The First Casualty of My Addiction
Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. Zechariah 1:3
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. My faith though, has waxed and waned according to my life choices. In my addiction, though I still believed, I followed me above all. If faith is keeping my eyes on God and making my feet follow, then in my addiction, I did the exact opposite, abandoning God to follow me.
Sure, I told myself I still believed. I begged God to take away my appetite, while taking the pills. I turned my back on God and looked back over my shoulder, asking God why he didn’t make me stop. Again, that’s not faith. Indulging in my addiction killed my faith. In my shame, I couldn’t look at God and I certainly didn’t want to follow him. Following God meant confession, treatment, and radical, painful change. I wasn’t willing to do any of those things. Then, I had the audacity to wonder why God abandoned me.
God, of course, hadn’t abandoned me. I abandoned him. In recovery, I discovered the truth of today’s passage. Return to me and I will return to you. I found that I can run a thousand miles away from God, only to find him right there, if I will but turn around. It may be a long walk to get life back to where it was before I started running, but if I’m going with God, he goes with me.
From beginning to end, the Bible teaches this truth. God longs for us to seek him, and in doing so, he draws near to us. Faith is the act of looking to God and following him. In following our way, we inherently practice not-faith. Sometimes, the only obvious consequence we suffer is that we injure our relationship with God, but that is the first and worst casualty of our self-destruction. We can’t follow our toxic appetites and God at the same time.
Returning to God’s path isn’t easy. It usually requires sacrifice of our will in submission to his. In doing so though, God promises that instead of misery and death, we may know life, joy, and recovery in him.