The following represent my thoughts in reading on addiction, speaking with addiction counselors, and counseling people in the church over many years with addictions.

 

The Bible and Addiction

I.  Definition  –  Addiction is an idolatrous, dependent relationship with a substance, person, thing, or idea to numb the pain of living in a fallen world. Addiction is a biological and emotional quest for gratification, regardless of the consequences to the individual or others.

II.  Characteristics of addiction

   A.  Tolerance – need more to get same result

   B.  Withdrawal from others– dislike of exposure

   C.  Continued use after negative consequences and confrontation by loved ones

   D.  Unsuccessful attempts to stop

   E.  Negative impact on work, family, relationship w God (if Christian)

 III. Excuses to expect to hear in protecting addiction

   A.   “I don’t have a problem”

   B.  “I could quit if I want… proof, I don’t do it every day”

   C.  “It’s not that bad…lots of people are worse than me”

   D.  “You don’t know my life…I need some relief”

   E.  “Okay, I’ll stop, just leave me alone, I’ll deal with it myself”

   F.  “You’re not so pure yourself”

  IV.  The Bible and addiction

   A.  Sin is addicting – Rom 6:16

   B.  The Bible does not exclude biological factors in addictions

   C.  Biological addiction does not negate moral responsibility.

   D.  Addicts usually need help to quit– Gal 6:2  (exception – cigarettes, etc…), but it begins with genuine repentance

   E.  The will is strong – he can stop – is the addict willing to suffer for God?  Matt 5:30, I Cor 6:9-11

   F.  The addict’s second idolatry is self-sufficiency – “I do not need help”  I Cor 12

V.  How to help an addict

   A.  Do not lie, cover up, enable, or make excuses for the addict

   B.  Do not accept responsibility for the addict’s behavior, if you allow the addict to manipulate you with guilt, he will

   C.  Do not bail the addict out of consequences

   D.  Do not continuously scold or nag the addict

   E.  Hold the addict accountable – set boundaries

   F.  Get outside help (elders, rehab, loved ones, etc…)

   G.  Don’t worry about the reason he started until he is fleeing the addiction. Root causes only become excuses. The problem is the addiction.

   VI   Subtle addictions

   A.  People (boyfriend, kids, etc…)

   B.  Computer, video games, television

   C.  Church work

   D.  Shopping

   E.  Food

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