(Drug, Alcohol, Gambling, Sexual)
DEFINITION: People with addictions have lost control over what they think, what they do, or what they ingest into their bodies. The term “addiction” can be applied to harmful substances such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. It can also be applied to harmful behaviors such as compulsive gambling, sex, or mutilating your own body. People can also develop addictions to things that in themselves are not harmful–such as food, hobbies, sports, etc.–but that are addictions when used in uncontrolled excesses.
FACTS ABOUT ADDICTION:
So you think you aren’t addicted? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you need help:
-Are you using drugs other than those required and prescribed for medical reasons?
-Can you get through the week without using alcohol or drugs?
-Has your drug/alcohol abuse interfered with relationships with your parents, children, spouse,relatives, or friends?
-Has your drug/alcohol use caused you to miss days at work or school?
-Have you been dismissed from school, a job, school, or other positions due to drug/alcohol use?
-Have you had a fight when under the influence of alcohol or a drug?
-Have you done anything illegal in order to obtain alcohol or drugs?
-Have you been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
-Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
-Have you had medical problems (like memory loss, hepatitis, convulsions, blackouts, flashbacksetc.) as a result of using drugs or alcohol?
-Do you feel sick when you try to stop using drugs or alcohol?
You are a slave to whatever controls you. “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:19).
You cannot please God if you are controlled by addictions. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:8-9).
Anything that harms your body spiritually, mentally, or physically is sin. The Bible declares: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) . Your body is a temple and you should treat it as a sanctuary.
Addictions cause you to lose control. When you are under the influence of an addiction, you lose control of your will, your body, and your mental processes. If you are not in control and God is not in control, guess who is? Your enemy, Satan.
Drugs are related to sorcery. Revelation 18:23 speaks of the “sorceries” of evil men. The Greek word for sorceries is “pharmakeia”, meaning “enchantment with drugs”. Revelation 9:21 indicates that those that do not repent of their “sorceries” (enchantment with drugs) cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Legitimate drugs, when not abused, are not sinful. Every good gift comes from God, and legitimate medications are gifts that help restore health and alleviate pain.
There are many kinds of addictions. A person can be addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, or pornography. One may also be addicted to an activity that in itself is not wrong, but because of overindulgence in it becomes wrong.
God wants you free from all addictions. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
DEALING WITH ADDICTION:
Admit that your addiction is sin. As long as you refuse to admit your addiction, you will be unable to deal with it. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Cut the root, kill the fruit. Addiction is a surface manifestation of a deeper need or problem in your life. Think about why you take drugs, drink, smoke, gamble, etc.? Do you feel better about yourself when you do it? Do you do it to try to escape heartache and difficulties in your life? Whether it be heartache, difficulties, or negative emotions, etc., cut the root that is supporting your habit and you will kill the fruit–the addiction itself.
Ask God for deliverance. Pray not only about your addiction, but the root causes behind it–your hurt, pain, rejection issues, etc. Rebuke any generational spirits that would foster addictions. Bind the spirit of addiction from operating in your life: “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Renew your mind by the Word, prayer, and meditation.
Seek biblical rehabilitation. If you need assistance in dealing with your addiction, find a biblical rehabilitation center or program. The Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, Dream Centers, and Celebrate Recovery are excellent biblically-based programs.
Resist the devil. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (James 4:7-8a). You resist the devil and his temptations by prayer and the Word of God which enables you to draw near to God. You are not resisting the devil when you have cigarettes or drugs in your pocket just “in case it doesn’t work” and you need them. Use your access to God to secure help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Change your lifestyle. Do not hang out with people who use drugs or alcohol. Do not frequent parties or places where drugs or alcohol are used or gambling is done. Do not watch television programs that promote drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. through either the screenplay or advertising. Do not return again to the bondage of addiction (Galatians 5:1).
Form a support network. Form a personal support network of people who have successfully recovered from addictions and can help you do the same. Celebrate Recovery and Teen Challenge provide excellent Christian support networks for addictions.
Know that you will be tempted. Temptation is common when overcoming an addiction, but you can overcome it in the power of the Lord. When you are tempted by the enemy to engage in your habit again remember that… “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is always a way out. Take it!
Remember that you never fail until you quit trying. If you return to your addiction, do not give up in defeat. Ask God to forgive you and strengthen you to take control over the addiction, then begin again. Rather than condemning yourself, think about ways you can respond better next time you are tempted.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ADDICTION:
I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. (John 8:34-35)
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep doing…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:19 and 24-25)
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:8-9)
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14)
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16)
Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage … For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:1,13)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of a sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16-17)
And be not drunk with wine (or high on other drugs), wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.(Colossians 3:1-5)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:19)
(See also “Alcoholism” and “Habits” in this database.)