Reading Time: 3 mins

A Hinge Between Addict-life and Christ-life

Reading Time: 3 mins

Now that the Lord of Sabaoth has involved himself, something ends, something is born.

Addiction turns piss to vinegar. It converts spiritual knowledge to a toddler’s knowledge. Getting high, finding the sweet spot becomes a longing song. Oaths are made — I’ll quit tomorrow. But it’s all bullshit. We move on, evasive, caught by a hungry heart’s desire. We get really miserable. We keep going. We bob, we drift, we splash, then spend years as a tree, rooted in place, drawing sustenance from springs of restless grief and drama.  

Then an eagle comes – a big heavenly bird. He does us a favor. He leaves his perch, descends upon us, and carries us tight-gripped until we are dropped into the deep baptismal sea. This is where unrighteous messes take a good scrubbing. 

Grief is exorcized; the daily libations of alcohol and pills, caffeine, tobacco, gambling, over-eating, and internet porn that languished long in our bellies are ceremoniously brought to their knees in fright. No more huff or puff.

God has taken something; that is how it tends to go. We forget this to our peril. The weird blankness that addiction induces wobbling in and out of sports bars, slouching past police, blinking hot, sickly eyes to focus on a forbidden thrill — God overlooks none of it. It all disappears into the indescribably old waters of salvation. He leans on the voice and the hands of the preacher he’s sent, and his words glide out and surround us. I’d advise you to hold on, but that’s not how it works. He’s going to say some things: there’s going to be a heavenly rush of wings and angelic hymns, and pretty much everything after that happens through what he spake. That’s the gig. Holy Wind in our hair, Sun of Righteousness on our shoulders, Ancient of Days who created the world scouring our lonely hearts with grace and mercy.

It is an epic event when the One who makes the world names us as a gift, baldly stating reality. Something few of us noticed when we were distracted, like Icarus, by the smell of smoking feathers. 

Addiction makes us lonesome, and even when we catch a glimpse of long-lost heavenly love, we lack the will to keep it.

So it’s no small thing when just that love is delivered to us. We are the ones who huff and puff and embarrass ourselves, walking through the consequences of wool drawn over droopy lids. But now that the Lord of Sabaoth has involved himself, something ends, something is born. Something is eviscerated and ridiculed for occupying our lives. The time signature of addiction is frustrated by a new song. The slow-motion, wheezy backing track, calling, calling, calling us back to the whizz-bang modern remedies for our cunning, baffling, powerful condition are commanded to shut up and be silent. 

It is an epic event when the One who makes the world names us as a gift, baldly stating reality.

Their poison won’t get us well. Weakened unto death or glory are the only stories left to us. And it takes a while for the story to reveal God’s particular power. But you can locate it in the telling, “I baptize you in the Name of…” “In the Name of Jesus, I forgive you…” “Take and drink; this is my blood shed for you for the forgiveness for sin.”

For some, their stories of God’s grace and mercy are smooth; for others, their stories are needy, requiring endless rounds of reassurance. Some you couldn’t hang your hat on, others you can hang your soul on. God’s new reality is to be lived by. This telling does not outrun addiction but confirms his truth-telling: for in his new reality, we have been called forth from the hypnosis of gambling with our fate. 

The Good Shepherd steers us away from devouring the stuff that signals our downfall. We are assured we don’t have to tear at time, trying to reenter the bliss of our first high. We don’t have to chomp at the ever-disappearing, ever-shrinking supply of lip-smacking inebriants. We can stop wishing we’d never been born at all. We can stop hovering at the fringe between our mother’s womb and the grave. We were born again just when our lives had ended because of addiction. 

He put the key in our door. The wild God has entered inside now. Jesus has entered, and his Spirit is inside us, banging about and crossing under the lintel. The old psalms that David wrote emit warmth. Angels sing in the rafters. There’s manna in the pan. Wine in the cup. The doors of our souls are open to heavenly rain. We lay down upon gratitude a thousand pillows. 

It is good and true to name the God who does the task that we cannot. Jesus hangs our addictions from his cross. Now we have the daily crawl, the notes on the fridge, the rituals observed. We have new language and a hinge between addict-life and Christ-life. The door opens; a holy flood of grace and mercy is set loose by Christ. Sobriety and sanity, old death, and new life are stirred together by the good God. The gates are unlocked. Outsiders are called inside. And today, like it was the first day, like it will be the last day, we are watching ourselves seated at his table. Complete. Full. Sober. Truly alive.