I was recently reminded of a conversation I had in 2007.
A friend’s dad was killing time and it came up that he had been sober from alcohol for 30 years. I congratulated him (because that is epic) and asked, “how long before you got over the desire for alcohol?”
The question seemed innocent to me. He looked at me with a strange expression on his face and responded,
“I am not over it. Every morning when I wake up I have to remind myself I will not drink. I say it every day. It is my first thought, ‘I will not drink today.’”
I will never forget that moment; in it all my ideas about addiction were shattered.
Addiction is everything we despise about ourselves, and yet exactly what we yearn for. In it we hope to control the world around us; but in submitting to it we lose what little control we have.
Whether it’s alcohol, porn, success, food, anger, or something else — everyone is addicted to something. You have something inside of you that is begging to take over. And from time to time it does.
Since my conversation I have been reminded constantly that addiction never goes away. Even when I have good days, weeks, months, or even years I can be assured my addictions are waiting patiently for the right time to spring up and attack me. Sometimes they win.
Most of the time they win.
And no matter how much you adjust your behavior, the addiction will never go away. It is part of who you are.
My friend’s father knows he is an alcoholic. He is an addict. And so are you.
And that’s where most people would leave it. But I can’t. There is more to the story than that.
This story includes God.
As much as a go-getting entrepreneur like me wants to take the credit for my victories over addiction, it is never me. The only hope I or anyone has is Jesus Christ.
Overcoming addiction requires so much more than changing behavior and staying away from certain things, it needs that piece deep down inside of us to be transformed into something new. And only God can do that.
This side of eternity you and I will struggle with our addictions. We will work our lives around trying to overcome them. But at the end of the day we only have one option: to wake up every morning and remind ourselves, “I will not do it today” And then put our hope in God to get us through.
How do you deal with addictions in your life? Let me know in the comments.