clearly weren't sitting on the throne of God anymore than I!
Until I recognized my own deep need to turn directly to the one God Who IS God, my addiction occupied His place in my life.
Tonight I was asked some seven or eight times how I found continuing freedom from substance abuse addiction. Each and every time I had to say it was and remains the power of Jesus Christ in my life. Without Him, I am not in recovery. In fact without Him, I am nothing but full of myself- and it is flamingly obvious I'm not God.
Therefore, I chose and choose to follow the real one.
I know of no other continuing hope but that of a genuine, acted-upon faith in Jesus as Lord of my life.
He said "IF you continue in my word, then you become (or, are truly) my disciples… and you shall know the truth… and the truth will set you free!" YES!!
The Word of God applied among others who are truly doing the same is the shortest road to sobriety and recovery I know.
God help you and yours to trust Him… and walk the walk.