There are some topics we are confronted with that require us to have a bare knuckled vulnerability, a naked honesty – that sets aside the polite social protocols that hedge our self-perception, insulating us from the layers of dysfunction we dare not look directly at . . . it is that thread we dare not pull. So we broach such things in the abstractions of theoretical analysis, as things that other poor souls fall prey – instead of taking the humble path of confessing our brokenness. In this way, any honest discussion about addiction can be like rolling a hand grenade into the room . . .
I’m removing all of the substance abusing addictions and sexual addictions from the table – but only for those who have already freely chosen to confess their brokenness in these areas, as they likely already know, in vivid detail, why knowing your addiction is so vitally important. But for the rest of us who think we have these areas under manageable control, or think addiction is only confined to these specific areas – I ask you to join me in inviting God to remove from us the vanity and lies (Proverbs 30:8) that beset our thinking . . . so that we might break the chains we are incessantly forging.
Since our exile from Eden, and the intimacy with God it afforded – we have been compensating for that vacuum. Because the break in our relationship to God also created a tear in our understanding of ourselves. By design, we don’t know who we are apart from God. So our reality apart from him feels like a demented carnival, our perspective distorted like a funhouse mirror, as we ride the jerking, plunging rollercoaster of our emotions – so we go into the survival mode of self-medication.
All of us are in survival mode. All of us are trying to compensate our brokenness. All of us are self-medicating against the pain . . . this side of the fall, none are immune. You may be thinking that you don’t have an addiction, because you don’t have a socially unacceptable addiction – but that’s not the same thing, is it? Remember, addiction is whatever we do to compensate against the soul crushing disappointments, disillusionments, and despair in our life – all of our insecurity, loneliness, and emptiness . . . it’s whatever we do to fill that void. Because addiction is everything we do on our own, apart from God, to solve our deep and abiding longing . . . that lingering vestige of the fall.
To confess your addiction is to confess that there are insidious layers just beneath the surface that need healing . . . and that you are not satisfied with the illusion you create for others – you want to be truly healed. But if you hold your addiction in abstraction, treating it as if it were nothing more than a minor character flaw, or insignificant peccadillo – not only will you be living in self-deluded denial, but you’ll be missing out on how God wants to heal you. Because what was broken in the garden can be healed, and the reconciliation of God already knows how broken you are – even those hidden places you’re afraid to go . . . allow him to go there with you, so he can heal that too.
Here’s a song I wrote years ago about addiction . . .