Battling our Addictions

We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5 NRSV

NOTE: I’m addressing another difficult but important matter in this month’s issue of Joyful News: namely addiction. As with my last article on depression, my intention is not to provide any quick and easy answers, as addiction is a very complex issue with no short and simple cures.


Before reading further, look at the picture. On first seeing it, my initial thought was, “How unexpected!” I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’ve been told that one reason deer get up on their hind legs is to fight or do battle. This occurs particularly in young deer before they’ve grown their antlers, which they use as offensive and defensive weapons. When faced with the need to fight for and defend their territory or family, young deer will get up on their hind legs to use their razor-sharp hoofs as weapons. Thus, this picture shows a perfect example of how God’s creation uses whatever means God has gifted them with to fight their necessary battles.

Addiction, no matter the cause, or whether mild, moderate, or major in scope, is an intense fight . . . a fierce battle that many people must wage every day of their lives. If you are one of them, I want to encourage you to keep on fighting and never give up hope! Though there may be many times when the fight seems too overwhelming, when the battle seems all but lost, keep on fighting with all the means God has given you. Because, as long as you keep fighting and you never lose hope, the ultimate victory over your addiction is possible.

Everyone, me included, suffers from some kind and severity of addiction at one time or another. Many of us are blessed that our addictions are minor and infrequent in nature and that we can fight them with our own strength. There are some, however, whose addictions have become too strong and too frequent to fight on their own power. Regardless, God our Creator, knows that fighting addictions is an unfortunate reality most of us face in this fallen world in which we live. And God gifts each of us with the means we need to battle all our addictions.

The means God gifts us with to do battle against our addictions include wisdom, humility, and faith to know when it’s time to seek professional help, to overcome our prideful thoughts that fool us into believing we can overcome our addictions on our own, and to rely on our strong faith to see us through our fiercest battles. To emphasize, just like the deer in the picture who don’t yet have their antlers but still have a means of doing battle using their hoofs, you may lack the physical, mental, and emotional strength you need to battle your addictions, but still have important God- gifted means to fight with your wisdom, humility, and faith. So, don’t neglect to use them, because your fight with addiction literally is a matter of life and death!

Also, while you’re in the heat of your battle with addiction, recall the verse from Romans above and allow it to bring you a measure of strength and assurance. With your God-given wisdom, know that your suffering will produce endurance, your endurance will produce character and your character will produce hope. And know that your hope will not disappoint you, because God’s love has been poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit that has been given to you as a means for you to fight all your battles . . . and win!

Finally, I leave you with these words of encouragement and hope from a song:

“Won My War”
10,000 Fathers & Taylor Breen:

You keep taking my hand
But I’m weak and stumble again
You speak kindness in every command

Even though my strength may fail me, victory is still secure
I choose to trust you completely
I may lose my battle, You’ve won my war

Death may storm the gates but You are my escape
In my every circumstance
You still fight for me and bind my enemies
You complete what You begin

Holy, shielded in strength
Boldly we call on Your name
Only You have the power to save

Even though my strength may fail me, victory is still secure
I choose to trust You completely
I may lose my battle, You’ve won my war
I may lose my battle, You’ve won my war.