Sunday, August 21, 2016

Addicted

In my job, nearly all of the clients with whom I work are struggling, or have struggled in the past, with addiction.  Though I've had my own bouts with it throughout my lifetime, I have often minimized my struggles as being somehow less than an "addiction" problem.  My two biggest Goliaths have always been smoking cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol, both substances that are widely available and completely legal.  Most of my clients, on the other hand, doggedly battle against other foes.   Meth.  Heroine.  Cocaine.  You know, the "hard stuff." Until this last year I saw myself in a different boxing match than them, but what I've since discovered as I daily fight the urge to smoke, is that addiction is addiction and the struggle against one drug or habit is no less real than the other. Merriam Webster defines it as "a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble)." Seems the heroine addict and nicotine addict aren't so different.  Both are addicted.

Have you ever heard people tell you that they "fell into sin?"  I've even said it myself a few times, but what I realized not long ago when analyzing why I started smoking again last year is that I didn't "fall" into anything.  I didn't just trip over some boulder, fall into a gas station, and then accidentally pay someone in exchange for a pack of cigarettes.  No, I made the conscious and willful choice to buy and then ingest something poisonous into my body.  For someone who became a health food nut and advocate in 2013, this was a puzzling paradox.  I went from starting a mini health movement in my small community of friends and family in 2013 to puffing away on toxic little cancer sticks in late 2015.  What happened? As a therapist, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the contradiction, and it's important for anyone who struggles with addiction to determine the why and how of the choice behind the drug. In her book, You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay provides a metaphysical cause for addiction, stating that it's a form of "running from the self, fear, and not knowing how to love the self."  Not everyone will agree with this, but to me it made perfect sense.  For example, if one truly loves himself and all that he is, he won't accept poisoning his body with a death inducing substance.  Well, it's a habit  and habits are hard to break you might say.  Yes, but how and why did it become a habit?  Would you feed your child a mouth full of nicotine? Meth? Heroine? Would you offer them a pill of ecstasy or a hit of acid with their morning breakfast?  No, because you love them too much, right?  See where I'm going with this?

The problem isn't the addictive habit nearly as much as it is a lack of self-love.  Once you begin to really love and nurture yourself, you won't be content to continue putting toxic waste into your God-given temple.  Looking at it from a biblical perspective, 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that our "bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in us," and if the Bible is true, which I believe that it is, then I can either be busy destroying and killing it or working to glorify, strengthen, and beautify it.  If you drove the neighborhood garbage truck and collected people's trash, would you take it to the nearby church and dump it there?  Some might, but I'm guessing most wouldn't, and if we hold the local church building in such high esteem, how much more worthy should we see our own lives and bodies, the very pinnacle of God's creative hand? Overcoming addiction is no easy task, and only those who have struggled through it understand this, but walking in victory doesn't begin with the simple decision to stop.  I've made that decision to quit smoking at least a thousand times in the last 10 months and I still haven't because it's not enough to just want to quit.  Undeniably, it's a great starting point, but for total follow through, the challenge isn't to love the drug less, but to love the self more.  As a side note, addiction isn't just isolated to drugs.  People can be addicted to almost anything.  Sex and pornography.  Gambling.  Cursing.  Gossiping.  Complaining.  Shopping. Eating. The list goes on, but the root problem is the same, and the path to healing and recovery starts with one step of self-love at a time.  The following song is one that has resonated strongly with me throughout the last year's multitude of challenges and struggles, many of which I'm still working to overcome, but through sometimes tiny steps of prayer and loving affirmations, I keep moving forward and I hope you will too.  What will your next step be?

Next step...


4 comments:

  1. absolutely beautifully said!!! Thank you for sharing your growth and insight with us!

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  3. Stop that smoking feather. But don't stop blogging. I really enjoy them

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