There are times when I just disgust myself. I find some new warped thought in the midst of my mind and I am appalled that I could have possibly come up with it. I see some pattern of behavior in my life and I dig deep into my heart to find the root cause, and I find something moldy and rotten. Self-examination is truly a cringe worthy process.
It took a long philosophical conversation with a friend to bring me to one of those self-examinations a year ago this summer. My friend and I were discussing the idea that things other than alcohol and narcotics can be abused to help people try and numb the pain of their life. A few of the things we came up with were happy emotions, movies, music, TV shows, food and books. None of those things are wrong in and of themselves. The key word here is abused.
I do not think that any of us (no matter how sunny our life is) can deny that sometimes we just want to forget the pain we experience. We have, or will have, that time in our life when we really want to hit that imaginary fast-forward button and close our eyes so we don’t have to see or feel any of it. But, we know we can’t, so we endure as best we can. Along the painful way, however, we enjoy a few experiences of pleasure in the form of entertainment, and we find that during that time of pleasure our real lives seem to fade into the background. Again, nothing is wrong here…yet. But the moment we put on another movie or pick up another book for the sole purpose of forgetting, we have crossed the line into addiction, and we are engaging in “pleasure abuse.”
So there I was, talking with my friend, thinking that overall, I didn’t have too many problems. Then I found out that I was an addict. It’s actually a little embarrassing, me? Addicted to entertainment and pleasure? Yes. Swallow the pride—confess, repent and ask for the Father’s forgiveness.
I’d like to think that I am “over it,” but I’m not. I’d like to think that “fixing it” was as easy as 1, 2, 3, but it isn’t. Each day is a step in my continual sanctification. Every time I feel the temptation to try and drown my troubles in something other than Jesus I have to make a choice.
Here is the good news folks, while this kind of problem is still dangerous and wrong, the “substance” itself isn’t bad. It comes down to some examination of your heart in light of the Word, and a lot of prayer and discernment through the Holy Spirit as to what life choices you need to make.
So…do you have an addiction problem?