When I woke up this morning, the word addiction was on my mind. Probably because of the news reports of an increase in the use of opioid addiction and dependence. The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids are prescribed to treat pain, but as we know it can also cause the body to develop a dependence for them. Taking more than the prescribed amount or using illegal opioids may result in death.
I was baffled when I recently heard about the misinformation that has been widely disseminated claiming that ivermectin is beneficial in treating and preventing COVID-19. I have no idea as to whether this drug is addictive or not, but what I do know is that it is a deadly drug used to prevent or kill worms in horses and cows. What I also know is that the FDA has received multiple reports of patients who have required medical attention, including hospitalization, after a person self-medicates with ivermectin intended for livestock. Some have even died.
“Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
We know that Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. He/she/it is expected to tempt us into stealing, killing and destroying. Let us not fall into the trickery of Satan. Addictions are his way of controlling us, but what we must do is continue to rebuke him. May I remind us that all power is given to Jesus in earth and in heaven.
When we hear of family members, friends or anyone experiencing an addiction, it can be heart wrenching. Anytime a person is not in total control of self, it can lead to disaster or have very serious consequences. There are families that have been destroyed or devastated because of a loved one’s addiction to a substance or behavior.
Too often persons may be addicted and not realize they have allowed the adversary to take control of their minds and bodies. Let us not be in a position to condemn or be judgmental, rather offer some means of assistance. It requires more than telling a person, “We will pray for you!” Yes, we will pray, but action must follow the prayer.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions. Someone with an addiction will crave a substance or other behavioral habits. They will often ignore other areas of life to fulfill or support their desires.
If you, a family member, friend or anyone facing mental and/or substance use disorders, a free and confidential treatment referral and information may be received by calling a National Helpline number: 1-800-662-4357.
When we think about addictions, often our first thought is relative to substance abuse. However, addictions come in various forms of substance use or uncontrollable behaviors. We can be addicted to sweets, gambling, sex, work, food, smoking, social media, alcohol, medication, shopping, etc.
“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Isaiah 40:29
Even if we go through a twelve step program, may I remind all of us that our Lord should be at the top of our recovery process!
A dear friend of mine, who was an excellent elementary school teacher, one day came to the realization that he was an alcoholic. He had shown no signs of being addicted or troubled by anything or anyone. One day he came to school and confessed to me that he was an alcoholic and he did not realize it. Every day after getting home from teaching children, he would take a strong drink. One day he arrived home and he did not have any alcoholic beverages to drink and he almost went crazy because the urge was so great. He later got help and became sober and has remained that way for more than 50 years.
One thing I do know about being addicted to anything is this. The one who is addicted must ask and be willing to receive help. Why not place your petition before God first? I admonish anyone who has an addiction to get help. As much as it troubles us, a person of age must make their own decisions. It hurts when we know persons need help, but we cannot force it on them.
A neighbor of ours had a gambling problem that caused him to get into debt so deep that he committed suicide. Again, the impact of an addiction can become an overwhelming burden on an individual, but may also become mortifying for a family. Again, it is the trick of the devil.
I close with this scripture and thought, “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
Not a sermon, just my thoughts!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor