Addiction and shame are not how our stories have to end. But to move toward hope, we must face our false dependencies, not just keep telling ourselves lies such as “Just one more time” or “It’s not that bad” or “No one is getting hurt.” When caught in addiction, we lose sight of the great and noble purposes for which we were created. But remember that under each of these desires gone mad is a godly longing that must be owned. The godly longing is the goodness and restoration that God has in store for us.
We may not have the classic “loud” addictions of substance abuse or sex, but few of us avoid the much more dangerously subtle ones. Our relationship to food, work, or achievement, for example, can serve the same purpose as heroin for a drug addict. In either case, the drive is for escape from our own terrifyingly holy desire for authentic connection. Any shame, heartache, or desire brought to the surface must be tended to with kindness and care. And as God would have it, this path to healing is intended to be taken in the context of community. When we break the silence of our shame, it loses its power to define us. God is truth, and when we live in truth, we experience God.
Do you have a community of story sharers? If not, how can you begin to develop a circle of trusting sojourners? If so, where do you all need to continue to push more deeply into your narratives of shame that hold you captive?