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Saturday, August 20, 2011

LXVI. The Addict

Why do people allow substances, feelings, actions, thoughts, or desires to overtake them?  What causes people to turn to lifestyles they would not have normally turned to given any other circumstances?

Here is an interesting article, http://www.hbo.com/addiction/understanding_addiction/index.html?current=0.  Perhaps the answers can only be answered by those who have had addictions.  But here are the results from last month's poll:  Which of the following causes more people to have addictions than the rest?
  • 37% said Emotional instability.
  • 37% said Spiritual weakness
  • 25% said Bad decisions.
  • 0% said Physical illness, a disease.
  • 0% said Genetics
  • 0% said Bad childhood.
  • 0% said Other.
First if all what needs to be remembered as you read is that addictions are not just about drugs.  There are plenty of forms of addictions.  There are drugs, alcohol, work, sex, money, power, crime,  and others.  All of the above cause pain in our lives, even the ones that no one voted for.  The problem is not in the circumstances that shape our lives of pain.  The problem is in the reaction to that pain.  Some choose to seek new relationships.  Some seek a higher power.  Some seek medicinal treatments.  Some seek physical pleasures or mutilation.  These actions can cause addictions and could put many people on a path to destruction.  We all have some sort of circumstance in our lives that could or have formed into some sort of addiction, so we all can have opinions on this topic.

Those who have emotion instability are usually ones that have had some sort of relational problem in their life.  They have been hurt by someone in their life.  Betrayal, abuse, and neglect (traumas) are usually not absent in cases like these.  This one could be added to the choice of bad childhood and perhaps that is why no one chose the answer.  They move on from relation to relation.  They can't seem to find that someone who will take them away from all of the pain they have suffered in their own mind.  When that person can't take the pain away they move to another person.    This relation does not necessarily mean one that involves sexual action.  This could be friends.  They can't seem to keep the same friends over time.  It could be parents.  Children start to look for other father or mother figures to have someone in their life.  If they can not find the "perfect" relationship they look for a way to cope with that relationship by finding an outlet.  That outlet becomes the addiction.

Oddly enough, no one said that genetics are a leading cause of addiction.  But as stated in the article posted here 60% of alcoholics have had alcoholism in their family history.  But maybe we recognize that even though our family has had problems it doesn't mean that we will.  And it definitely doesn't mean that we have to follow those footsteps.  But you can see this as being true.  If babies can be born addicted to crack they can be born addicted to other things as well, or at least predisposed. 

No one said physical illness or bad childhood either. Physical illness can cause addiction by either someone trying to relieve the pain they have in their live. They over use the prescriptions such as many celebrities do. Or they are being so stressed out by some situation they feel like they have nothing else to lose. Probably the reason why no one said bad childhood is because it would be a redundant statement. Starting down a road that has plenty of bad decisions probably can not be pinpointed where it all started such as in your childhood. Besides one has to start making your own decisions and not blame the past for all the mistakes made.

The article has another page that talks about myths of addictions.  Two of the myths are myths, in a way, that is.  Science treats addiction as a disease.  It's not a disease, but a sickness.  But a sickness of what?  The mind.  The substance or action plays on the mind of the individual and the individual can not break free from this thought and thereby causing the person to make irrational decisions, changing the individual into someone they are not.  The doctors try and treat the disease by using other forms of medicine.  This is the myth that is a myth.  The article said that many (when appropriate) are given medicine to curb their instincts, their brain functions back to normality.  But then that means they will have to rely on the new medicine to stay functioning.  That is better than the alternative but it doesn't cure the problem.  The other myth-myth is that addicts are not addicted to all drugs.  That is true for the most but there is an underlying factor here that is not mentioned.  During an AA meeting at a rehabilitation center, after the prayer of serenity was said and all formalities out of the way, one patient said that he was glad he didn't escalate into other drugs and that he didn't start to substitute one drug for another.  Meanwhile the room was getting foggier and foggier because everyone in the room had an average of about nine cigarettes in the hour meeting that was observed.  Nicotine is a drug too.  The man was substituting one for another but didn't realize it.  That could be an example of how addictions are treated with other "medicines".  The other myths seem highly accurate.

But the over all problem that causes addictions is the over all worldly problem of having spiritual weakness.

People turn to physical solutions when the real solution lies in the spiritual world.  Places like AA, thank God for AA, even acknowledge that people have to recognize there is a higher power.  But even as great as AA and other rehab centers are, there still needs that openness to not just accepting a higher power but embracing a higher power.  Accepting a higher power is fine, but what is needed is a full surrendering to the higher power, because if you don't then you are still fighting the sickness.  And yes, the higher power is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

LXV. Grace

One great thought was raised at http://ideasoftimbible.blogspot.com/2011/07/49-galatians.html in the comment section.  The thought was "define: saved by grace".  The thought was very provoking and makes one think, what is Grace anyway?  This question was taken to a couple of Christian websites and shared to see what their respected opinions would be on the subject.  Below you will find what a consensus of many of the answers.  Names and/or avatars are not posted for rules of forums do not permit it.
  • The basic definition for grace has always been "unmerited favor." In other words, it is a gift of love and acceptance which has not been earned or deserved.
  • How about, "God doesn't have to love or forgive us because we sure don't deserve it. But He chooses see us as clean again if we're willing to acknowledge that His Son Jesus is the only way of salvation, and Lord of all, and if we're willing to submit to Him in obedience."
  • "Favor bestowed when wrath is owed".
  • Grace is favor extended to someone out of the goodness of the givers heart. In this case God graced us with the opportunity for eternal salvation by providing the sacrifice for our sins in Jesus Christ.
  • Grace is when we receive what we do not deserve and we do not receive what we do deserve.
  • Grace means unmerited favor. You can't earn it for then it wouldn't be grace it would be wage. You can't deserve it for then it would be merit. Grace is God giving you that which you have no right to, no claim on and no reason to expect.
  • Grace is what God freely and kindly adds when I am lacking to make me whole. So this "new, improved and complete" me in actuality is a very tiny bit of me but a lot of Grace through faith.
In all, grace then seems to be something that God gives His creation.  That gift is not earned nor deserved but God chooses still to give it anyway.  But one point that was missed by all of the contributors (assuming they still meant this though).  Even though this gift is for everybody, not everybody will accept it.  But that is just the definition of grace.  More importantly, what would be the result of grace?  The result of grace is to be covered and made innocent by the blood of Christ.  Those who accept this gift remain covered.  But those who do not accept, figuratively speaking, wipe themselves off.

Ephesians 2:4-9 says
  • But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This basically restates what has already been stated but nicely adds something that was missed by the contributors.  Grace saves you, THROUGH faith.  This faith is in Christ Jesus.  This is what is meant by not everybody accepts grace.  Some do not have faith, thereby grace will not give you eternal life.  The gift of God will save you but only with faith.  If you lose your faith, you lose your salvation.  Therefore once saved, always saved is not accurate in the full sense of the concept.  You are saved by God's grace (gift).  But that does not mean all go to heaven.  Even though there are many rooms in His mansion, scripture does not say that all will see that mansion.  The first part of Ephesians 2:1-3 explains why.
  • As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
We all have lived in sin.  We all are disobedient.  If we follow the desires of our flesh then we deserve the wrath of God.  Then the rest of Ephesians says that our faith in grace gets rid of the wrath.  Those who remain following their flesh do not receive eternal life and still receive the wrath of God.

In conclusion the best answer to what is grace is this:  Grace= God's love, mercy, compassion, and gift all rolled into one.  We can either accept the grace or reject it.

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