Originally posted at: https://applyingmybeliefs.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/dynamics-of-addiction/
I’ve been reading a book “Not the Way it is Supposed to Be – A Breviary of Sin” written in 1995 by Cornelius Plantinga, it has been very interesting. Chapter 8 of the book is titled “The Tragedy of Addiction”, and in it the author reviews the broad subject of the connection between sin and addictions.
One of the most important things he says in this chapter for those of us who deal with addicts and addictions is this:
- Involuntary sin is still sin.
It is all too easy for a therapist, a psychiatrist or a social worker to believe the lie taught or implied in psychology textbooks that the addict is controlled by his or her addiction, so that it is “not their fault” and no sin is involved. This is an example of what Paul talks about here:
Rom 1:24-25 – Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. ESV
The truth is that sin is at the root of all addictions, and sometimes we forget that. This truth is why we need God’s help to overcome addictions, and also why spiritual programs of recovery are more effective than secular programs.
In the geographical area I live in, Katy Texas, all of the successful secular recovery programs that I know about have a spiritual component. Yes, they might use the term “higher power”, but that is their attempt to connect to God without calling Him God. And God in His mercy still comes through for them!
Also in this chapter the author displays a good understanding of what addiction is all about and how it ensnares us. He provides the following list and calls it “The Dynamics of Addiction.”
- Repetition of pleasurable and therefore habit-forming behavior, plus escalating tolerance and desire.
- Unpleasant aftereffects of such behavior, including withdrawal symptoms and self-reproach.
- Vows to moderate or quit, followed by relapses and attendant feelings of guilt, shame and general distress.
- Attempts to ease this distress with new rounds of the addictive behavior, or the first rounds of a companion addiction.
- Deterioration of work and relationships, with accompanying cognitive disturbances, including denial, delusions, and self-deceptions, especially about the effects of the addiction, and the degree to which one is enthralled by it.
- Gradually increasing preoccupation, then obsession, with the addictor.
- Compulsivity in addictive behavior; evidence that one’s will has become at least partly split, enfeebled, and enslaved.
- A tendency to draw others into the web of addiction, people who support and enable the primary addiction. These “co-dependents” present certain addictive patterns of their own- in particular, the simultaneous need to be needed by the addict and to control him. The codependent relationship is thus one in which primary and parasitic addictions join.
Those of us in the world of Christian recovery will recognize this as an excellent description of what we see each day. I recommend that we all copy this list, and if we use it, be sure to attribute it to the original author, listed below.
Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be – By Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (1995) Erdman’s Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-4218-3