Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25
On a college visit with my daughter recently, I got up early one morning to go hiking in the mountains. Out there, alone in the wind, looking down on the wide world, was exhilarating. I love hiking. Now my baseline mood is honestly quite content and joyful. I don’t go hiking to self-medicate for a melancholy mood or to relieve anxiety. I just live for the experience. I feel good normally, but as a sensation seeker, I always want to feel more.
I don’t know that my drug use was any more complex than that. In treatment, my counselor asked me what specific defect I was trying to fill. Perhaps I’m blind to my void, but honestly, I just liked the high of the drug. Yes, I had knee pain and insomnia, but those were excuses. I didn’t need the drug and I didn’t feel bad to start with. I just wanted to feel better and the pills were an easy shortcut to get there.
We may not all be sensation seekers, but we’re all looking for something. Whether we’re miserable or not, we all desire peace and life. We don’t seek misery, but rather, we naturally long for joy.
Through my addiction, I learned that I can find my peace, joy, and life the right way, or, I can settle for the instant gratification found in a counterfeit, temporary high. In today’s passage, Paul said that Jesus was the answer to his greatest life question. Who can save me from myself? The only one adequate for that task he said, was Jesus Christ. Only in him can I truly find what I’ve been looking for all along.
What was I looking for in my drug use? I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was looking for the life that can only be found in Christ. In following my way, I found only misery and death. In following Christ, I found life, faith, and recovery.
Now, there are things I’ve had to cut out of my life. I cannot return to drug use if I want to continue experiencing faith and recovery. Other things, like hiking, I can enjoy the right way. Following Christ doesn’t mean I give up everything I like. It just means I give up everything that steals from who he made me to be. He is the answer to the life I’ve always wanted.