Christian Relationship Help: Addictions
This Christian relationship help offers information on various addictions. You need to understand the addiction and how it affects you. In addition, you need practical biblically-based tools to deal with it.
Addicts use their substance of choice (gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, work, Internet, videogames, shopping, spending, food, relationships, etc.) to avoid dealing with emotional, spiritual, physical and/or relational pain. The problem with this is that the addiction actually causes more problems in the person’s life because the addict avoids responsibilities, detaches from relationships, and makes destructive choices.
A distinction is often made between the abuse of something and an addiction to it. “Abuse” has to do with overuse or misuse; “addiction” is when someone is dependent upon something emotionally or chemically, obsessed with it mentally, and unable to stop even if the desire is there. Addictions typically get worse over time. The addict becomes tolerant of the substance and often needs more of it to get the same effect. Both abuse and addictions can cause problems in a person’s relationships, work, and/or health as well as legal and financial matters.
Both the addict and co-addict struggle with denial. Denial allows addicts to avoid admitting that they have a problem. Denial allows familty members and friends to deal with the overwhelming problems by pretending they aren’t that bad. It is difficult to face the reality of the addiction and all it involves. It is easier to ignore the problem, make excuses, and hope it will go away.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous calls alcoholism “cunning, powerful, and baffling.” Family and friends understand this description because they don’t understand why the addict continues to use the substance when it is so destructive. The co-addict or codependent is the person close to an addict who is affected by the addiction and who wants to change the addict. It is common to find this person’s life in turmoil too—sometimes even more than the addict’s. There is anger at the addict for the addiction; guilt because the co-addict feels he/she should be able to change the addict through love and logic; fear for the future; and obsession over the addict’s behavior.
The family and friends of addicts need to learn how to deal with the addiction in a way that lets go of all the futile attempts to control the addict and allows them to live their own lives while holding the addict responsible for personal choices.