The Face of Addiction - Part 4
Addiction's Far Reaching Effects
Picking up from Part 3, realize that addiction reaches far into our culture. Addiction affects nearly everyone in one form or another. The end results are extensive damage to the addict, his family and friends, his community, and God. The damage is reflected in the four natural relationships that are neglected.
If we consider the number of suicides stemming from addiction, car accidents caused by addiction, diseases caused by addiction, jail time caused by addiction, etc., addiction has become a major burden on society and the tax payer.
52% of all adolescents have consumed alcohol. 41% have used tobacco. 20% have tried marajuana. 4 million Americans use legal drugs for non-medical reasons. Tobacco kills 2.5 times as many people as alcohol. 1.1 billion smokers worldwide will succumb to their habit, and second hand smoke has been implicated in Sudden Death Syndrome.
Addiction's Far Reaching Twists
When we think of addiction, we tend to think perhaps of the drug addict or the alcoholic. There are no limits as to what someone may be addicted to. The mind of the addict can become so twisted that the more bizarre the act, the more thrill the addict receives - the higher the high. Consider some of these not so well-known addictions: laxatives; eating placenta; drinking blood; huffing gasoline; eating deodorant; eating toilet paper; eating feces; drinking nail polish - the list goes on.
Physical addictions carry their own problems, and differ from psychological addictions in the sense that the body is negatively affected as well as the addict's psychological health, Consider this all-too familiar scenario involving caffeine addiction.
You wake up in the morning and you just can not get going without that cup of coffee. What really takes place? It is the catch-22 of the stimulation/depression mechanism. This is the same principle that works in other drug and physical addictions.
- It plays out like this.
- Poison enters the body
- A message is sent to the brain to eliminate the poison
- The brain speeds up the heart to pump blood to the organs of elimination.This increase registers as a high.
- We crave it more and more
In the body's struggle to cast out the poison, fatigue creeps in. The Psalmist says in Psalm 139:14, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Your body has been created to fight off the poison, but in the effort to rid the body of the foreign object, fatigue sets in. So what's next? Another cup of coffee? Another line of cocaine?
Again we are told in Psalm 37:7 to "Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him, , , , " Rest must follow over stimulation. The faster the heartbeat, the more rest we need.What the body needs is rest, not another high.
The Law of Dual Effects
The law of dual effects is stated as such: "all agents which are taken into the body or which come in contact with it from without, occasion a twofold and contrary action, the secondary action being the opposite of the primary action", i.e. stimulation vs. depression. Because of the Law of Dual Effects, there is an intolerance to the downside. The body does not demand or want opium, It demands rest, but the addict craves more opium as a means of temporary relief from his intolerable suffering. The result produces more suffering which calls for more relief. The more stimulus, the more rest that is needed, but it is only masked until intervention or death takes place.
Galatians 6:7 tells us, ". . . whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." In the case of addiction, the addict sows stimulation, but reaps fatigue. The first part of Galatians 6:7 says, "Be not deceived; God is not mocked. There is a price to be paid.
We will wrap it up next time with some ideas on general treatment. Stay tuned!