Mark Shaw
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Is “Addiction” Rooted in a Disease, Demon, or Decision?

February 27, 2012

Mark Shaw

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Mark Shaw

Is “Addiction” Rooted in a Disease, Demon, or Decision

With so much recent attention on addiction due to the death of Whitney Houston on February 11, 2012, one thing is clear: the world’s message regarding addiction issues opposes biblical truth.

Disease

The world proclaims the theory that addiction and alcoholism are diseases as total truth. Bill O’Reilly recently said on one of his shows that “conventional wisdom treats addiction as a disease,” but to his credit, he had two “experts” debating the disease versus personal decision issue on “The O’Reilly Factor” on February 14, 2012.

The disease concept was popularized by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the two men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. They likened alcoholism to a disease after observing a trend of common “symptoms” for those who abused alcohol.

Today, it seems the entire world accepts the notion of addiction as a disease without question or thought. Jane Velez-Mitchell, a CNN reporter who is often vocal about her own struggles with addiction, uses personification regarding the disease of addiction, often referring to addiction as a living enemy who “attacks a person” from outside and overtakes them. She called it a “disease of amnesia” in reference to those who often forget what they were like when using or first abusing the drug of choice, thus causing the return to it.

This is the nature of this disease she describes. “Addiction is the only disease that presents itself as the solution,” she stated, as though it is alive like some animal or person waiting to present itself to unsuspecting victims, who don’t know they are about to be overtaken. Those who “suffer” with this dreaded disease are to be pitied therefore as victims in Velez-Mitchell’s view, because some people have the disease while others do not.

So commonly accepted as truth, is this theory of addiction as disease true? As believers, we know that friendship with the world is enmity with the Lord (James 4:4) and we are warned not to adopt ideas that do not line up with Christ in Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Therefore, our standard must be God’s Word and not our own thoughts even though “conventional wisdom” might say otherwise.

In His Word, God never calls this problem “alcoholism” or “addiction.” Instead, He calls it “drunkenness” and/or “idolatry” because to be drunk with wine is sin that will lead to destruction according to Ephesians 5:18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”

Debauchery means an “utterly ruined life” which is what our loving God warns us about as He speaks the truth in love to us so that we might not be enslaved by our own fleshly desires to be drunk with wine (Gal. 5:16-21). God holds us responsible for our decision to choose to sin and calls us to recognize the power of this problem to overwhelm, dominate, and ruin our lives. The solution is learning to live in a close relationship with Christ yielding a Spirit-controlled life rather than a pleasure-driven, escape-seeking, self-serving lifestyle of drug abuse, alcohol overuse, or utilizing any other pleasure to excess (Eph. 4:17-24).

Demon

Interestingly, on the other end of the spectrum, some Christians and even secularists think of addiction as purely a demonic problem. When Josh Hamilton, an All-star caliber baseball player who professes faith in Christ, recently “relapsed” by drinking alcohol in a Dallas-area bar, one reporter stated:  “Those are some pretty strong demons he’s fighting and he’ll likely be very upfront for the strength and support he’s seeking as he continues to battle them.”[1]

While closer to the truth, viewing addiction purely as a spiritual problem that requires a daily battle against demonic forces has the same problematic result of the diseasing theory: a “victim mentality.” Both of these errors (diseasing and demonizing addiction) place the person in the category of somehow not being responsible for what has resulted in their lives. God holds everyone responsible for willfully choosing to take their pleasure or drug of choice in excess.

Decision

Biblically, addiction is a spiritual problem, but the problem must first be re-labeled as sin in order for the Bible to make sense and for the real remedy to be available. Blaming a theoretical disease or a demon for this idolatrous problem of the heart will fail to bring any confession of sin and repentance and renders the Bible useless in the so-called victim’s eyes. Blaming something other than self also points people away from Christ.

Why? Nowhere in the Word of God is there any mention of alcoholism! Blaming a disease or a demon not only removes responsibility but also hinders the solution from ever being talked about. If there is no sin, then there is no need for Christ who died to pay the penalty and punishment of that sin. Christ is the solution to their sin choice problem and His Spirit and Word are just two of the provisions God has given for them to be transformed. Calling sin ‘sin’ is calling the sinner to a decision to obey or disobey Christ.

Language is vital. Without a proper diagnosis of the problem in biblical language, there seems to be no real solution. The world calls this sin a “progressive, chronic, and fatal disease” for which there is no hope of overcoming since one must learn to cope with the disease by attending self-help meetings in a hopelessly perpetual state of being commonly called “recovery.” Today is all that is promised for the Christian, but we must serve Him all the more strongly. A real thriving relationship with Jesus is unique and personal. You are hopeless without Christ Jesus, but you are hope-filled with Him as your eternal hope. You must struggle against temptations to sin daily, but you are promised strength for the battle in Christ alone (Phil. 2:13).

Conclusion

There are some well-meaning but faulty thinking Christians and secularists who mislabel this problem either as (1) purely a physical disease or (2) purely a demonic spiritual malady requiring deliverance and a daily spiritual battle of rituals to keep the demons away. Instead of both of those extremes, the Bible quite simply declares sins of an addictive nature to be spiritual problems that enslave, dominate, and devastate those who choose to give in to their flesh by feeding idolatrous desires. Yes, even believers must learn to crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:24) and ask God to replace those desires with His Spirit and new desires to please Him alone (2 Cor. 5:9). Believers cannot continue to walk in the futility of their minds but must be renewed in the spirit of their minds by the power of Christ (Eph. 4:17, 23; Rom. 12:2).

Join the Conversation

How would you compare and contrast your biblical perspective on addiction to the model presented here?

Why is our language important in biblical counseling? Do you start with Scripture when thinking through issues like addiction in biblical counseling or do you start with conventional, cultural, and so-called worldly “wisdom” and ideas?


[1] Source: Yahoo Sports News.


39 thoughts on “Is “Addiction” Rooted in a Disease, Demon, or Decision?

  1. This article is so true. The “disease” concept not only removes the choice of the first use but gives the person a excuse to continue on in it!!! The AA program teaches that relapse is a part of recovery, but who is to say that person will make it back from the relapse? Viewing addiction from a Biblical perspective gave me a way to really understand WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME. Thank you Dr. Mark for helping me to identify my problem as it truly was idolitry in my life.

  2. You have great insight Mark.  Sometimes I think you are a  lone voice crying out in the wilderness.  As long as people believe and accept the lie that they are “victims” of a disease or personal “demons”, they will never find freedom from their “addictions”.  As Paul wrote to Timothy, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty, for people will be lovers of self . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 

  3. Mark, your post is excellent and very accurate! I think you will be in Sarasota in a few weeks, yes? If so, my husband and I would like to meet up with you for lunch or something. I am speaking at the women’s pre-conference

  4. Excellent and biblical summary, Mark. Thanks for being a biblical counselor who has worked compassionately and carefully with people struggling with addictions.

  5. Dear MArk,

    I agree with what you said, but when it comes to drugs and alcohol, you do have a stronger power to deal with, since you are dealing with chemical dependency, and also you are opening yourself to demonmic powers.

    I agree it is not a disease and that we must take a decision of stopping. But today at churches some just think that you can give them a bible and ask them to go to church and all their problems should be solved, and when they cannot perform they say the person does not want recovery.

    People need extra help when dealing with these kinds of sin. Since they control your mind and they have surrendered their lives to chemicals and demons.

    Decisions should be to go to rehab or moving away to a different enviroment where they can let the chemical go away from their bodies and bible start making effect on their souls…

    Bible is sufficient, but as churches we need to give the extra hand and look for those who are in slavering sins. Chruches prefer to condem rather than spending time. relationships, with addicts and Christ. Aren’t we all in the same position?

    God bless

    E. Loewenthal

     

  6. I believe this is far too simplistic.  The issue of sin is never PURELY disease, demon or decision.  The Hebrew mindset did not separate the body, mind and spirit.  They saw the human as integrated. 
    If you say that drunkenness is purely “decision” (in the mind) you are saying that a person should have the ability to drink reasonably.  Alcohol is a chemical and has chemical components.  It will have different affects on different persons just like caffeine or various RX.  If a person has issues with alcohol in their physical being, they need to give it up NOT try to get spiritual enough to handle it.  That, for them, IS being spiritual. 
    If you say that the demons don’t have ANYTHING to do with our temptation to sin, then you don’t understand reality.  The Bible talks a lot about spiritual warfare. 
    What about generational sin?  We do not come as a blank slate.  We come with a pre-disposition to sin AND we come with a pre-disposition to sin in certain ways.  It is our task, as Christians, to find those ways and SLAY them.  The bible talks a LOT about sin in the FLESH (physical body).  That means, if something causes you to sin, you chop it off.  This means that “things” can cause you to sin.  And when you discover your own personal temptations, you CHOP IT OFF.  You don’t mess around and say “well, alcohol is not wrong therefore I should be spiritual enough to be able to control it.” 
    This kind of article is NOT helpful to those who struggle.  I agree that those who struggle with alcohol are struggling with SIN.  But without a balance of understanding where those temptations come from (flesh, demons or desire), it leaves a person not knowing how to fight those temptations. 
    Your article is a response to the gross over statement to the worlds understanding of alcoholic as victim.  But you have done a pendulum swing and missed the mark. 

  7. I like that analogy, Bro, because it puts the responsibility upon the person for their own lusts and desires as does James 1:13-15! 

  8. Hi, Eliser,

    I agree with your comment that “spending time, relationships with addicts” is required for transformation. That is key so I hope you know that I agree that you don’t just hand a Bible to someone and expect them to overcome this problem on their own. I believe in the church community and recognize that this is a powerful, life-dominating sin issue requiring much time, energy, and willingness to relationally disciple the person.

    Let me say this: any new believer needs to be relationally discipled (or taught) in the Word of God. Sermons alone will not help new believers as much as both sermons and small groups and personal disciple-making in a one to one, counseling modality. I believe in all 3 of those for anyone, not just “addicts.”

    The Bible has much to say about “addiction”. People who read my book, The Heart of Addiction, often say to me, “I had no idea the Bible said so much about addiction.” To which I respond, “Brother, that’s because you were using the wrong labels to describe your problem. It’s a problem of the heart first and foremost.”

    Unlike your comment above, I cannot say, “The Bible is sufficient, but…” The Bible is sufficient. The Bible is sufficient and requires the power of the Holy Spirit to understand it AND to imiplement it (Phil. 2:12-13; James 1:22) for the glory of God.

    When Hilary Clinton said “it takes a village,” she was right for overcoming the problem of addiction. She just had the wrong village. The right village is the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we function as the body and begin helping those who struggle with addiction and not send them away to the world!

  9. Hi, Julie,

    Yes, I’ll be teaching a pre-conference in Sarasota for IABC and my only regret is that you’ll be teaching then, too, so I’ll miss your workshops!

    I would be honored and thrilled to meet with you guys while we are there. I will plan on it!

  10. You are so right! If we can correctly diagnose the problem, then we can correctly provide a solution. The solution is always Christ! Praising the Lord that you can identify your own idolatrous decisions and know that Christ alone has forgiven you for all of those – past, present, and future! He is an Awesome God!

  11. Having been a drug enslaved rebel for 7 years in the 70s I have compassion on those in their addictive condition. Before I was regenerated by God’s Spirit I went to the best secular “Addiction Experts” who subverted my responsibilty for my behavior, to my circumstances in life that were “causing” me to use drugs. They gave me medication to help me not be depressed, “their reason for my drug addiction”. I could never understand why they were pointing in that direction, rather than the direction of my personal responsibility and guilt for my behavior. I was clinically observed by Psychiatric students at University Hospitals in Cleveland Ohio. I always felt like they were labeling me and creating me to be a victim of life. It was not until I was in the County jail that a prison chaplain shared the Gospel of Christ forgiveness. This truth relieved me of the guilt of my sin choices. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 brought hope into my life. The hope of God’s mercy and grace brought life to my guilty hardened heart. My heart was sick as Proverbs 13:12 describes. God used the consequences of my sin to bring me to a place of humility as 1 Peter 5:5-7 describes. I then went to a good local church where God used His “body” to disciple me in the Word with accountability to “transformation” rather than “rehabilitation”. The living waters of the Spirit of God illuminated His Word to my “inner-man” as 2 Corinthians 4:16 speaks of. It has been 34 years of progressive sanctification from the “Idolatry Of Drugs”. We either serve The Creator or creation as Romans 1:25 explains. I am no longer a lifelong victimized “addict”, but am “washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God” 1 Corinthians 6:11. Living as a new creation in Christ, forgiven from my sin of self lust and pleasure of drug enslavement. I share this to encourage some who labor hard to be “counselors” who struggle to find fruit in their labors. Remember we can plant and water but it is God who produces the increase in the heart, 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. My prayer is we do not settle for “inferior approaches” to a sin problem. We need to be careful we do not settle for intigrated secular “vain philosophies” of this world as Colossians 2:8 discusses. Mark your book “The Heart Of Addiction” is the best book I have read to help enslaved addicts to biblical transformation that Romans 12:2 speaks of. Thanks for your commitment to biblical truth Mark.      

  12. Mark, this is Andy Wisner and I can never just put my two cents in like pastor Bigney so here’s my nickels worth.I found a very broad definition of disease,
    “a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ, part, structure, or system of the body resulting from the effect of genetic or developmental errors, infection, poisons, nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity, or unfavorable environmental factors; illness; sickness; ailment.”
    if we use this very broad definition been being drunk could be defined as being diseased through, “nutritional deficiency or imbalance, toxicity or whatever defines the chemical results of excessive alcohol in the system.  however we must never lose sight of the fact that it being diseased as result of personal choice.  Being a drunkard is not a disease it is a sin.  Again using the broad definition, being a drunkard is a sinful choice that becomes a habit of being diseased often.  I hope that makes at least a little bit of sense.

    Being drunk is a self inflicted diseased state that comes from sinful and fleshly rooted decision-making that is intended for selfish pleasure that may or may not be influenced by a demon.  your question is about the root of addiction and with A possible extremely rare exception it seems to be invariably rooted in bad and selfish decisions.

  13. Shari,

    This is Bob Kellemen. I assume that Dr. Shaw will respond, also, when he has time.

    I appreciate your perspective. And I know that Mark, with a deep and lengthy background in “addiction’s counseling,” has a very robust perspective on this. It is always difficult (impossible) to say everything in a 1,000-word blog post.

    And I’m sure that within the biblical counseling world there would be a variety of ways we would express this nuanced perspective. I hear Dr. Shaw pulling the pendulum from the extreme of “disease only.”

    Personally, from my study of Scripture and my work in this area, I would say it is more than “decision.” However, I would not necessarily use “disease,” “demon,” and “decisions” as my starting point. I think there are spiritual, social, mental, volitional, motivational, behavioral, emotional, physical, and life-situational factors that all must be considered. We must respond to all of these “factors” as “coram Deo” beings: face-to-face with God in Christ.

    That said, I think Mark’s point still stands: we are responsible for how we respond to all of these factors. We are not helpless in Christ. That, I believe, is Mark’s fundamental point.

    Thoughts?

    Bob

  14. What a blessing for a community of faith as well as a city to have someone like Mark Shaw pointing the way for people with real addictions.  His material is a guideline for living a victorious life in Christ as we face the everyday pitfalls of life!  Thank you Mark, for allowing God to use you and following that calling.

  15. As a person who was given over to drug addiction for many years and has found freedom in the Gospel I wholeheartedly agree with Mark.  Although there is certainly a physiological component to drug and alcohol addiction which must be addressed, the heart of the problem is spiritual.  Detoxification can usually be completed in 7-10 days.  Some of the affects of psychoactive substances on the central nervous system will take months to normalize but the greatest changes that needed to be made for me were spiritual.

    I remember that every time I reached for my drug of choice I would be faced with a decision “do I do this or don’t I?”  Yes – sometimes the physical cravings made the decision a quick one.  Other times after a period of abstinence there was a greater battle.  However every time I failed I remember making a decision.  The Holy Spirit was always active although I did my best to quench his voice.

    I guess maybe this is simplistic but the scripture gives us a command. “Do not be drunk with wine but be filled with the spirit.”  God doesn’t command us to do things that he has not given us the power to do.  We have a choice.

    As a health care professional my journey has taken me from the Disease (Medical) Model through the hybrid Medical/Spiritual model (12 step programs) to the truth. The truth is I am a sinner. I chose drugs because they served me well at first.  But like any Idol they turned on me and I found that I was serving them.  It was slavery but it was voluntary slavery. I chose to put myself there.  No one at any time forced me to use drugs. Only Christ can really break this type of bond.  I experienced true freedom when I climbed off the throne and yielded it to it’s proper owner.  Thanks Mark for helping others along this path to freedom. 

  16.  Andy,
    One simple thought I picked up from the definition you supplied is “a disordered or incorrectly functioning organ . . . from the effect of . . . poisons,(etc) . . .”  Certainly the abuse of alcohol and drugs “poison” the body.  But it is still a personal choice to poison our bodies.

  17. Bob,
    I like the clarity you bring to Shari’s comment.  The decision (or choice) begins with how I handle the stresses, disappointments, and problems we all face every day.  

  18. I appreciate all the ways in which the secular and some Christian experts approach alcoholism as a disease (and some, as demonic activity). Is alcoholism sin? If ‘no,’ then what is it? If it is sin, Jesus’ answer for it was simple … repent. Those who struggle need our prayers, support, patience, involvement, loads of compassion
    and accountability, but the message we convey should never offer an excuse for
    what Jesus calls sin.

    Is alcoholism any different from lust, hatred, gluttony, greed, gossip, etc.? It is all sin which we, in our flesh, can all be caught in. Funny though – we never label being caught in greed or hatred as a disease…no, we call it sin. So why are some sins, like alcohol or drug addiction labeled differently – as diseases?  Some may think that because a person is powerless to defeat his
    addiction to the bottle he is therefore a diseased victim. Really? So
    which sins is he or any of us empowered to deal with on our on?  We are
    all flesh –  none of us have the power on our own to defeat any sin. 

    The demon thing is baffling, but offers another convenient excuse for sin. James 1:14-15 suggests however, that man is capable of sinning without any help from demons.

    Thanks Mark for your willingness to call addiction what it really is….

  19. Dr. Mark is truly a man who lives for our Lord, is not afraid or ashamed to show it and his stance on addiction is  so true and so Biblical.  Thank you Father God for using Dr. Mark as a vessel for Your word.

  20. I have been exposed to “spirituality classes” as part of a Veteran’s Affairs Chaplaincy Training Program.  I will never forget the first time I entered a room filled with 45 “addicts” who were present for the purpose of “understanding the spiritual nature of their disease”.  I surveyed the room noticing two veterans, each holding two books…The Heart of Addiction and The Bible.  I stroked that fire with them (after class) and before my “learning experience” was over (after 8 weeks) there were 12 veteren’s with the same books.  And the books were being worn out.  And the men were not.  Their countenance spoke of a peace that passes understanding.  I am a man of few words…enough said.

  21. I believe that it doesn’t matter how you call it – disease, demon or decision. These three words will all sum up to the word PROBLEM. Spiritual classes can greatly help an addict overcome struggles and more so reform himself to be a better man. I have a friend who got so hooked to drugs, reformed himself by rehab and spiritual healing. Very interesting article Mark! Thanks for sharing.

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  23. Thank you for sharing your experience here.  I truly believe that if we are not ashamed of the gospel, God will use us in mighty ways like the men here in your story.  Great books along with the bible have lead to my pwn walk with the Lord and my own battle with addiction.  I recommend “Get out of the Pit by Beth Moore” for women or men as well. 

  24. thanks for you comment.  It encouraged me to continue to strive to seek the truth and not to excuse or accept labels which are placed on others who struggle with addiction/sin. 

  25. My prayer is for God to open the eyes of your heart to the wonder of His Glory. Treasure Him above the inferior idols of enslavement. Thanks for your response.

  26. If disease is used metaphorically, it is a fine description. If one wants to equate addiction with cancer, the disease model does not hold. One does not and cannot treat cancer by sitting in a room with bad coffee and talking about spiritual, dare I say theological, issues.
    I really believe likening addiction to sexual lust is the best analogy I know. One does not choose to be strongly tempted to lust after a beautiful woman. One cannot make the choice to never be tempted by physical beauty again. One, apart from God’s grace through the Holy Spirit, will not be successful in not falling to lust. That is usually the case at least. Nevertheless, we ARE responsible for lust, and guilty if we do lust. Similarly, I may be tempted by whisky and cigs. There may be times my body screams for the “relief” they provide. If I choose them instead of Christ, I am wrong. I’ve never fallen on my knees, cried out to Christ, and then gone and gotten drunk. I think people don’t like to use the word choice because people take it as demeaning the struggle. Avoiding relapse isn’t a choice like skipping dessert is a choice, but it is a choice like falling to lust is a choice. Those are my two cents anyways. I agree with that the disease model doesn’t cut it. I hope someone will right an article about 12 step groups. How should Christians think about secular 12 step groups? Are they a mission field, a compromise? I quit AA as I felt it was incompatible with Christianity. I am curious what all the Biblical counselors think about the issue.

  27. Hello..
    There are many people who are addicted to many things in their life such as rapid eating, smoking, watching television, using mobile to much, etc., it is very important that one should get rid of it on the right time.

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  29. my bold comment, anything that we DECIDE TO PUT(in our mouth) OR INTAKE,,,,,it is our decision, and it is NOT A DISEASE….people do not need AA meetings, but rather get into the word of God for biblical guidance to stop this craving. I believe that the person can go directly to God or someone that OVERCAME that choice….it is a choice….THE SAME WITH THE SO-CALLED MENTAL illness, it can be from generational curses, and they must repent for their own sins and the sins of their ancestors. There is no medicine for resentment, anger, bitterness, jealousy. PEOPLE NEED CHRIST ALONE FOR THESE ISSUES, this is not a physical sickness.

  30. Disease. A family one. Diabetics eat sugar. Cancer patients smoke. Drinkers/drug abusers drink and abuse drugs. I was interested in your article until the point of mentioning Bill O’Reilly…and you lost me. I believe God plays the major role in recovery. ~Signed a Lifelong Member of a Family of Addicts and Alcoholics

  31. Suffering from addiction to both drugs and alcohol, and believe me it is suffering, I speak with an inside view. I see the points made
    well in the above argument, however the author seems to make this problem a little too black and white. To be enslaved by any substance is usually at first a voluntary decision to indulge. However all bad decisions don’t infiltrate the soul such as substance abuse. Truly I now understand what Paul is teaching when he said “that which I hate, I do. It is no longer me but the sin which dwells in me.” The initial bad choice is rebellion against God, the following indwelling that occurs in so many of us is nothing short of demonic possession, which in turn requires Biblical solutions. I thank God that He has freely offered those solutions in His word. We must only believe.

  32. I can appreciate everyone’s input regarding addiction as sin Seriously struggling with addiction off and on for the past 25 years after growing up knowing the truth of God’s word, I was beat up by Christian family members and friends. I sincerely wanted deliverance, yet found myself returnIng to a particular substance when it didn’t make any sense. I lived in shame for years because I was “weak,” “selfish,” or “sinful” until through my studies I discovered it really was a disease.  I didnt run home to shoe my family. They were Right In their own minds and my evidence wouldn’t change their thinking. It was for me. God allowed me to understand so I can forgive myself. I had cried out for healing and deliverence so many times and when I didn’t get what others said they got, I thought I wasn’t good enough for God to heal. That is the danger of narrow-minded thinking. I don’t mean to be offensive in that srarement. I’ve walked that line myself and judged others in it. Today I see it differently. Reminds me of when the desciples asked Jesus who’s sin caused the blind man to be blind. Was it his or his parents. The question was rooted in the popular belief in their time that all physical defects were the result of their sin or when they were born the defect, the sIn of the parents. Jesus said “NEITHER.” It was so that God could be.glorified in the healing. It is easy to label others failures or defects as sIn when we don’t struggle with it. I was surprised at so many that professed a history of addiction  supported this article. I see it clearly as a disease to which those who suffer become powers to make that right choice to stop while they are in active use. I won’t take the time to explain why. Just say that the reward center in the brain becomes hijacked so to speak and the brain. Believes it has to use for survival.  The disease prevents the addict from making right choices.  The nature of it is progressive as it gets worse and worse over time. Nobody gets up in the morning and aays, “I think I will lose my job (lose kids, go to jail, etc) today. Yet faced with that truth, they use anyway. It’s insane. Think of Type 2 Diabetes. it is usually the result of sInful living (gluttony,  etc.), nevertheless,  it is still a disease. Addiction Is a disease of the brain that inhibits the addicts ability to make right choices. Sin may have I initiated the development,  but it is still a disease.    There are developments in research and technology in the field of technology that indicate that we could very likely find a cure in our lifetime. It really is genetic in nature just like cancer, diabetes, hypertension,  etc . are. I’m an addict today primarily because I was genetically predisposed and vulnar able to it. Not everyone that drinks is alcoholic. Same with other drug use. Like any other disease or life struggle, God can provide comfort or cure if I seek Him and surrender. The compulsion, obsession, and craving don’t go away when I surrender to Christ any more than Cancer woumd. As I learn to depend on Him day by day, my life changes. The disease doesnt. The last “instantly healed person I listened to each Sunday at a precious church share about how God instantly to it away leaving me to wonder why it did t happen  for Me, got a DWI the end of last year. God can and does heal like that,  but more likely he desires me to trust him daily by total surrender. I can’t and He xan. The message for every sInner. Not just addicts.  When I surrender, God empowers me through the Holy Spirit to change and stay  clean from mind /mood-altering substances.

  33. I see that the majority of people here have problems with drug addiction, but what about pornography. I was exposed to this At 9 years old. I’ve prayed, confessed, and every time I think I have beaten, I fall again. I just want to stop it. And I can’t. No matter how much I read the bible, confess, and do everything I can’t beat this. I’ve asked God to no avail. Please help.

  34. Pornography is similar to drug addiction in that it is false worship. Our hearts will either yield to the Creator or creation. Romans 1:25New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    “25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” It is a Worship Disorder.
    Addiction as a “Worship Disorder”According to clinical psychologist, Ed Welch, “The disease theory persists because there are no other readily available explanations…If Scripture doesn’t guide us, something else will… An addiction is a worship disorder. Instead of worshiping the divine King, addicts worship idols that temporarily satisfy physical desire.”[1] We have a worship choice every moment of every day. We will either serve ourselves=creation or God=walking in the Spirit. I was a severely drug enslaved person. When I asked Christ to forgive my sins He made me a new creation 2 Corinthians 5:17-21New American Standard Bible (NASB)17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [a]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come”. We have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us as we yield our hearts to His will. There is no pathology to a disease model for addiction. Every time you sense the lust in your heart you need to mortify it, Romans 8:13 and not let lust conceive.
    James 1:14–15 gives us the natural progression of unrestrained lust: “Each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/overcoming-lust.html#ixzz3estNv6DJ

  35. i agree with Shari. i dont believe that you yourself have ever struggled with an addiction which is why you can be so wielding with the sword of truth, they have written many books on addictions and although it is sin as we as Christians all know or are discovering there is a sanctifying process that we all go through and if you have never struggled you don’t know.one thing i know is it is generational and it is dysfunctional and at its core it is a way that we all at first learn to deal with real trauma in our lives .we were not loved or accepted from ones who were suppose to love us.whether its sex drugs alcohol or food, gambling or shopping or spending,they are all considered sin but still can be an addiction because you are being controlled by it.it is a selfish disease and in those moments of weakness we feel like we don’t have a choice but to medicate the pain.i believe i have been saved for 10 years but still struggle with the same sin.our temptations are real in a moment by moment fight.read chapter 7 of Romans if you need to understand how we will all struggle with sin even after we are Christians.ill say this mark shaw if you have struggled with addiction/sin and have victory over it fully without any other overlap of struggles with food or anger or some other outlet then Praise God and Amen to that! then i believe you should get down on your knees and ask God for forgiveness for not having the Love and compassion and mercy for others the way our Lord and Savior has.Jesus died for all our sins even the ones we continue to struggle with.Love you mark and i hope its OK to speak the truth.For Gods Glory Amen:)my name is Larry

  36. As a recently relapsed addict previously clean for over 13 years – I have to say thank you for this reply ! You are exactly correct. SIN itself is a disease and yet not one we are to be at the mercy of – and to say that drug addiction has nothing to do with demonic warfare is just silly. Point ism, this seems to be more about what to label it rather than how to resolve. be freed from it. Useless article that COULD very well lead someone seeking help in the wrong direction.

  37. I myself have struggled with addiction for many years and have also come to know Christ as my saviour ,redeemer and my personal freedom fighter against all things sinful,captive n harmful to myselg ,god and others.ive also been exposed to the philosophy and influence of the twelve step programme of narcotics anonymous…I began to see and feel while in attendance of na,that although people were drug free and living a clean and abstinent life,that they wernt exactly free.and the freedom they had,was essentially dependent upon the group as a whole and each other,so in fact take away the group and attendance and you were again in addiction etc…jesus gave me a total freedom in mind body and spirit,enabling me to be free of na dependence and to also have a freedom that wasn’t dependant of other people…this said,church can be a competitive an d sometimes uncaring environment when it comes to the world of addiction.and upon me relapsing ,after being nine years completely drug free,i experienced a total shun and ended up feeling so sinful and shameful.this was very hurtful.so although I agree that personel responsibility and an admission of sin/or transgression,is necessary in order to move onto freedom from addiction.that is only a small part..love acceptance and support from others is part of restoration,which I’m afraid I feel the church lacks when it comes to drug addiction and drug users…and I believe that people find more relative understanding within na etc rather than with the church…so how is this balanced…..I believe a gap and an opportunity is waiting to happen and fullfill a place within the body of Christ….so,please if you meet a person in church with addiction issues past ,present or both..please don’t give it the high moral stance…just be real and offer a loving hand of truth,most of the time your actually facing a very talented person who for whatever reason regardless of your opinions,have just yet to realize their potential…god bless the addicts…

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