I understand why family members continue to wrestle with the concept of addiction as a disease. Over and over they tell me, “She chose this.” “He did this to himself.” The “this” of course, is using.
I wish it were that simple.
What this belief does not take into account is the complexity of the addictive process. Genetics. Traumatic events. Exposure to substances at an early age. Environmental factors. All of it plays a part in determining whether a person will, or will not, become addicted to one substance or another.
It’s frustrating but true: no one can predict who is, or who is not, going to end up with a dependency to something. Tons of people experiment with alcohol and/or drugs or even excessive shoe shopping and do not become dependent. Folks even “regliously” practice spiritual disciplines with the applause of others admiration for their discipline ringing in their ears only to one day discover (if they are fortunate enough to find out) that they have moved from a practice that seems like a good idea into an area that can best be described as spiritual abuse.
Can you take some time today to sit quietly and prayerfully ponder the possibility that you have a dependency on something that closely mirrors an “addictive” behavior? My girlfriend says that her shoe addiction is small potatoes compared to when she was smoking crack. And she has a point. But I cannot help but notice her husband’s increased stress level and absence from home as he adds a second job to his already demanding first job to pay for her Jimmy Choo Miami Metallic Printed Sneakers that she got on SALE for $495.00 (but with the free shipping and handling, how could she resist?).
I often turn to the Proverbs in my daily reading; I find advice there that repeatedly points us to self-awareness, avoidance of evil and pursuit of goodness. Maybe they would be helpful to read through and see if any of the words found within that little book jostle us into awareness about something we are in denial about in terms of our own habits.