Overcoming Addiction Builds CharacterBe sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. – 1 Peter 5:8 HCSB

If you’d like a perfect formula for character destruction, here it is: Become addicted to something that destroys your health or your sanity. If (God forbid) you allow yourself to become addicted, you’re steering straight for a tidal wave of negative consequences, and fast.

Ours is a society that glamorizes the use of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography, and other addictive substances. Why? The answer can be summed up in one word: money. Simply put, addictive substances are big money makers, so suppliers (of both legal and illegal substances) work overtime to make certain that people like you sample their products. The suppliers need a steady stream of new customers, so they engage in a no-holds-barred struggle to find new users — or more accurately, new abusers.

The dictionary defines addiction as “the compulsive need for a habit-forming substance; the condition of being habitually and compulsively occupied with something.” That definition is accurate, but incomplete. For Christians, addiction has an additional meaning: it means compulsively worshipping something other than God.

Unless you’re living on a deserted island, you know people who are full-blown addicts — probably lots of people. If you, or someone you love, is suffering from the blight of addiction, remember this: Help is available. Plenty of people have experienced addiction and lived to tell about it, so don’t give up hope.

And if you’re one of those fortunate people who hasn’t started experimenting with addictive substances, congratulations! You have just spared yourself a lifetime of headaches and heartaches. We are meant to be addicted to God, but we develop secondary addictions that temporarily appear to fix our problem.

Remember that ultimately you and you alone are responsible for controlling your appetites. Others may warn you, help you, or encourage you; but in the end, the habits that rule your life are the very same habits that you yourself have formed. Thankfully, since you formed these habits, you can also break them if you decide to do so.

By Steve Arterburn

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