THE ROOT OF MANY ADDICTIONS
This post is part two of a three part series that addresses the complex issues surrounding addictions, religion, and God.
THE CHILDHOOD NEED FOR LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE
Our need for love runs deep and the pain that interrupts it most profoundly can be found in our families and in our churches. The two places where we experience the deep needs of protecting, provision, comfort and nurture. When such childhood needs are left unmet, or worse, when a child experiences the pain of abuse or neglect in their family or church the child is left vulnerable to the false promises of addiction at some point in their life.
Sexual abuse is profoundly damaging to the soul because it strikes at the very place God intended the most sacred of all human expression of love – sexual intimacy and romantic love. Instead of God’s love entering in, shame seeks to occupy the heart and mind. Not knowing where to turn to for this most sacred of all love the victim, living in a milieu of shame, fear, defenselessness, disgust, and often self-hatred can now fall prey to the lies of addiction. The addiction now serves to provide both an escape and evidence that one is indeed shameful.
THE ALLURE OF ADDICTION
For those left vulnerable to addiction’s allure it promises much, and delivers only thievery in return. Promises of escape and companionship are offered. Addiction also promises to become the needed wall of protection, leaving it’s victim with the false belief that it provides a safe harbor from the pain inflicted by potential perpetrators. Addiction can also become the justification needed when one falsely believes they are inherently bad, a belief many victims of abuse carry. Addiction serves as the perfect self-sabotage necessary to prove to the world that one is unworthy of love – unfortunately, our world today is all too willing to participate in this falsity.
And God saw everything that he had made. And they were very good. And it became evening and morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
For individuals who experienced childhood abuse, the addiction can serve as an escape when the need to deny or minimize the pain rises up. To look towards a parent, the person we deeply seek love from, and accept their role as perpetrator is too much for the soul to accept – escape or denial seem the only options. To look towards one’s childhood church and see God interwoven with the abuse all too often demands a denial and turning away from God – the only one who can truly heal us of our pain. This unmet need of parental and Godly love runs deep and remains in the heart and soul of the child into adulthood, and unfortunately, many never find the respite, healing and love they desire. They remain a child in many respects, unable to fully heal just as a child is unable to fully care for themselves. Often the years of repressed pain leaves the victim with a hardened heart, a walled off heart where no one can gain entry and cause such harm ever again.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh” – Ezekiel 36:26.
YOUR NEXT STEP
We invite you to read the rest of the series here:
If you or a loved one are suffering from addictions, abuse of any kind, or any other health issue, I highly recommend that you seek the care of a qualified health care practitioner skilled in this area. What I am providing you here is not intended as medical care or as a substitution for medical care.