This morning, as I was driving to work, the topic of addiction came to my mind. I’m not sure what brought it specifically up in my thoughts, but I would imagine it’s because it’s played a major role in my life.
You see, I knew how to draw lines of cocaine by the age of five.
I was born into a long lineage of alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide.
I attempted to kill myself the first time by age eight.
I have attended so many funerals related to addiction.
I have a family who has suffered through addiction, and I have friends suffering through it still.
I’ve seen too many people lose that battle.
I married an addict.
I myself was an addict.
No one can seem to wrap their head around the idea when I share that my five-foot-four, one-hundred-and-ten-pound self use to easily drink up to eighteen beers a night. Eighteen. No one believes me. I guess I don’t look like an alcoholic.
And that’s what brought my thoughts around to a special truth this morning. It’s something God has let me in on over time. It’s a comment that flies in the face of everything addicts are told, but it’s something I think they need to hear the most.
It’s what God would say to the person who is currently or has in the past suffered with addiction. To you, God would say this.
You are not an addict.
Stop the presses! Crazy, I know. But this is core truth. This is what carries me each day.
I am not an addict.
My husband? He is not an addict.
AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) would shudder at the phrase. And I’ve even said myself, “Once an addict, always an addict.” But, y’all, that’s just not true.
I am a child of God.
You are a child of God.
Does that mean I’m gonna pick up a case of Miller Light on the way home from work? No. I know that my tendencies to overindulge in alcohol are still present. I know my flesh and worldly self would like nothing more than to unwind after a hard day with some booze.
A nice buzz would feel great. So I won’t stop for beer on the way home. But I am not an addict. Addiction is something I have dealt with, it’s something God has healed me from, and it’s something that I could fall back into under the right circumstances if I allowed it access.
But I am not an addict. Addiction is an affliction I suffered. It’s a hereditary trait that runs in my family. It’s a cruel habit I tried to break for years that caused broken relationships and could have killed me. I’ve seen it do even worse to people I love. I’ve had my own heart shattered to pieces at the hand of addiction in the life of those I hold dear.
But I am not an addict.
I am a daughter of the Most High God.
You are not an addict. You might be suffering under the stronghold of addiction. And, oh, my goodness, that grip is an iron one. I know. You might feel you can never overcome, and on your own, I believe that’s true. But we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13).
He can do more than we can fathom or imagine (Eph. 3:20).
We are more than conquerors through Him because He loves us (Rom. 8:37).
The past is gone! We’ve been made new (2 Cor. 5:17)!
We are sons and daughters of God!! Here are 20 verses that say it’s so.
And your (my) adoption as a child of God is the only title that matters.
I work as a nurse, but I’m a child of God. Nursing doesn’t define me.
I am married, but I’m a child of God. Being a wife doesn’t define me.
I have three lovely daughters, but I myself am the daughter of the King! Being a mother doesn’t define me.
Being a child of God, being one with Jesus Christ who died for me, being one with the Father. That is what defines me.
I am not an addict. I am so much more, through Christ. I am free. Chains are broken. Addictions are thrown out. Familial curses are stopped in their tracks. Diagnoses don’t even stand a chance. I know, this flies in the face of everything we are told.
Is addiction a choice, or is it a disease? It doesn’t matter. The fact that addiction doesn’t rule you—that’s what matters. It may for a time. It might still have a grasp. But it doesn’t define you. You are more than addiction. You are a child of God.
If you have a family member who is under addiction, please don’t treat them like an addict. I mean, if your son is addicted to heroin, he doesn’t suddenly become “not” your son. He’s not an addict. He’s your son who has a problem with addiction. Don’t affirm his worth based on his habit. Affirm his worth based on your love for him as a son.
If you love someone battling addiction, you may have to step back, place boundaries, protect your heart, but don’t see them just as an addict. They are a child of God. He holds them in His hand. And though their free will to decide may cause them harm, He is always working toward their good. He loves them. So you love them, too.
Don’t let your past addiction define you. You have been made new.
Don’t let your current addiction define you. He is making all things new. Hold on, press in, cry out to the Father. You are a child of God. So call Dad to bail you out.
When the world seems to have given up on you, He has not.
When you have given up on yourself, He has not.
When you have given up on your loved one, He has not.
You are not an addict. Through Christ, because of Christ, you are more.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on briegowen.com
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