Following The New Testament Direction on Addiction
According to the Open Society Foundations, around 23.5 US citizens currently struggle with some sort of substance abuse and require treatment. This may be the case, especially if you are high up at a company and need assistance from executive alcohol treatment centers for your struggles with alcoholism. What is concerning is that only one in 10, around 2.6 million, that actually receive treatment. The biggest barrier for more than 20 million US citizens that need addiction assistance is inadequate insurance, having no insurance whatsoever, and the lack of public dollars going to tackle this problem.
On this Ash Wednesday, we may decide to look to the New Testament as to how to best tackle this issue. The second part of the Bible has much to say about the importance of eliminating addiction and not having to send more to treatment options such as executive alcohol treatment centers. Perhaps, one of the first warnings from the New Testament comes from Paul. He warns in his first letter to the Corinthians about how important the company we keep can be.
“Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character,’” 1 Corinthians 15:33 said. This can be very much important when it relates to addiction. For many, addiction can start from peer pressure. It could lead someone to feel either bullied or left out, should they choose not to do drugs or alcohol. It might cause them a good deal of stress that may not make them feel as if they belong. It can be a major concern for teens that are just beginning their adult lives. We can look to the book of James as Jesus’ brother gives us further guidance on how to avoid troubling situations like this one.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God,” James 4:7 stated. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The devil in the situation of addiction is, of course, drugs or alcohol. Either one can cause a great deal of strife in your life and many different consequences that might come from them. Making the choice to avoid surrounding yourself with people you know you probably should not spend time around could be one of the first steps toward submitting yourself to God. Centering your life on God and the sacrifice of his son, Jesus, for all humanity may be the strongest path to avoiding those who could draw you down a direction in your life you may not wish to go down. Yet, Paul reminds us that God gave us the choice to make our own decisions and that we have to exercise our best judgment.
“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial,” 1 Corinthians 6:12 stated. “’I have the right to do anything’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” In this, Paul is warning about the decisions we make having consequences. Our decisions to do some things might not ultimately be beneficial to us in the long run. Such things as substance dependence and addiction can lead to repercussions on one’s life that could be best avoided by deciding to choose other avenues in life. It’s also true, though, that if you should make a mistake, it does not define the rest of your life, should you decide to return back to God at a later point.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope,” Romans 5:3-5 stated. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” For those struggling with addiction, the essence of such a struggle can create perseverance.
If we are working to stop a negative vice or situation in our lives, it may be important to remember the idea of hope. Recognizing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel could be, in essence, just one of the things, which motivates you to put an end to the addiction, which has been causing you a great deal of pain. As you move forward through this difficult experience that the temptation of the devil led you to, looking to the Lord and the strength he can provide may elevate beyond sobriety and into a world of sober freedom for the rest of your days.
About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.