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Where to start with an addiction.

I watched the show “Addicted” on the Discovery Channel a few times and see how someone’s addiction consumes their lives to the point where it destroys their family, friends and ultimately their own lives. Over and over again people are addicted to meth, alcohol, heroin, prescription pills or other drugs.

Then there are other addictions like tobacco, pornography, work, gambling, food, caffeine and a list of other things people become addicted to. On my list of things to blog about is a book by the late Dr. Gerald May called Addiction & Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions. I am still working through it and so I have yet to formalize my thoughts but I wanted to give a primer.

When confronting someone who is addicted (or when one is confronted) the first thing we do is deny. I don’t want to unpack that but simply state it as fact. We deny.

So if you are reading this and you have some sort of addiction and are wondering, “Where do I go?” “What do I do?”

It can be overwhelming.

It can be scary.

I came across a verse this morning I wanted to share: Have mercy on me, Lord, because I’m frail. Heal me, Lord, because my bones are shaking in terror” (Psalm 6:2; CEB). In context David is speaking about praying day and night (6:6) for deliverance from his enemies (6:8). Yet, I think this is very pertinent to where all addicts need to start.

We are frail. The Hebrew word used here (umlal) carries with it the idea of being feeble or weak. The NASB translates it “pining away” and no doubt those who are addicted to substances find their physical bodies pining away and growing very weak.

So the appropriate response to a weak body, mind and spirit is submission to the mercy of God. If you are addicted right now I want you to utter the words: “Have mercy on me, Lord!”

Say it again…

And again…

Will you pray for a beginning? Will you pray for hope? I know you have probably tried everything but I want you to believe there is hope. Will you seek help? Will you talk to a friend? Go to a meeting? Find a counselor? Consult treatment?

Gerald May shares the kind of hope we need:

We may go through a great deal of humbling, if not outright humiliation, before we come to this simplicity of hope. We do not like admitting defeat, and we will struggle valiantly, even foolishly, to prove that we can master our destinies. God, in whose image we are made, instills in us the capacity for relentless tenacity, an assertiveness that complements our yearning hunger for God. But most of us overdo it; our spirit of assertiveness quickly becomes a spirit of pride. We will never really turn to God in loving openness as long as we are handling things well enough be ourselves. Addiction & Grace, p. 19.

Photo Credits: Steven Depolo on CC