What Does An Addict Look Like?

We hold a lot of images in our minds of what an addict looks like or how a person becomes an addict. But addiction isn’t only a condition of the down-and-out, the people who couldn’t cope with life or those who didn’t have any spiritual foundation. Addicts can be regular, “normal” people, even successful people who are respected in our communities and churches. Addiction is subtle and sly, and often the more respected and financially stable the individual is, the easier it is to hide.

Addiction Defies Our Prejudices And Assumptions

We all have our prejudices about addiction, but they don’t serve us well because they mean we often form untrue assumptions about who can or cannot be an addict. When we assume that some type of person or group of people could never struggle with the disease of addiction, it means they may not get the help they badly need. People may be conditioned to believe they could never need it.

Sunset Beach - What Does An Addict Look Like - Christian Drug Rehab

Others assume that Christianity and addiction could never mix and that somehow Christians are immune to the temptation of vices and addictions. However, this perspective over-exalts Christians who are, in fact, very regular people. It neglects the fact that Christians need help with addiction issues just as much as non-Christians.

Addiction can develop in unexpected places and when people least expect it. The reasons aren’t always clear. For some people, the addictive tendencies were present, but the individual was able to keep the temptation at bay. Then traumatic or unexpected life events pushed them to a breaking point, and suddenly addiction became the possibility it never had been.

It could be that the individual finds solace in alcohol after the death of a child or a divorce. Maybe retirement or the loss of a job leads to a boredom and desperation that finds an outlet in porn use. Or perhaps a Christian had back surgery and is now addicted to prescription drugs. Any number of circumstances can turn a relatively normal life into an existence that lives for an addiction.

A Truer Picture Of Addiction

The most helpful thing we can do for addicts, and for addiction in general, is to let go of the prejudices we have about addiction: that addicts are bad people, morally reprobate, poor or lazy. We can recognize that addiction is an illness and that it can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, race, and religion, level of education or profession. It can visit people at any point in life. It is neither a sign of weakness nor a marker of criminality.

The Bible is clear that we are all, in a way, addicts because we all hold idols in our hearts. For some, the idols will be in the form of an addiction and the effects will be visible. For others, the desires of their hearts will be subtle, socially acceptable and hidden from view. That doesn’t make them better or holier people, just less conspicuous.

Christian addiction treatment recognizes these Biblical truths: that all people are sinners, and for some, sin will manifest in addiction. It also recognizes that God’s power is greater than addiction and that in Christ’s death and resurrection we have the hope of forgiveness and healing. We are saved from sin and addiction by His grace and power and we stand before Him in humility knowing that any good thing we have is from His hand. While it may be bad news that any person can be an addict, the good news is that we all have the same opportunity to find salvation and know recovery.

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