9 Ways Addiction Destroys the Christian Life

In a culture that feigns body positivity, we’re encouraged to
overindulge in food. In a culture that suggests sex positivity, we’re
given the okay to be abuse our temples. What gets left out of
conversations like these are the effects of addiction. The world gives
us permission to do things, but puts no limit on our behavior. If
something is pleasing, then we should pursue it – alcohol,
relationships, pornography, social media. The sky’s the limit, or
rather the time we have in a day, or the amount of energy in our
bodies, or the money in our pocket.

No one denies that there are things that feel good – eating a juicy
steak, kissing our lover, getting likes on a post. Yet, God, in His
wisdom, warns us against addiction. Just because something feels
good, doesn’t mean we indulge. Just because something feels good,
doesn’t mean we pursue it.

Some people view God’s commandments as a means of ruining the
fun, but another perspective, the better one, is that God wants to
protect us just as a father protects his children.
If you are an addict or know one, be sure that addiction poses a
threat to walking in the faith. Here are 9 ways addiction destroys the
Christian life.

1. Shame
There is a reason addicts struggle to talk about their dilemmas.
Whether the word they use is embarrassment, disappointment, or
guilt, what they have in common is the feeling of shame.

Shame describes the discomfort we feel when caught in the act, or
just the internal understanding that we did something wrong,
something we know we shouldn’t have done.
While shame can be a driving force to change behavior, in
addiction, the bad feeling often drives the addict to cope with
more addiction.

2. Induced Isolation
There’s a common saying in recovery meetings, “the opposite of
addiction is connection.” This is true because people often become
addicts in isolation. As they struggle to cope with life, trauma, or
hardship, bad habits often develop in the comfort of solitude away
from prying eyes. In isolation, addicts temporarily escape shame,
exacerbating bad habits where no one will call them out. Of course,
some addictions escalate to the point of public display.
Nonetheless, positive human connection challenges people to grow
and serves as a reminder that they are not alone. Life is hard, but
there exist people who not only can relate, but have overcome the
same struggles.

The more time we spend in the company of others, the less time we
spend isolated in addiction.

3. Clouded Judgment
A mind high on and hankering for more dopamine is not the same
mind that exercises patience and temperance. God has called us to
live life in moderation, but addiction calls for excess. This direct
contrast leads to clouded judgment and walking according to the
flesh, not the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).

4. Wasted Time
Ask anyone who has been an addict for a year, five years, ten, or
even more. They’ll tell you that the time they invested into addiction
easily numbers hundreds if not thousands of hours. The time we use
in addiction could be put toward producing godly fruit in service to
God or other people, but the addict chooses self over all else.
Ultimately, time gets wasted that will never be returned.

5. Cheapens Sex
For years, doctors and experts denied that anyone could become
addicted to pornography; after all, sex is a good and natural thing.
Yet, even good things can be abused, and there is no doubt people
can become addicted to sex, including online pornography. The
effect of such an addiction is that we stop seeing the beauty in other
humans and instead liken them to objects used for our own
gratification. Sex becomes cheapened and not the God-glorifying act
it is meant to be.

6. Destroys Our Temples
When we indulge in drugs like alcohol or overeat, we run the risk of
ruining our bodies, sometimes permanently. The damage could take
the form of scars or even a fractured mind. Sometimes addiction
leads people to lose their lives.

7. Ruins Our Confidence
Addiction leads to living a double life, one you show to the public
and the other you keep hidden. One life inspires confidence, but the
other creates shame. When we are in active addiction, living life with confidence becomes next to impossible. Addiction, especially in the depths, leads us to do things we are not proud of and if we
could, would forget.

8. Disconnects Us from Others
The sex addict ruins his marriage with infidelity. The alcoholic
abuses his children. The social media star ironically ends up alone.
As addiction prizes self over all else, the natural consequence is a
disconnect from other people, especially those closest to us. Those
we do interact with, we often treat poorly.

9. Disconnects Us from God
Aside from the disconnect we experience with other people through
addiction, we also create a disconnect between ourselves and God.
Committing a sin doesn’t mean we don’t love God, but it does offer
commentary on our relationship. If nothing else, our addiction
reveals what we prioritize – self.

Overcoming the Impossible
“I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me.”
(Philippians 4:13)

The longer any of us suffers in addiction, the more hopeless we may
feel in ever achieving a life free from the sickness. Though doubt
may be normal, there’s always hope in overcoming the impossible.
Not by the strength dwelling within us, but by the connections we
form with other people and with God.