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Nicotine and its Predecessors

Addiction is one of those phrases that when we hear it we automatically think of nicotine and its ramifications on our pour great aunt who could never give up on her nasty habit. None of us really think that we have our own addictions; at the worst we’ll just call them habits that are on the journey of redemption and really never give a second thought to it. Addiction is more for those people in twelve step programs or in counseling, not really the average person that has a car, average job and a pet named Spot. It wasn’t until I had my first brush with addictive nature did I really comprehend what this addiction really was.

Instead of being something that we despise or struggle to get rid of addiction has unfortunately become a justified desire that we don’t give enough credit to. Addictions are ruining lived through gambling, sex, drugs, alcohol, shopping, gossip and more than one can mention in a sentence that doesn’t seem excessively large. I would argue that in almost all cases addiction is the sin and not the thing that one is addicted to. For instance, in the case of gambling I don’t think a night at the casino for twenty bucks is a sin, but when that becomes an addiction it latches itself to something deeper than just a fun night. I don’t think that a drink of alcohol is wrong, but when it becomes an addiction I think we have something else.

All addictions have one thing in common. I think to describe it the best example would be to use gambling. There are two different kinds of people that gamble. There are those that go to the bank machine and take out $100 and look at their new balance after the money comes out and understands that that is there new balance. The second type is the kind that go the bank machine and take out $100 and look at the balance and add $200-300 because when the night is over they are going to deposit their winnings. Does this make sense? Addiction is the second person. The person who continues to go more into debt trying to get out of debt.

Addiction is investing into some sort of action or activity expecting that the activity itself will somehow repay you for the initial investment. Gamblers are addicted to gambling because they are waiting for it to finally pay off and give them the money they lost and more than they could ever dream of. Alcoholics are addicted to alcohol because they are trying to get the feeling that being drunk gives to last forever. Shopoholics are addicted to shopping because they think that the next shirt will be the last shirt they will need to be complete. Addictions are fed by the convincing of oneself that this time will be the last because this time it will ‘work’ or will be ‘all the need.’

It’s interesting because sometimes I think beyond the typical addictions we get addicted to things that we don’t really know we are addicted to. I think we get addicted to spirituality or church in a negative way. We think that this service will be all we need for this week to keep us going, or this service or this Christian experience will be all we need for a while to keep us encouraged or updated for the month. Anytime we think that indulging in anything will eliminate the urge for it again or the urge for which it satisfies we are fooling ourselves and feeding the addiction.

6 Comments

  • That’s a good point Andrew.
    I was thinking of that before because i was going to end the blog with a line like “So unless its God himself we should hold back from indulging ourself into things thinking that will be all we need.”

    I think you are right though, there are certain things (ie. water, food, oxygen, fellowship) that we need to repeatedly do to stay alive (or healthy). I guess instead what I should focus more on is sort of what Jesus focused on at the well. Because while water is important and needed Jesus seemed to turn things on its head and talk about a spiritual water.

    Or maybe there is a difference between water and gambling in as much as one is for survival the other is not?

    Could that be the distinction? I’m trying to find it here but having a hard time, maybe you can help me decipher then what an addiciton would be or consist of?

  • As much as I agree with you, Rachel doesn’t. She gave me the most Christian answer in the world “well I am addicted to Jesus” but as much as she sounds all “Christian” would you say that her addiction is a bad thing? So in essence, is addiction to good things a bad thing or the thing were addicted to?

  • two things.

    This was not in relation to Jesus whatsoever. In fact i was going to put a sentance at the end about that but i chose not too.

    Second, my guess is that no one is actually addicted to jesus. Is anyone that perfect?

  • Thats why I heckled her for her for Christian answer. I think she was trying to push my buttons.

  • “We think that this service will be all we need for this week to keep us going, or this service or this Christian experience will be all we need for a while to keep us encouraged or updated for the month.”

    If you substituted “water” for “service” or “Christian experience”, would you still describe the above behaviour as addictive in any negative sense? What if there are some things we need to repeatedly do, by the nature of the case, to stay alive (physically or spiritually)?

  • Hmm. Well, I think that is definitely one difference between the two, anyway. Motives surely are part of it.

    I think you’ve struck on something interesting. Just thinking about behaviour, I wonder how close addiction is to idolatry? It seems to be something like taking something good and making it more important in your life than it should be, more important than God (and other more important good things).

    Perhaps that doesn’t fully answer the question, though. I’m not sure I know the answer completely, but I think that might be a place to start…?

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