RECONCILING ADDICTION AND FAITH
- July 25, 2018
Religion can play an important role in addiction recovery. Many of the 12 step programs reference some sort of higher power, and in believing in that higher power you can take some comfort in the idea of being watched over or being part of some greater plan. However, some people can struggle to reconcile their beliefs with their addiction. For example, if God exists and loves us all, why would he want me to face this struggle? If everything happens according to God’s plan, did I do something wrong for him to make me an addict? Am I being tested? Was I doomed from the start?
It’s a complicated topic, but Christians believe that God is all-knowing while still allowing his followers to make their own decisions and choices. For example, let’s say you’re fostering a child. You spend months raising him, you grow to love him, and you believe that you’ll be able to stay together as a family. Then one day you receive a phone call saying that the child’s grandmother has turned up out of the blue and wants to take custody. It’s heartbreaking, and it might be impossible to see how this is part of God’s plan when it’s so painful. You understand that it was his choice, that he knows all and sees your future, and that he only wants the best for you. Still, maybe he made a mistake? Maybe he turned away and you’re on your own for this one.
Then you decide, I’m the best parent for this child. He’s grown up knowing me, and this grandmother is a stranger, and she might allow the parent he was taken away from to see him and possibly cause him harm. So you consider taking the child and running, finding somewhere to hide where no one will try to take him away from you. You can make that choice all on your own, and God isn’t going to strike you down with lightning to stop you. Of course, you might end up in jail if you follow through with your plan (just like you might end up with many physical, emotional, and legal problems as a result of drug abuse). Then you might find out that there was another foster child lined up for you, and that child had no living relatives whatsoever and you would’ve been all but guaranteed to keep him. Unfortunately, because you didn’t trust in God’s decision, you’ve ruined his plan and the happiness he wanted for you.
This might sound like a ridiculous scenario, but the point is, you have to have faith. Don’t rail at God, asking why he gave you this addiction or why he wanted to ruin your life. The point of surrendering to a higher power is to say, “I’d rather be drinking right now than sitting in this therapy session, but I’m going to trust you to lead me to a better place without the alcohol.” Christianity says that we are all born with sin; it’s part of being human. So if you’re genetically predisposed to addiction, it’s not necessarily that you’re being punished or tested. You’re being given a choice – follow God’s will or don’t. Trust his decisions or make your own, knowing that you don’t have all the facts the way he does. It’s not easy, but we aren’t made to be perfect, and we aren’t all born with ingrained faith. It’s something you have to work for – something you have to choose – and that struggle is part of what makes you a stronger Christian.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.