Once an Addict, Always an Addict — Right?

by Eric Dunbar

Drug addictThere is a theory that says once an addict you will always be addicted, and the most you can do to help yourself is to learn how to manage your addiction through group meetings and counseling. Although this theory is widely accepted among many drug rehabilitation professionals, it is just a hypothesis, a conjecture, speculation, an assumption, a premise and a presumption that an addicted individual will always be addicted. So today, I would like to talk about this theory, “Once and addict, always an addict.”

If you are struggling with an addiction and you want to rid yourself of the terrible plague of drug addiction or substance abuse, one of the things that you don’t want to do is confess that you are an addict. Why? Because there is power your words.

The Bible is perfectly clear, reminding us that there is death and life in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Note that t says life and death are in the “power of the tongue.” God created the earth with the “power” of His tongue. God said… and it was so. You and I are made in the likeness and image of God, therefore we have power in our tongue. Whatever we SAY… it will be as we say.

Let’s say hypothetically that there was a time when you used to steal. But then one day you came to your senses and you realized that stealing was wrong and you stopped stealing. Why would you want to confess to anyone that you are a thief when you no longer steal? The same thing applies to an addiction.

When I was addicted to crack cocaine I went to Narcotics Anonymous for help. In every class I attended, I had to introduce myself in this manner: “Hello, my name is Eric, and I’m an addict.” I did this for the duration of my stay, which was thirty days. When I graduated, I was told that if I wanted to maintain my freedom, I would have to attend three to four NA meetings per week. When I attended my first meeting, I listened attentively to the testimonies of those who went before me. Somehow they all sounded alike, like clones. There was no originality in what they said, for they all said they were addicts.

New graduates and invited members were the last to take the floor, so I had time to think about what I would say. But after listening to the testimonies of those before me, I was confused. Many of the speakers had been clean for a number of months, but yet they called themselves addicts. As for me, I knew I was not an addict, because I didn’t smoke crack anymore, and I couldn’t understand why I had to introduce myself as such. I kept thinking, why would I want to stand up in front of a group of people and say, “Hello, my name is Eric, and I’m an addict” if I haven’t smoked crack in the last five weeks? I was torn between two worlds; either I would have faith in what I had been taught all my life (the Bible), or I would put my faith in this new doctrine (NA).

The Bible teaches that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Here we see that faith comes by hearing, we also see that Godlike faith comes by hearing the word of God. For the past five weeks I had been hearing people tell me that I am an addict. But the word of God says, “…whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5)?

I just couldn’t bring myself to say that I was an addict when I believed I was not. So I got up and walked out of the meeting. I was told that I was making the worst decision of my life; nevertheless, I walked out the door never to return. In the end, it turned out that I had made the right choice for me. I had chosen faith over my natural ability. But just having faith is not enough. If your faith is in your own ability or the ability of others, the results will not be lasting. Your faith must be in the Son of God. God has promised that if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, you are can overcome any obstacle, including drug addiction.

Where is your faith? Do you believe “once an addict, always an addict’ or do you believe in the power of the Son of God to deliver you? God says, “…if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” More than twenty years later, I can say “I’m free!” Thank you Jesus!

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