Do I Still Struggle with Addiction?
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17
One of the most common questions I get from addicts is, “Do you still struggle?” I know why they’re asking. I’ve been there – knowing I needed to quit, but not knowing if it was possible. Relapse after relapse led me to believe the appetite would never be gone and that even if I managed to stay sober for a few months, I’d always return. The addict, desperate to find recovery, needs to know if the desire will go away.
I’ve thought about my answer . . . a lot. The truth is, every day, I get up and thank God that I’m sober. I thank him for a new life, for faith, and for recovery. Today, I want my faith and my relationship with him more than I want drugs. In that sense, the appetite is gone, and I have found healing from my diseased appetite. Through abandoning myself and following Christ, he has crucified that part of my flesh nature.
The danger for the addict – and for anyone who struggles – is to believe that I’m now made perfect and can never struggle again. If I’m healed, I no longer require a physician. I start to feel self-sufficient and forget my need for God.
In today’s passage, Jesus chastised the Pharisees who scorned him for associating with those they considered to be sinners. Jesus told them he came for those who knew they needed him. It wasn’t that the Pharisees were actually righteous, they just thought they were. Jesus wanted nothing to do with them.
The truth is, I still have moments where the appetite rears its ugly head. I know that it would still feel good to take a pill. If I stopped following Christ today, I’d soon be back using. So, yes, I’ve found healing and freedom in Christ, but I must continue abiding in him to continue to experience that freedom. The most dangerous thing for the addict is to think, I’m fine now. I don’t need to keep striving for faith and recovery.
Thank God, I don’t struggle with pills today. That doesn’t mean I don’t still need God though. I need him as much today though as I did back in my addiction. So, today, I will use my new found freedom to continue pursuing faith and recovery.