The Emptiness of Addiction
Man shall not live by bread alone. Luke 4:4
The life of addiction is a hollow one. In it, we set out pursuing our desires, but it’s the nature of our self-destructive appetite to enslave us. The thing we once controlled for our own pleasure, eventually controls us. As we surrender to it, we abandon everything we once held important: family, faith, work, and health. We attempt to enhance our lives with indulgence, but the satisfaction doesn’t last and eventually we must pay. Our appetite betrays us, delivering us over to a life of misery and emptiness.
I remember feeling this way, that I’d wasted my life. I knew if I died in that moment, that all I’d lived for was the drug. That was a horrible realization. Still, change was such a painful thought. I knew how much misery it would take to find sobriety and so, I remained in my addiction . . . until my life came undone.
In retrospect, I’m thankful for my addiction. In it, I was forced to realize that I’d been living for my own appetite. Addiction wasn’t the cause of my misery. It was just the most obvious symptom of a greater problem: That I lived for my own appetite. I’d been attempting to find life, not on God’s path, but on mine.
In today’s passage, Jesus insisted that our lives are more than just the physical. Out in the wilderness, having fasted for days, the devil appeared, tempting Christ. If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread (Luke 4:3).
Jesus had to be hungry. He wanted bread and part of him wanted to answer Satan’s challenge. Those were his fleshly desires though and satisfying them – in this case – would have been to surrender to the flesh life at the expense of the spiritual life. Jesus wanted food, but he wanted to be obedient to the father more.
This is what I pray for every morning – that I would continually grow to desire faith, life, and my relationship with the father more than the appetites of my flesh nature. Thankfully, today, I want to live rightly with God more than I want drugs. That is the miracle of transformation that he’s worked in me as I have daily followed him. In following myself, I found only an empty life. I don’t do it perfectly now, but in daily pursuing the father, I’ve found true life, faith, and recovery.