While I currently do not have any addictions I have struggled in the past with prescription anti-anxiety drugs. I used to take Clonapin once a day. It was only .5 to 1 mg daily but it was enough to get me addicted. When I tried to go off it I wanted to give up. I suffered from extreme and intense depression, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. Under normal circumstances, I would never entertain the idea of suicide. I remember riding the bus home from work and having a crying breakdown in front of a whole bunch of people. It was very unusual and when I got home I looked up withdrawal symptoms for that drug and apparently what I went through was not uncommon. The first day when I went off Clonapin I didn’t notice any difference but the second day, whew, there was a huge withdrawal. Needless to say, since I couldn’t handle the withdrawal symptoms, I quickly went back to using the drug on the third day.
About a year ago, I realized that Clonapin was causing some pretty major side effects. I knew I couldn’t get off it on my own. I prayed that God would take away the addiction and help me get off the drug. He did. I made it past the third day of going without it and after that I never took it again. It was amazing because I had no withdrawal symptoms at all. I asked and God delivered because I couldn’t have done it on my own.
Addiction is a form of bondage that the ego uses in order to control a person. It is a form of idolatry because it takes the place of God in our lives. Anything that controls your behavior ultimately can become an idol to you. Addictions range from drugs, to alcohol, to pornography, gambling, smoking, TV watching, Internet usage, shopping, excessive eating, gossiping, etc. In fact there are about as many addictions as there are vices. The bible says in Hosea 4:11 that, “harlotry, wine and new wine enslave the heart.” New wine is juice. The bible is talking about sugar addiction.
Jesus came to set us free from bondage. In Isaiah 42:6-8 it says:
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captive from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.”
God doesn’t want us to be enslaved by anything. Addiction can control a person’s resources – their time, money, mind and physical body. What you give your time to is what you choose to concentrate your energies on. Even work can become an addiction. Under normal circumstances and in their right mind, no one would allow themselves to be enslaved by anything. The ego is a liar but Jesus has not given us a spirit of fear, but one that cries out for our Father and one that is of a sound mind. The ego is very fearful. It says,”if I don’t get my fix, I will go crazy.” The ego, our shadow side, or the evil one, is controlling, manipulative and tricky.
Jesus overcame the world and so can we. As a matter of fact, Christians are all destined to overcome the world and all of its’ ugly incarnations. The only thing we should be slaves to is righteousness. Romans 6:6 says, “for we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin,” (NIV). “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline,” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). Avoid anything that has the power to control you. God wants to be first in our lives, thoughts and hearts. Only by having the Holy Spirit can we engage in behaviors that please God. Proverbs 16:3 says to “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans,” (NIV). To me this means that once we are committed to serving God He will help us get rid of our addictions and in the end conquer our own ego and the powers of darkness. Jesus says that all we have to do is ask and it will be given to us (Matthew 7:7).