The Face of Addiction - Part 1

Who is Behind the Mask?

When you think of addiction, what comes to mind? Perhaps alcohol, drugs, overeating, sex. What else fits your definition of addiction? Think it through for a minute.

Now, when you think of an addict, what do you think of? Do you think of someone who has cashed in their resources for the supposed pleasures of alcohol or drugs? Do you think of someone who has traded their family for their chosen addiction? Do you see a wasted life void of goals, ambitions, and purpose?

Thirdly, let us put a face to it. Who do you know right now that fits the description you have come up with? Maybe a husband, wife, son, daughter, co-worker, neighbor; the list goes on. If you have included any of the above criteria, you would be correct, but the face of addiction goes much deeper.

In this series I want to dissect the face of addiction. As a pastor, the most frequent situations I find at the counseling table deal with addiction. It may be the addict himself I am dealing with. It may be a family member that is affected by the addict's acting out. It may be society as we are left to pick up the pieces and prices of a senseless crime caused by addiction. The face of addiction reaches far into our lives, and nearly everyone is affected by it in one way or another. If we can understand the causes of addiction, and how the addict thinks, we will be in better position to help when we are called upon.

First things first - there is a God-shaped vacuum deep in the heart of man that must be filled. It will be filled. If it is not filled with the God that was meant to fill it, then it will be filled by gods of our own making. This filling with anything or anyone other than God can, and usually does take the form of addiction; that which we prize; which we hold above all else - our god.

Definitions

So let us get some working definitions. Webster puts it this way: Addiction - When that which we sought to control begins to control us. Then again Webster speaks of the addict himself. Addict: A person who is confirmed in a habit; to apply or devote oneself to a habit or practice, usually harmful.

Let us consider this definition a little deeper. Habits are not necessarily addictions. Addictions occur when we lose control over an area of our lives. It may be something as simple as sugar. Let me give you a hypothetical situation - or maybe not so hypothetical.

You have just had a really bad day at work. The clock ticks down and you make a mad dash for the door. Relief is what you are looking for! You hurry to get home to your wife or husband, but you are not met with sympathy; just a quick "Hurry up, and get ready. We have a dinner date with the Jones, and if we're late, we'll never hear the end of it." More stress has just been added to an already hectic day. On your way through the kitchen you spy a chocolate candy bar on the counter. In your hurry you snatch it, and all of a sudden, for a moment things seem to be a little better.

A couple weeks later you have another horrendous day at the office. Subconsciously, you remember how the candy bar made you feel. Why wait to get home? You stop at the convenience store you pass everyday; run in, and run out with a chocolate candy bar. By the time you get home, you already feel better.

The following week you have a particularly good day at work .You decide to stop at the same convenience store and grab a chocolate candy bar. You deserve a reward. Now that one candy bar has laid the foundation for addiction in your life. That which you sought to control now controls you. You just can't say "no" even when you experience a good day. In time and over time you lose control and the candy bar calls the shots.

Our definition also says that addiction is usually harmful. How many people do you know who are addicted to peas or carrots? Probably not many - right? Addictive behavior harms the one that is addicted.

Next time we will begin to look at the underlying causes of addiction. Hang close. It will be ready soon.

Who Can I Trust?

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Comments 34 comments

JThomp42 3 years ago

As a former addict, I can definitely relate. You are dead on my friend.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Voted Up and Useful! Great beginning. Intend to follow.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Jeff,

Great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm also glad to hear that you can relate. Although I'm sorry for the circumstances behind relating, it does give more credibility to the facts. I too was a former addict. Thanks again for making the trip!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Good to see you MsDora,

Thanks for the visit and the vote. Looking forward to seeing you again shortly.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Spot on, Bill. I have had addictions in my life. The most important thing you said was, "...there is a God-shaped vacuum deep in the heart of man that must be filled. It will be filled. If it is not filled with the God that was meant to fill it, then it will be filled by gods of our own making." A great and unfortunate truth. I pray this series will help people. Voted across the board (except funny of course). Nice job.

Loved the Chocolate image.


mylindaelliott profile image

mylindaelliott 3 years ago from Louisiana

Very interesting. Addiction is so difficult to understand until you bring it down to those terms.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

So LS, are you one of those "chocoholics"? Addiction is such a deep and complicated subject, and I must admit that even though I suffered from addiction, I still don't completely understand the addictive personality. Addiction is a lonely, lonely place, and I only hope that some will be stirred enough to seek out help for, and answers to life's difficulties. This I know - there is help and answers for those who truly want it. (hint - it has to do with filling that God-shaped vacuum). As always, thanks for the visit and the votes.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi mylindaelliott ,

Glad you were able to catch this one and glad you found it interesting. I have to agree that addiction is difficult to understand. I don't think it's a "one size fits all" thing. Some see the addict as a victim, but there really is a way out - if they choose. They hold their future in their hand. Thanks for the visit, and hope to see you again.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

The disease of addiction is so very deceptive and sly, and the one who suffers with such is so very selfish. As it becomes all about self, and one must die to self, and the only way to do that is with Lord's help. My dad and son have had such addiction to alcohol. My son, has been sober for over six years at the very young age of 19 prior to his children being born. Praise God! Now, he is helping hundreds, if not thousands at the young age of 25 speaking of his addiction and being a sponsor to persons twice his age or older. He is asked to speak all over the state, and chairs AA meetings. I know God is so faithful in hearing our prayers and I know the enemy came to kill, steal and destroy his life, but through much prayers and His grace, mercy and love, my son is living the life God planned for him, whether he realizes it or not by going through what he did and now helping others.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Faith,

Yes, addiction is deceptive and sly for sure. It also has a sucking effect that tends to drain the life out of the addict -part of the enemy's plan to kill, steal, and destroy. On the other hand, God is in the refurbishing and restoration business. He's there for anyone who comes to Him. Thanks for stopping by, the vote and the share!


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

So true Lifegate, it all starts with something that makes us "feel good" as you mentioned and then before you know it, you don't control it anymore, it controls you. I've seen people even addicted to shopping when they're stressed or depressed adding to their money problems. Addiction comes in many forms. I've been known to like chocolate a little too much :) In all seriousness, it is as you said, the void where God should be is replaced by other gods. Great Hub! Voted up and accros the board.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi FD,

Nice to see you! Addiction is a strange creature. The thing we seek to give us comfort bites us in the end leaving us worse than when we started - all because we lose our focus as to who and what is really important. I hope you'll get a chance to check out the next installment. I want to try to shed some more light on the deep rooted causes of addiction. Thanks for the vote and the visit!


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Addiction is something that we all need to be aware of. It may not be gambling, drugs or alcohol, but it can be a bad habit or some other thing that we know we should keep away from. Once we are in the grip of the addiction it can be so hard to get free again until we remember our Heavenly Father knows about our problem and can give us the strength to turn away and go back to Him. In His love.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I agree 100% Blossom. We can even be addicted to attitudes and emotions. Thanks for making the trip and for commenting. It's always good to have you stop by.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi O.P.

Yes, it's always waiting for a chance to strike, and take us back down again. God is greater - Amen! It definitely holds no prejudice. No matter the age, social or economic structures, race - it doesn't matter. It's just waiting to bite. Thanks for making the trip and for the comment. It's always good to hear from you, Mr. Pridemore


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi, My best friend was addicted to alcohol, sadly she died a couple of years ago because of it, it was so sad because we tried to help her but it wasn't to be, nell


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Nell,

If addiction isn't successfully treated, the outcome is always death. We'll see that in a future installment, but I'm sorry for your loss. Addiction hurts more than just the addict. It's good to see you, and thanks for making the trip.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Bill, I tried to access part two and it says unpublished. What happened?


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

I have found that, of course that personal and intimate relationship with our sweet Lord can get us through all trials, as well as belonging to Alanon, which provides support to the family of the addict.

God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I had all kinds of trouble with it. It quit right in the middle of it. Then certain sections were mysteriously deleted so I have to redo the whole thing - not sure when that will be, but it will be.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I had all kinds of trouble with it. It quit right in the middle of it. Then certain sections were mysteriously deleted so I have to redo the whole thing - not sure when that will be, but it will be.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Bummer Bill. Seek help from the hub people, they may be able to help.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Faith,

Yes, The God of the Universe can get us through anything. The families suffer as much as the addicts. That's something that most people miss - unless it directly affects them. Good to have you stop by.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks for the tip LS!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

I had an addiction to cigarettes for many years so I understand it can be with anything and so hard to break. I am over ten years free now though and know it will never have me again. Now with chocolate I get home and wish I had stopped for a candy bar but I never do. Is that as bad? It probably is isn't it? Like if you think it you may as well do it?


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Jackie,

Us chocolate lovers do suffer, don't we? I think the ability to control it and not give in to the temptation shows self-control. Cigarettes seem to be one of the hardest addictions to break. I know so many people that seem to struggle to no avail - so glad to hear you overcame it. As always, thanks for stopping by!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I have a fierce addiction to coffee.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hang in there. We'll get to that one in the next installment or two. In the meantime, have a chocolate bar!


bettybarnesb profile image

bettybarnesb 3 years ago from Bartlett, TN

Sometimes it take God a while to fill all the gaps in our lives. Many people come to God with scares and because He is patient, nurture His little ones until they are strong enough to overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of their testimonies.

Very good article.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thank you for the visit,bettybarnesb. Yes, God certainly is patient. He deals with us in His way in His time. Glad you were able to stop by.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 3 years ago from Southern Minnesota

I loved the observation that no one is addicted to carrots or peas as an example of how addiction has always to do with what is harmful to us. It is always tempting to justify our addictions. Healthy or harmful could be a good test.

In dealing with addictive people all around me and in observation of my own tendencies and habits it is so very true that they are rooted in our grasping for what is really missing and that is God Himself.

Looking forward to the series.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi TJ,

If addiction is caused in part by that empty God-space in our lives (and it is), think about how many people truly are empty. Addiction is everywhere - and so is that empty God-space. As always, glad you could stop by. Just a reminder, TGAF is only a week away!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Seven years now sober my friend and I can attest to everything you have written in this series. This is important information so keep raising awareness. Excellent job!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Bill,

Proud of you for seven years and counting. Great job! Addctions can be broken if we choose. Thanks for stopping by. It's great to see you!

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