On Friday, a friend asked me if I had seen Dr. Drew’s new television show earlier in the week. I hadn’t; I hardly watch television nowadays. However, I looked up what she had referred to and was brought to tears while viewing this clip:
I listened to and loved these folks’ music as a youth. Still do. What went so terribly wrong?
I sometimes say that I have an addictive spirit. If I’m into something, I’m all in; no halfway measures. I will eat the whole bag/pot/container of stuff on occasion. I will turn into a gym rat for months. I will play computer games or read until sun-up. But I eventually “get over it.”
But this is a whole ‘nother beast.
The entire story of the Debarges’ formative years is yet to be told, but what has been revealed is a hurricane of abuse, molestation, addiction, and incarceration that has affected all 10 siblings to varying degrees and has already taken the life of one of them. We’re talking a lifetime of stuff, and they haven’t “gotten over it.” And yes, they grew up in church and have a mother who loves and serves God. And had a father who was anything but one to them.
I’m aware that every choice eventually leads you down a specific path and the simplistic answer is to just say “no” to drugs, drink, food, gambling, porn, shopping, gossiping … whatever your poison. For some folks, it’s that easy.
For others, it’s a far more complex matter, especially if they’re already in too deep or if emotional and mental issues are part of the addiction. I’ve seen it happen among my own relatives and those of dear friends. I’m still seeing it happen to some of them.
James, one of my favorite New Testament writers, plots the path from temptation to destruction very vividly:
“A man’s temptation is due to the pull of his own inward desires, which can be enormously attractive. His own desire takes hold of him, and that produces sin. And sin in the long run means death—make no mistake about that, brothers of mine!” James 1:14-15 (J. B. Phillips New Testament).
My genuine prayer for all who battle serious addictions is that they would find power in the name of Jesus and be delivered. I commit to be what Brian McLaren describes in his book Naked Spirituality as a “stretcher-bearer”: one who brings to Jesus in prayer those who hurt, lack, despair, and cannot walk, let alone run, to Him on their own.
Speaking of the four friends who broke through a roof to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing, McLaren says:
“They let the weight of his condition become their burden to bear. . . . When we practice compassionate intercession, we become the stretcher-bearers for others in need. Whether or not they have faith and hope, we put our faith and hope to work on their behalf.”
Many addicts have been able to successfully move out of “the lifestyle” and live whole, healthy lives. They came to the point at which they wanted to be snatched from the fire of addiction, and God met them right where they were and brought them out of it. A very large percentage of them credit a relationship with God as the overriding factor that gave them victory.
The spirit of the age we live in is personified by various types of addiction. We have to fight that spirit with the “good addictions” that God lays before us. God does not ordain addiction as anyone’s destiny; to the contrary, a full and productive life is His desire for us.
I heard Joyce Meyer say once that “we don’t catch wellness; we only catch sickness.” It stuck with me. We do have a responsibility to pursue the “wellness” that is readily available. It starts, as always, with the mind: the desire for , and focus on, the things that build us up spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Do you acknowledge your addictions? How do you fight them? Are you winning that struggle?