Is there such a thing as God Addiction?

In response to the question, “What role does God play in Addiction Treatment?” someone said:

“I think that relying on God is a crutch and a pathway to another kind of addiction that creates a similar Euphoria. The God addiction is a more acceptable addiction, but if you really want to be free of addiction, you need to learn to stand on your own two feet and your friends and family need to support you in any way that they can. God only helps those who help themselves. I think that for some people addiction is treatable, because they are willing to do the hard work of looking at themselves, seeing a problem and taking corrective steps to free themselves, and heal any past traumas that may be provoking their self-destructive behaviors. For those unwilling to do the work, people that look for outward control, their addictions will remain incurable. A person has to want and take action toward making a change. Having people fling treatments or religion at them isn’t going to make a difference if they aren’t willing to make the adequate changes to themselves and do the dirty work of reconciling whatever is keeping them off balance. Hope this helps.”

The statement summarizes the basic truth about Addiction Treatment: That the addict has to work to rebuild his or her life and no one can do that on his or her behalf. And, while I agree that there is dirty work in regaining life’s balance during recovery, I think that placing all the responsibility for recovery on a single person is an unfair and overwhelming expectation.

There’s this myth in recovery about addicts having to hit rock bottom before they reach out to a higher power and take forward action towards recovery. But, I think that it’s my responsibility as a treatment provider to bring the bottom to the person: Every day a person abuses a substance (or a process) is another unhealthy and unhealthier day. I don’t think I “fling treatment” at anyone; I do think I present evidence such that someone sees for themselves that his or her Addiction is destroying his or her life.

I find the “God Addiction” to be an interesting concept. The first question I have about the concept is, “Can there even be such a thing as a God Addiction?” Again, I measure a behavior’s potential for addiction against the three (3) C’s: 1) Continuing the behavior despite adverse consequences, 2) Lack of control regarding the behavior; and, 3) Compulsion to perform the behavior. So, if someone is praying and experiencing God in such a way that there’s adverse consequences, then I would argue that the person isn’t experiencing God; rather, he or she is experiencing some form of “religious experience” because, to me, only good things come from God’s light and love. I think that there’s no “God Addiction;” however, I do see a possibility for “Religious Experience Addiction.” I’ll have to dig and think about it more…but it is a great concept….

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