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Lewis came to me the other day and after admitting that he had used an illegal drug he said, “I can’t help it. I know I shouldn’t hang out with those guys but they are my friends. Besides that, I have a “ompulsive disease” that I cannot control and this “disease” is incurable, progressive and fatal. My addictions counselor at church even told me so! I can’t help it! I can’t control it! I will always have it, and will probably go back to using drugs from time to time.”
Let’s see where this “Christian” counselor has missed the mark. “Addiction” is a worldly term that means “a persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.” The key word is compulsive, which implies it is not their fault. This says that they cannot help having this “addictive disease” because they cannot help themselves.
(They cannot help themselves, but Christ can).
This is not true because in the early stages of addiction a person is making “wrong decisions” for the “planned” purpose of gaining pleasure or avoiding pain (which is why we use drugs). This is planned by the user. It is something they can control; they simply choose not to do so.
A compulsive behavior is defined as something that is an irresistible choice. The question is whether or not this choice being made to “fulfill the desire of the addiction” is in fact irresistible. I know from experience this is not the case. Substance abusers plan and manipulate things and people to get what they want because of their selfish desires. In the “Christian” world we call that our “sin” nature. I often hear people say that it is something that no one has any control over and “It’s not your fault, you are just genetically predisposed to do things like that.” If that’s the case and if it is a disease that cannot be controlled, then there is no hope for anyone to get clean and sober! “Habitual” is the word we should be using.
There is hope that habits can be broken.
I told Lewis to run as far away from that counselor as he could get. He is promoting a victim mentality whereby you can blame others and even blame God himself. They promote “self-help” where they should only point you to the Cross. Our help does not come from within ourselves, it comes from the Lord. They say, “He had an affair!” No, he committed adultery. “He can’t help it, he’s a kleptomaniac!” No, he’s a thief. “He can’t help it if he is an alcoholic!” God says he’s a drunkard and says stop getting drunk. “Oh, but this is an addictive disease!” Not true. God says he is committing idolatry.These are idols of the heart; it’s selfishness.
The bottom line is this. If it is an addictive, compulsive, lifelong, progressive, fatal disease, then there isn’t any hope. Not only that but it isn’t their fault and they are a victim! (Poor me Poor me pour me another drink ) But if it is in fact a calculated, planned, habitual choice we make based on our sinful desire to please ourselves, then we have hope! There is hope in what Christ can do. You need to own it, repent from it, and become a new creation in Christ (2
Corinthians. 5:17; Ezekiel. 36:26-27; Rom. 12:2; Ephesians. 4:22-24.) Be blessed, not stressed.
(Pastor Mark Weigel is the executive director of 2nd Chance Outreach and The Way To Recovery at 30 Broadway in Dry Ridge and can be reached at (859) 824-LOVE (5683.)