We are experiencing an epidemic of addiction in our country. While we know addiction may be predisposed by genetics, environmental factors help explain the lure. Peer pressure, family problems, mental health problems, family history of addiction and use of prescription drugs are often underlying factors in someone’s decision to use. The addict often struggles with feelings of personal inadequacy, an inability to regulate emotions and cope with conflict and internal pain. Consequently, substance use offers temporary solutions — immediate gratification, anesthesia to life’s problems, removal of inhibitions, and yes, power-power to feel in control and walk in confidence.

The desire for power led to Satan’s ousting from Heaven. He saw God’s glory, desired to be like Him, becoming His enemy. Power was one of the temptations Satan brought before a fasting Jesus in the wilderness. Satan offered Jesus the world if He would fall down and worship him. Satan tried to coerce Jesus into accepting immediate gratification and fame. He tried to thwart the plan of redemption. He tried to deceive and then destroy.

This strategy is the same today. The enemy uses this formula with substance abuse. The power he offers is for temporal things of the world. He offers importance, fame, control, money, sex, escape and avoidance of pain, and more. But his power comes with a price — ultimate destruction of the soul. Substance abuse destroys. It is not a long-term solution to anything-only a temporary feel good! And that feel good changes the brain creating compulsion and the need for more.

The need to escape and avoid negative feelings is another root cause of addiction that is helped by faith. If one truly believes that God is weak when we are strong, is with us through any difficulty, and can walk us through any problematic situation to the other side, He becomes our dependence. Without God, we are left to our own helplessness.

In order to overcome any addiction, you must begin with the belief that only God can fix your feelings of inadequacy, calm your anxieties, walk you through difficulty and be a constant help in times of trouble. Then, get in treatment and do the hard work on rewiring your brain through abstinence and therapy. Refuse to be tempted by anything the world offers as a solution to your emptiness. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived. The only real power is that of the Cross. Because of His great love for you, Jesus triumphed over deception, destruction, and death. In your weakness, He is made strong and that is why surrender is the first step in healing.

Shedding spiritual light on addiction