Overcoming Addiction

Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” – Proverbs 23:29-34 NKJV.  

Zhang Rui is 30-years-old, and he is an alcoholic who lives in Bengbu, China. Up until six months ago, Zhang had a job as a truck driver, he had a wife and children, and he was gentle non-violent person. All of that changed after Zhang began drinking, because he became very violent and abusive. In a very short period of time he lost his job, his wife and children and found himself on the streets begging for money for another drink.  

Zhang, unlike many, has decided to do something about his alcoholism. He has chosen an unusual way of doing that, and one I wouldn’t recommend, but it may just work. Zhang is living at home now with his mother. Doesn’t sound too bad, but Zhang is chained up where he cannot leave his attic room. The locked 12 ft chain weighs 22lbs and is wrapped around his neck. He plans to stay locked up in the attic for at least six months, or until his desire to drink is gone, in the hope that this will solve his alcohol addiction. (Shanghaiist 12.10.15)  

The problem for Zhang, and for most with addictions is the tendency to relapse. From my observations of, and conversations with the addicted, it is clear that for some there may be several relapses before a sustained period of abstinence is obtained. 30-day treatment programs or even Zhang’s radical approach are effective for drying a person out, but not much else. The longer the addiction treatment program, the longer the abstinence that is usually obtained. Traditionally, the legal system has mandated aftercare programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Sometimes counseling sessions with an addiction counselor is also required. AA, NA, and Addiction counseling are all helpful tools, but they do not guarantee success.   

From my observations as a parole officer and as a pastor I do not know of any addicts who have successfully abstained from their addiction for years without there being a spiritual component. Sounds like there is not much hope for someone with an addiction, but there is hope. The very best way of all to overcome an addiction is not to develop one. However, that is of no help to anyone who has one. Here is what I would recommend to anyone that does have an addiction:  

1. Turn to God in repentance and ask for His help to overcome the addiction.  

2. Use the tools of treatment programs and aftercare which is just good common sense.  

3. Use the tools that God provides: Prayer, Bible, and Church. Immerse yourself in the resources of God. The closer you are to God, the less power the addiction will have over you (“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” – James 4:7-8 NKJV) 

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *