We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. Titus 2:11-12
I have worked with a lot of people over the years who have addictions of various types. We can be addicted to anything. Anything. The reason for that is the natural tendency to avoid pain or unpleasant situations or feelings. So, we look for remedies. The problem is that the remedy itself often becomes an addiction.
Addictions are shortcuts to feel better. They offer immediate gratification, and numb the pain. People use substances, at first to feel good- later they must use them just not to feel bad.
Some of our addictions are somewhat innocuous and socially acceptable- for example, my addiction to caffeine. That is one we even joke about, and it is a very common addiction. Then there are food addictions which are often socially acceptable, but are not good for our bodies, such as addiction to sugar- more or less a societal addiction.
Obviously, many addictions are not so harmless, and they are complex and dangerous. Anything that makes us feel good right away- something that immediately takes our brain’s pleasure center captive, is addictive. There are complex physical and emotional reasons for this, but suffice it to say, once the brain gets used to such chemical changes and the addiction takes over, recovery is monumentally difficult.
We will be exploring this further in the next few reflections. In the meantime, think about your addictions- we all have them!
Prayer: You have given us the remedy for a broken world, help us to deal with our own remedies which can be destructive, Amen.