Does Freedom from Addiction Exist?

This short post is not a strategic gameplan for battling addiction. It is neither clinically tested nor scientifically verified. It is merely a word of hope for you if you have felt hopeless in regard to the struggle of ongoing addiction.

A few people wanted to talk to me about addiction this week. Through my teenage and young adult years, I struggled with pornography addiction. For over half his life, my dad struggled with alcoholism. I’ve had friends who were gambling addicts, drug users, bulimics, and video gameaholics. Certainly addiction is not a new topic and I have had a lifetime of experience in observing it.

But maybe one thing that I recognize now more today than in years gone by as it relates to the struggle of addicts is the need for compassion.

A dear friend messaged me and in our conversation thread, he said, “Addiction is idol worship at its core.” After batting some ideas back and forth with him, I realized two basic truths about addiction:

1) Being addicted is being an idol worshipper, and

2) Many of those idol worshippers no longer have the control to abandon their idol.

For those who do, for those who have developed a bad habit of some kind, you should strongly consider taking the steps to break the habit. See a counselor, develop habit-breaking practices, find personal accountability, and so on. But for those who feel as though they no longer have control over the vice that grips them, standard practices in behaviour change might seem like a weak attempt at breaking the unbreakable.

The Bible offers one foundational truth and two bits of advice for those enslaved to addiction.

TRUTH: Those who have committed their lives to Jesus have freedom over addiction. Now before you start throwing vegetables at me for offering what might seem like a trite and weightless claim, consider first the source:

1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 – “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 – “For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Whatever is happening in your life today, the fact of the matter is that Jesus has allowed for you to be victorious over sin, death, and yes, addiction.

So, why then are so many Christians still living with addiction, then? That leads to the two bits of advice:

- Surrender: Even Alcoholics Anonymous gets this idea. Victory over addiction starts by recognizing that you are powerless to break your cycle with your own power. Powerlessness is valuable because it leads to surrender. Surrender then leads to a great willingness on your part to let God change you instead of you changing yourself (James 4:7).

- Confession: Once you have reached a place of surrender, God has provided a tool unlike no other. The supernatural power of confession. Finding a few trustworthy people that you can share your burden with or a few someones who will allow you to unload during the week matters. The power of life and death are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Granted, this advice is overly simplified, and a lot has to be said about how a person surrenders or who should they confess to. But the takeaway here is that God has paved a way out for anyone dealing with the grip of addiction. For those who feel hopeless, real hope is offered from Jesus.

Pastor Scott