The Face of Addiction - Part 2

Clarifying Our Definition of Addiction

In Part One of this series we used for our working definition of addiction - "When that which we sought to control begins to control us."We used the following definition for addict - A person who is confirmed in a habit; to apply or devote oneself to a habit or practice, usually harmful.

We must also look at what addiction is not. Addiction is not a disease. We must call it what it is - sin. Addiction is a progressive state of sin contrary to Colossians 3:9 and 10 - " Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Certainly addiction can lead to disease, but the addiction itself is not a disease. An addiction to cigarettes may lead to lung cancer. An alcohol addiction can cause liver disease. Sex addicts may end up on the wrong side of AIDES. A person's addiction may be responsible for causing a disease, but the addiction, the compulsion, is not a disease.

Sin? Yes, sin. If an addict is true to himself (which by definition is almost always impossible) he would have to admit that he violates Exodus 20:3 - "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Truly his addiction has become his god. What about stealing to support his habit? Exodus 20:15 says, "Thou shalt not steal." What if he steals from his parents? - "Honour thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12). There are thousands of addiction related murders each year that wouldn't have taken place had the addict been in his right mind - " Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13).

I realize there are psychological issues as well as physical issues involved with treating the addict, but he must first come to terms with his lifestyle. Until an addict is ready to admit that he is in the wrong and needs help, he will never get the help. Even in cases where intervention is used, unless the addict is ready to make the change, he will in time revert to his old ways.

Sin? Yes.

The Depth of Addiction

But addiction is more than sin. It is a search for intimate relationships. In the search, the addiction itself becomes the primary relationship. The addictive process actually alters the person’s existing personality contrary to Romans 12:2. The addict enters an abnormal love/trust relationship with an object or event of his choosing. Although there is psychological, and sometimes physical damage, what the addict really needs is to establish an intimate relationship with God. Addicts try to get their emotional and intimacy needs met through the object or event.

Four Natural Relationships

There are four natural relationships that must be in place. If one or more of these is lacking, it opens the door to possible addiction. Remember that the base cause of addiction is a lack of intimate relationships which cause people to search for intimacy in other objects or events. If one has never experienced addiction, it may be hard to understand the desperation the addict feels. Over time he has come to rely on his addiction as his primary relationship. He literally needs his addiction as much as he needs air to breath. What he must learn is that he can and must replace his harmful addiction(s) with real relationships.

First and foremost is a right relationship with God (Genesis 5:22-24). He needs intimate relationships with family and friends (Genesis 2:18). There needs to be a healthy relationship within his community; and last, but certainly not least is a caring, intimate relationship with self (Ephesians 5:29)

These relationships are God-given for our protection and help provide peace and meaning to life. And yes, they are a need. If the need of intimacy is not met in the addict's life, he will self-destruct. The end of all addiction, if left untreated, is death - exactly what satan desires. The addict gives up on these natural relationships and develops a primary relationship with the object/event in order to meet his intimacy needs.

The Search for Intimacy

The natural forms of relationships are not as reliable or as predictable as addiction. Negotiating is required. Rather than rejection, which is highly possible, from one of the four natural relationships, the addict turns to the needle and the spoon. The high is somewhat predictable, and except in the case of overdose and death, the pain of life is temporarily forgotten. In the process of addiction the addict gives up on other forms of relationships, and they betray their humanity every time they turn away from the natural relationships.

Furthermore, addicts get intensity (including euphoria and control) and intimacy confused. They fall into the delusion that intensity is intimacy. Grab another chocolate bar. The addict is in control of the situation unlike he may be in real life relationships

Because of the need for relationships and especially that of a God relationship (Isaiah 43:3), it becomes easier to fill the void of relationships with other pleasers. As it was noted, there is a pleasing affect in addiction. The object or event of that pleasing will begin to fill the void left by improper relationships.

As these pleasers are repeated, habits are formed. As habits are repeated, addiction is formed. As addiction takes root, an altered personality is formed. The person loses control of who he once was.

We will dig deeper into the mind of the addict next time. If nothing else realize that addiction is an attempt to fill the void of a lack of intimacy. That is what it is all about, and that is where the healing must begin.

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Comments 12 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Your section entitled "The Depth of Addiction" is very hard to take, although it is true. Addiction at its root is a spiritual problem, but most therapists include no spirituality in the treatment. Oh, well . . . And to think that God needs us as much as we need Him. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I have to admit MsDora, that addiction is hard to take - from either side. As I lived the life of an addict for too long, and now as I try to help those who are where I once was. We know that psychological and physical damage often result and must be treated, but the bottom line is that it is a spiritual problem. If the whole person is not treated there will never be total healing.Thanks for your input!


lambservant profile image

lambservant 3 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Glad you finally got this up and running. "Addiction is not a disease. We must call it what it is - sin" - thank you, thank you, thank you. I get some interesting looks when I share this in 12 step meetings. But this was a hard read. In fact, I am very emotional right now having just read it. I am not sure why. You touched a deep place in me and yet I am struggling to understand and identify with your statement that addiction is a search for intimacy. I've always felt that I was running away from intimacy, especially from God, and that I was seeking oblivion from the traumatic events of my life where people violated me when I was utterly helpless. Could it be you are saying addicts have a relationship with their drug, or their addiction in general? That I think I can say, Yes, I was there." I grew to love it, look forward to it, plan it, savor it because it did for me what nothing else could escape. I unconsciously felt it protected me in a sick way. You are right, at the end of the day, addiction is a spiritual problem, as is all sin.

I guess I am seeing that for any addiction, whether of food, substances, behaviors, we are trying to fill a hole only God can fill. Am I getting this?

Way to go Bill, now I need a box of kleenex. This was a God shot. Thanks. Look forward to reading #3.

PS The images are very powerful, and horrible, and make me shudder and recoil, that's a good thing. Keep them there.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Well I totally agree. I knew cigarettes were a sin because they ran my life, always waiting for the next one just like a drug addict. Of course we know now there are addictive chemicals in cigarettes allowed by our government; so no wonder.


Wrath Warbone profile image

Wrath Warbone 3 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

Very helpful. Very insightful. I never heard of addictions framed as substitutes for intimate relationships. Makes perfect sense in a lot of ways. And I never heard of the four relationships before. Also very telling and useful. I learned a lot here very quickly. Thank You so much.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi LS,

Yes, you're getting it. For sure there are reasons we fall into the trap of searching for intimacy - or avoiding it. But intimacy is a need just like breathing or food intake. If we can't breath, we die. If we don't have some form of intimate relationships, we die - literally. The end result of all addiction if left untreated is death. Here, have a tissue.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Jackie,

The one that gets me is that in PA we have state stores - stores that sell alcohol with the revenue going to the state. It's like the state of PA not only allowing alcohol addiction, but encouraging it. Then after someone is addicted, the state gets more money from the state run treatment centers - unbelievable! Glad to have you stop by.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad to meet you,Wrath Warbone, and thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad it was worth your trip.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

It is so very true that addiction is due to a lack of intimacy, specifically a lack of intimacy with God. That is where the core of the problem lies. That void is meant to be filled with intimacy first with God, then with others. If not, humans tend to seek other fulfillment that will bring (temporary) satisfaction, for a price that is. Your statement says it, "If the need of intimacy is not met in the addict's life, he will self-destruct."

I remember a time where I was addicted to cigarettes. It was 15 years of heavy smoking until I went cold turkey and quit. That was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It would have eventually killed me in one way or another.

Great hub(s). I'll have to make more time to come back to read the next one after this. Voted up and across the board.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Evi,

Good to see you again. Wow - cold turkey! That must have been terribly difficult, but glad to see you've overcome. Keep on keeping on Sister.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 3 years ago from Southern Minnesota

So agreed that addiction is not a disease and more inline with idolatry and being in bondage and servitude to the addiction itself.

Also good information on the replacement of real relationships by it.

Will be reading on...


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Good Morning TJ,

I never looked at it specifically as idolatry, but you're right! Thanks for following along. I always look forward to your comments.

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