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  • Writer's pictureJanean Tinsley

What Is Addiction?


The word can bring many images to mind. For some, it means the “junkie” on the street corner who hasn’t bathed. For others, it means the drug dealer in the expensive car. Still others see it as the alcoholic at the end of bar. But for some, it means the face staring back at them in the mirror.

Addiction isn’t selective in its victims. Rich. Poor. Young. Old. Religious. Atheists. Men. Women. It has discriminating qualities. It simply attacks and doesn’t let go. There are people of prominence who have openly discussed their addictions. President George W. Bush, Elton John, Kerry Collins, Samuel L. Jackson, and Eric Clapton – just to name a few. And then there are our neighbors, friends, church members, family and co-workers. Everywhere you go, addiction is there.

So, what is addiction? That is a hard word to define. There is the official definition. Mr. Webster defines it as

a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

But it goes so much deeper than that. It is a disease of life-altering proportions. It literally destroys everything and everybody it touches. I have witnessed great people fall to improbably bottoms. I have watched lives end with “one last drink”. Families fall apart. Jobs are lost. Money disappears. Crimes occur. The list of negative consequences just goes on and on. And yet, the lure of “one more” can be greater then the need for air.

What can be done? Are these men and women beyond help?


The Bible says in Psalm 107:13:

Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.

The Lord wants us to seek Him during our greatest moments, our darkest moments and all the moments in between. For the addict, the mere idea of reaching out to God is one, both foreign and frightening. In fact, for many in the depths of the disease, their will to disbelieve is so powerful that they would rather die then seek answers through God. But the 12-Steps can help. You see, the original 12 steps were formed for Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. founder Clarence Snyder said, “since our A.A. program was based on the Word of God, God says there is no access to Him except through His Son Jesus Christ.” Without God, A.A. and the 12-Steps could never have been born.

Are you interested in learning more about the relationship between 12-Steps and God?

Lord, I pray that those who need help with addictions will seek your guidance. I pray for their willingness to understand that there is a power greater then themselves and that power is You, Lord. I pray they will come to have a relationship with you so that they might find answers to this very difficult question of addiction. Amen.

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