The Lies of Addiction
When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
Most of us who’ve been addicted have bought into the lie that the drug is going to improve our lives. When I first started using, I realized I could easily manage my own sleep, which was a problem at the time. I told myself I wasn’t an addict. I was a physician, using medicine, to make my life better.
Many alcoholics began drinking as teenagers to deal with feelings of social inadequacy. Many addicts first drug was marijuana which they used to manage their anxiety. The fact that many of those addicts have destroyed their lives with other drugs, but still feel they could go back to marijuana, speaks to the deceptive nature of the drug. The drug lies, promising it can improve our lives.
In pursuit of the lie, we become liars ourselves. To obtain, consume, and hide our drug use, we learn to deceive others, keeping our behavior in the dark. In medicine, we have a rule that when you ask someone who has a problem with alcohol how much they drink, they underreport by at least half. We’ve learned to simply assume dishonesty in the addict/alcoholic. They’ve followed a deception, becoming deceptive themselves.
It is this dishonest nature of evil which Jesus addressed in today’s passage. In contending with the Pharisees, he said they couldn’t bear to hear the truth, because they followed the devil, the father of lies. The Pharisees were so caught up in the lie that they were completely blind to its existence. They couldn’t recognize or tolerate the truth, even when it stood right in front of them. It simply became habitual for them to live in a state of constant self-deception.
This is a life problem even for those of us who’ve found recovery. We may be sober, but in our addiction, we developed a life pattern of using deceit to protect our self-destructive behaviors. Now, just as we’ve embraced radical change to abandon the drug, we must radically abandon our deceitful nature. We must vigorously pursue honesty and transparency if we desire to regain the trust of those whom we’ve betrayed with our lies.
In recovery, we no longer follow the father of lies. We follow our heavenly father, author of the truth. Now, we must live in the truth.