Make no mistake: your addictions will not go quietly.
They will fight for their right to ruin your life.
They will fight for their right to lie to you about how much better they can make your world.
They will fight for their right to steal your time, your money, your energy, and your future.
I always find it kind of laughable when someone opines that overcoming an addiction is just a matter of “willpower.”
That it’s just a matter of “saying no.”
That if you just WANTED to overcome your addiction enough, you’d just DO it.
I think about this whenever I hear anyone smugly proclaim that people’s behavior invariably reveals their priorities.
Sometimes peoples’ behavior reveals their priorities…but often it’s more complicated than that.
Often an addiction has its hooks in a person, and has hijacked their ability to make decisions and be honest with themselves.
Do not underestimate your enemy when it comes to addiction.
And do not fall into the trap of believing that people can only be addicted to drugs, alcohol, or behaviors like gambling.
The internet has made it easier than ever to be addicted, in every sense of the term, to a lot of things that are perfectly legal, often free (at least, at first), and even quite popular.
Never has it been easier to quickly develop an addiction to pornography.
Never has it been easier to quickly develop an addiction to social media (which comes bundled with other, more complicated and insidious addictions, such as approval and people-pleasing).
Never has it been easier to develop an addiction to spending, acquiring, and shopping.
No one is immune to the potential of addiction.
No one is inoculated simply because they are “smart” or “strong.”
And, once hooked, no one— literally no one— has an “easy” time getting away from their “drug” or behavior of addiction.
The good news is: once we see an addiction for what it is, we really can defeat it.
It’s not easy, it’s not simple, and it’s usually not quick. But it is possible.
Overcoming addiction requires a lot of honesty with ourselves. That’s hard.
It requires us to voluntarily say “no” to experiences that, even if they are demonstrably destructive in the long run, often make us feel better in the moment. That’s really hard.
And overcoming addiction usually requires us to identify things that are more important to us, in the big picture, than avoiding pain and feeling pleasure. That’s really, really hard…especially if we’ve lived lives that have tended to be short on pleasure and long on pain.
But it’s possible.
All of it is possible.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s ugly and it’s tiring and it has a tendency to make you mad at God for creating a world in which our brains are so susceptible to getting hooked on things as stupid as porn or social media or online shopping.
But it’s also very much worth it.
I don’t know why we’re wired this way.
But I know that it’s never too late to rewire ourselves.
You’re never too old or too far gone to go from “addict” to “recovering addict.”
No matter that that voice in your head is telling you.
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