Addiction is a word that is heavily associated with things such as alcohol, smoking and drug abuse. The problem with that is for those of us who have absolutely no problem with alcohol or drug abuse, we tend to feel like addiction can’t take a hold of us. Like to drink soft drinks multiple times a day? Can’t start your day without a cup of coffee? Do you have a compulsive need to finish that bag of chips you just opened?
Want to go deeper? Addiction is NOT just dealing with things you consume. Pornography is one of the things that has a grasp on many. Maybe you don’t struggle with pornography, so you feel as if you don’t have an addiction problem to anything – but you just might.
Facebook much? Pinterest much? Text much? Candy Crush too much? Have you played Temple Run so many times that your thumbs are raw? Do you find yourself going to the internet to look at one thing, and two hours later wonder where your time went because you got sucked into a vortex of web surfing?
The real problem with addiction is that it is possible to be addicted to pretty much anything – and whether that addiction is to something hardcore like alcohol, drugs, or pornography, or whether it is to something less physically dangerous like Facebook, the internet, or games on your phone – it consumes you.
I’m fearful for people when they start to go down a path with things that consume them. Denial is a big part of the problem with addiction.
After years of consuming diet soft drinks, specifically Diet Dr. Pepper, I realized I had a problem. I could not go 5 minutes in the morning without cracking open a can and enjoying the bubbly fizz and taste of that sweet nectar of carbonation. The caffeine would kick in, and I’d be good to go. That is, I’d be good to go until I got to the office, or to a gas station, or to a fast food restaurant, or anywhere else where I could grab another diet drink.
One in the morning, one when I got to the office, one for lunch, one after lunch, one in the afternoon as a pick me up, one at dinner, one before bed. If I had gone to a restaurant that day, I would have gotten 3 or 4 refills as well. I was hooked. The thought of drinking anything else but a diet soft drink repulsed me. I knew I had a problem.
I had tried in the past to get off of drinking my diet drinks, but to no avail. The longest I had gone was a month or so, but I would always cave in, giving in to stress or cravings. But this time, on March 23, 2012, I woke up with a mission. I was going to stop depending on this chemical to provide me with life.
Today, I have gone 410 days without having a soft drink. 99% of what I consume as a beverage is straight up water. And let me tell you, its liberating.
Food tastes better, life is better, my stomach feels better, and I rarely have headaches anymore.
But do you want to know what happened? My addiction moved from diet soft drinks to other things. I started to eat more, specifically chips. I started to play mind numbing games on my phone/ipad to calm me down. Thats when it hit me – addiction is going to try to find a way to rule your life, especially when you have an addiction problem.
The problem with addiction is that it is a constant struggle. It rears its ugly head when it can. It reminds you that you need something to fill the void of something else that filled a void.
Its overpowering. Its strong. Can’t have a drink? Can’t have a smoke? That’s fine, fill it with food. Fill it with pornography. Fill it with ___________ . Addiction can rule your life.
We tend to trivialize some addictions. Coffee – oh, I’m not addicted to coffee, I don’t have to have it…yet you’re nonfunctional without it in the mornings.
Facebook? Oh, I could close my account right now and never miss it…yet you get off the computer and go straight to your Facebook app on your phone.
I noticed the other night how addicted we are to just filling a void with something. Its almost as if we are scared of the quiet, scared of just doing nothing, scared of having to interact. My little girl was watching a show while sitting on my lap. I had my phone in my hand scrolling through facebook. My wife had her computer out looking through Pinterest. Show goes off, my daughter goes to bed, we come back downstairs, I get my computer out, scroll through Facebook some more, and my wife gets out her computer and does the same.
So I’ve made a more conscious effort to quit relying on other things to fill the void in my life. Maybe I should God fill that void. If you were to clock your time – do you spend more time on Facebook or more time with God in prayer and scripture each day?
Do you spend more money a month on Starbucks or soft drinks than you put in the collection plate on Sunday?
Or if you do have a serious addiction to dangerous things such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography – have you sought help?
If you’re looking for something to fill the void of a past or current addiction, or if you see yourself struggling with something that could very easily become an addiction – do something about it.
Turn to God.
Turn to a friend.
Turn to a spouse.
Don’t go at it alone. Get some help.
Facebook, the internet, Candy Crush, coffee, soft drinks, drugs, alcohol, the list goes on and on – don’t let these things define who you are. Don’t let them control you.
And when you give up your addictions, don’t replace them with other bad addictions. Let go, and Let God in to your life.