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ADDICTION: Disease or disorder?

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  • ADDICTION: Disease or disorder?

    In my younger days I struggled with drugs and alcohol and eventually found my way to NA and AA. The first thing I was taught there was the disease theory of addiction. I've had problems with accepting this idea from the get-go. Lately someone shared with me the idea of addiction as a disorder, like OCD for example. It seems to me that OCD can actually account for many bad habits and addictions.

    So what's the difference between a disease and a disorder. Can alcoholism and drug addiction be truly called a disease like heart disease or lung cancer? Is the disease idea just a cop-out that gives a person a way of avoiding personal responsibility?
    Love is patient, love is kind; it does not envy, it does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

  • #2
    Sin, disease [a medical condition that stops the body from functioning correctly], and disorder. These are all part and parcel of addiction of any kind: substance, alcohol, sex, food, and more.


    Addiction is multi-faceted. Some say they just need to put the bottle down, the fork down, or stop seeking out the drug dealer. It is NOT that easy for the truly addicted. That why professional help is needed, spiritual help, and sometimes those addicted to the same thing need a variety of different treatment.
    sigpic
    ".....it's your nickel"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by pdun459 View Post
      In my younger days I struggled with drugs and alcohol and eventually found my way to NA and AA. The first thing I was taught there was the disease theory of addiction. I've had problems with accepting this idea from the get-go. Lately someone shared with me the idea of addiction as a disorder, like OCD for example. It seems to me that OCD can actually account for many bad habits and addictions.

      So what's the difference between a disease and a disorder. Can alcoholism and drug addiction be truly called a disease like heart disease or lung cancer? Is the disease idea just a cop-out that gives a person a way of avoiding personal responsibility?
      The way I understand it we have a fallen nature. We think and act according to this. Our will is not free by any means. When God saves us, our fallen nature becomes something we need to overcome. For some it's drugs. For others, it is lust or any other addiction. But God forms Christ in us as we fight against and harness our evil nature. And force it to submit to his holiness. God destroys it in the grave and puts an end to it. But raises us in Christ's likeness indelibly imprinted through our conflicts with the flesh.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by pdun459 View Post
        In my younger days I struggled with drugs and alcohol and eventually found my way to NA and AA. The first thing I was taught there was the disease theory of addiction. I've had problems with accepting this idea from the get-go. Lately someone shared with me the idea of addiction as a disorder, like OCD for example. It seems to me that OCD can actually account for many bad habits and addictions.

        So what's the difference between a disease and a disorder. Can alcoholism and drug addiction be truly called a disease like heart disease or lung cancer? Is the disease idea just a cop-out that gives a person a way of avoiding personal responsibility?
        Pdun - Both my wife and I have been led to raise up a Biblical Recovery ministry, started in 2008. We also led/directed a Celebrate Recovery Ministry in a church for 2 years prior to this while attending a (different), church for a season. On top of this, due to my job, I was in a position to counsel many people long before focusing on "Faith based" recovery. Although, in the years before specific ministry dealing with recovery, the counseling was always Biblical focused.

        We both have seen such extremes concerning what you are asking about. Based on experience both personal (our own overcoming of addictions and problems) and in the ministry work, I will say that there is always one common denominator. I will raise that in a moment (also while trying to keep this as short as possible). I want this said first, based on this experience the "action" of partaking/participating of/in anything that is additive or leads to an addiction, is more about a "symptom." Meaning, something has happened (usually in one's childhood), and the action taken in effort to avoid, numb, "deal with," comply with, etc took hold over time and step by step, led the person down/into a worse problem = Addiction.

        Let me say the word "addiction" as it would be spoken of in the Bible... SIN! The moment we view an addiction as a sin, the Holy Spirit can convict us in a GREATER way. By calling a "sin" an addiction and thinking it as such (not sin), we will find ways in our mind to justify the sin. Saying it is a "disease" is one of these efforts. Keep in mind, a "disease" has NO affect upon the eternal. A sin has severe affect upon the eternal. A "disease" AFFECTS the flesh while an addiction is a WORK of the flesh that becomes a "lust." BIG, very big difference.

        Due to this, I cannot categorize the examples you gave as a "disease." Here is why, once a person TAKES responsibility and WITH Christ, they can be forgiven and when the Holy Spirit is "heeded," He will lead a person AWAY from the sin (your examples of lust, alcoholism/drug addiction). A "reNEWing" of the mind MUST take place and this process (most of the time) is a step by step process.

        Time for some verses.

        Galatians 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

        Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.


        It MUST be understood that the action (a work of the flesh), that led to addiction and the "addiction," is a "sin." Period! If this cannot be agreed with and FACED (confessed), as a sin, then there is work for the person and the Holy Spirit to do in the "reNEWing" of their mind. Once the mind is reNEWed, then confessing the addiction as a sin, is surrendering OVER to God and THEN, the Holy Spirit will begin in the process of overcoming the sin. In some cases, I have seen miraculous freedom (liberation) from the sin. But mostly, it is a process.

        The common denominator (mentioned earlier), in just about "all" the ministry work we've experienced. A "hurt" led to action. Defining "hurt" is very wide as all people are different. But whatever the "hurt" was, whatever actions became the symptoms of that "hurt," one common denominator: FORGIVENESS!!! When a person admitted to UNforgiveness, the Holy Spirit begins in the overcoming of THAT specific sin. They are led back to a person/persons, that they need to "truly" forgive and once forgiveness was offered, the healing and true overcoming... began. The literal ripple effect of offering up that forgiveness, begins to wash away the works of the flesh and one is led to their healing of addition (overcoming).

        A final comment. Once a person has overcome a sin and is forgiven by God, they are not "that" anymore. Such a person is NOT viewed by God as a "recovered" alcoholic/drug addict (of "___" years). God sees them as a forgiven sinner who is "righteous" due to His Son. A reNEWED mind will also NOT see themselves as a "recovered" alcoholic/drug addict. They see themselves as God see's them... forgiven and free.

        Edit: a brother in Christ pointed out to me that the term "iniquity" is proper concerning an addiction. Considering the sustainment of sin, due to the addiction.
        --
        Slug1--out

        ~John 8:14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.~

        ~John 6:62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?~ (Jesus is Eternal - existed before becoming a man)

        ~"In the turmoil of any chaos, all it takes is that whisper that is heard like thunder over all the noise and the chaos seems to go away, focus returns and we are comforted in knowing that God has listened to our cry for help."~

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        • #5
          All good responses, thanks.
          Love is patient, love is kind; it does not envy, it does not boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

          Comment

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