Addiction is a Worship Disorder

If addiction is ultimately a worship disorder, as Dr. Ed Welch proposes in his book, Addictions: Banquet in the Grave, then recovery needs to be deeper than abstinence, and wider than sobriety. What drives addictions Dr. Welch proposes can be found in every human heart – self-will. We all have our own versions of golden calves. We all flirt with stuff that can bite us, inflicting harm and heartache: anger, sex, winning, weight, pain-killers, chocolate, pornography, and shopping to name a few.

Addicts believe our drug of choice can provide something nothing else in this world can provide – relief. But, somewhere along the line, we all crossed a line and needed the relief more than anything else – it was better than family and friends, an education, a reputation, a job – even life itself.   It’s a crazy awful descent to behold.

Booze gave me courage, courage to do stuff I knew was not smart. It comforted me that what I was doing was not all that bad, and I looked for people who liked their drinks, too and confirmed my convictions. Eventually, though, my booze saturated world clashed with theirs, and we parted company.

Alone Again, Naturally became my signature sing along song – And Oh! I wanted a different song . . . but not enough to actually stop drinking. Somewhere along the way, though I got sick enough to be open to quitting.

I had spent 40 days white knuckling through a Lenten season, trying to keep up with a Bible study, and listening over and over to a tape of classic hymns – Hymns Triumphant , and A Chorus Line. The 4th step Al-Anon inventory was a steady beat in the background, and I met two older women who were in recovery and were fun, sober and Christians.

So was the God who I wasn’t wholly convinced was there, answering my unspoken question: Am I an alcoholic?

I believe He gave me a choice on Easter 1981 about who or what I was going to worship, when after having gotten through Lent without drinking, I got higher than a kite on Easter afternoon, and I couldn’t understand why the hymn tape sounded dreadful after all those weeks when I hadn’t been drinking and it sounded outstanding. A Chorus Line sounded fine.

Choose this day, I seemed to hear – I put off the choice for several weeks. It was not a wise choice.

Even after all this time, I can’t explain how worshipping God eased my compulsion to drink – it didn’t happen easily, or quickly. But it happened. Many details blur together because God saved me and I got sober about the same time. But this I know, I have done today what I never would have thought possible when I was drinking – I woke up in my right bed; I remember what I did last night, and God willing, I will wake tomorrow and live that day. Not perfectly – that’s why I need an Advocate, Friend, Savior and Redeemer, and the Steps.

Dear reader, would you consider what or who is the object of your deepest affections? If it isn’t the Lord Jesus, may I pass along the invitation He made me?

“Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Love in Christ,

Sober and Grateful

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Addiction is a Worship Disorder