The Sadness of Addiction

It is a real sadness. I’ve known many addicts over the years. Alcohol, drugs, relationships, the form addiction takes varies. The outcome almost never does. It is a sad state. Sadder still is the reality of sin behind addiction. Many consider certain addictions, such as alcoholism, to be a disease. I’ll stop here and say this: Everything in this post is MY opinion, and it’s based entirely on my own experience. Folks who think differently are welcome to do so. My intention here is not to argue or debate but rather to express a view that I think to often goes unspoken. And so, my opinion …

Addiction is a mental illness. A person does a thing, an action, that has at first a pleasant consequence. And so, in order to subdue a pain that exists in the individual’s life, they begin to practice the pleasant act to excess. At this point it becomes a habit. A habit is hard to break but, given human resilience, the person can, if motivated, break a habit. But addiction goes further. The habit goes unbroken and developes further. It literally becomes an indispensible operating mode. The person is not able to function without it. Addiction can NOT be broken by the person the way a habit can. It takes a power greater than the person to break an addiction. All of this taken into consideration an addiction is a mental illness that’s brought on by the individual themselves. The physical manifestations of addiction, considered by so many as evidence of the disease, always come AFTER the action indulged in and NEVER before. If it came before then something like alcoholism could be diagnosed prior to the fact and so avoided. (Just a note here. I’m not picking on alcoholics. I’m using alcoholism as an example because I think it’s the best known form of addiction, and that’s all.) The addiction, or mental illness, being brought on by the individual (granted, most addicts get lots of help, but lots of help doesn’t negate free will) there is moral responsibility. Almost everyone considers the alcoholic or drug addict to be morally responsible. No one that I am aware of considers the diabetic or cancer patient to be morally responsible for their state.

It’s precisely because a person who’s addicted needs a power greater than themselves to overcome the addiction that groups like A.A., centering on God as they do, have such a good success rate. And A.A., along with N.A. and a host of other 12 step recovery groups, call for the moral responsibility I mentioned above in their 4th., 5th., 6th., 7th., 8th., and 9th. steps. No one asks the person in need of a kidney transplant to take these steps.

OK. Why all of the above? Two reasons:

#1: To express what I consider to be an avoided truth. That the addict IS morally responsible. Consider … If alcoholism, as an example, is a disease and not a moral issue then why all those steps I mentioned above? Also consider … If it’s a disease its the only one I’m aware of that is sold over the counter and requires an I.D. It IS a moral question.

#2: I’m all for 12 step recovery groups. They are a focus on a problem that needs a focus. But they are often taken to far. They were, each and every one of them, meant to be a help in one given area. They are good when they keep that focus. Like A.A. not being allied with any sect, denomination, institution, organization and etc. The focus must remain on the organizations primary purpose … To help the alcoholic recover and then carry that message. Period. And I DO mean period. 12 step recovery programs were NEVER meant to be thought of as a complete spirituality and that’s because they’re NOT. They’re meant to be the means for recovery from addiction and that’s all.

At the top of this page is a “disclaimer.” I specialize in Roman Catholic eclectic. This topic is Roman Catholic because no system, regardless how good and fine, can replace Christ and the sacraments of His Church. Addiction gives to a created thing a power that belongs only to God. It is therefore a mortal sin. (I understand reduced culpability, I’m not going to deal with that here. It’s beyond my capability to do so and I have no business trying. But all of the above? I have a vested interest in this topic.) Only the One, Holy, Roman Catholic Church can boast (and this boast is in Christ) of a truly complete spirituality. I have strong opinions in this regard and I decided to vent them.

Published in: on June 26, 2011 at 8:21 am  Comments Off on The Sadness of Addiction