Those who have followed my writing in the past know a little about me past struggles with addiction. I have a very addictive personality and it is easy for me to latch onto something that makes me feel good and want to have it all the time.
Addiction by definition is:
“the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”
That is some heavy stuff! Throughout my life I have struggled with several addictions, the most serious of which was an addiction to alcohol. Drinking, for me, started out as a way to just have fun, you know, fit in and party. The first time I got drunk I realized that I could, for a brief period, stop feeling. It then because an escape from all the junk in my life, all the pain I was feeling, all the aloneness that plagued me. At that point I was no longer abusing alcohol… I was addicted to it.
I can proudly say now that I have fought that addiction and am approaching my 4 year sobriety birthday at the end of this month. As great a feeling as it was to be free from that I began to realize that I had some other addiction in my life that I never really noticed before. I had an addiction to anger, to power, to causing pain to those who hurt others, and most of all… to religion. Uh oh, did I step on some toes with those last two words? Well it’s true! I had a definite addiction to religion.
I was enslaved to a habit to an extent that I was afraid if I stopped living up to these rules and expectations I wouldn’t be good enough for God. That fits that definition of addiction pretty well, huh? It amazes me really how many Christians are religion addicts. So many lecture about how other addiction are evil and people who live such lifestyles cannot be one of God’s children.
I have to argue that any addiction is destructive whether it be an addiction to rules or to booze. Jesus’ message was all about freedom not slavery. He came to give us a religion detox and free us from its enslavement. My all-time favorite verse of the Bible is from 2 Corinthians and it says,
“Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM.”
The veil talked about there is actually a reference to the Old Testament and how in the temple there was this huge thick veil between where the Ark of the Covenant, which was considered the presence of God, and where the people were allowed to go into. Under the law of the OT you had to have the High Priest go as sort of a mediator between you and God and they were the only ones allowed behind that veil.
What this verse is saying is that Jesus took that veil away. He took away that law and list of rules you had to abide by to get to God and now it’s just you and him personal, face to face, one on one, you before God. Oh and that’s not all… in that up close and personal relationship with God there is FREEDOM! How awesome is that?!
I mean God could easily have said, “Well, ok, we can have a relationship with me but don’t expect me to just give you all my love, you have to earn it!” But… He didn’t say that! He said not only am I going to grant you a relationship with me but I’m also going to give you all my love and forgiveness without you doing anything to deserve it, you have freedom.
That is just mind blowing to me that a being so powerful and awe inspiring would give all that to me without me having to do anything to deserve it. I will say that I now live life free from religious addiction. Every moment in life is a gift, every breath I take is given to me, how can I choose to reject what I never deserved to be given in the first place? Forget the fix, give me freedom.