Thursday, April 26, 2007


Gerald May, M.D. wrote a thin, but deep book published in the late 1980's titled, Addiction and Grace. The focus of the text is primarily chemical addiction, and the experience of grace that one can encounter in the recovery process, but Dr. May is also very clear that addiction is about more than substances. Addiction involves drugs and alcohol, yes, but all individuals demonstrate addictive thought and behavior.

As human beings, we discover compulsive stratagies that alleviate the emptiness we know. Our compulsive need for the consumption of new goods and services is a fine example. There is that little fleeting high that is experienced with the purchase of a shiny new widget. Many compulsively seek to be liked, and avoid situations where they might feel conflict or rejection. Many seek fulfillment in their own competency. Some seek fulfillment through their own autonomy. I could go on, but you fill in the blank.

The point is that we allow ourselves to inflate the importance of our coping behaviors to the point that those behaviors consume us. At that point, we seek solace and peace artificially. We seek solutions in temporary means that close us to real and sustainable answers.

The pain and uncertainty of the human condition are real and ongoing. No amount of anesthesia of any type will change that reality. The only real hope resides in a spiritual conversion. The only real hope is the recognition that I am bowing down to an idol. Prestige, power, strength, certainty and material will not fill the hole that is at the center of existence. Fashioned steel, gold or green paper will not satisfy our thirst.

The life of Jesus is the example of placing ones ultimate hope and faith in God, and exercising the same in relationships with one another. Jesus claims that our worth comes from being beloved of God, and that is enough. Jesus is willing to stake all on his belief and trust in the Love of God. He bows to no idol.

What idol must be toppled in our lives that we might live? What addiction to falsehood has made me a slave? What must I put down that my hands and heart might have room enough to receive.

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