Please don’t ever cross that line

I had a friend who was a doctor; yes she was a legitimate qualified doctor, not some quack. She was not a close friend; but yes, I knew her fairly well. She followed a regular fitness routine and claimed that she never drank or smoked. But she would snort things etc and that would just baffle me. Well, she was qualified enough to counteract the effects of all those chemicals with….err.. some more chemicals. That is what she kept telling herself. Then she got into things a lot worse than that and the list of things she got into kept increasing. You see, she kept rationalizing that her life was fun and envied by everybody. That is what she conditioned herself to believe. I sincerely hope she finds grace wherever she is today.

You see, once you cross that line and enter the other side, the line becomes hazy. You feel you are in control and have this awesome exit strategy planned, but gradually the other side that once enchanted you evolves into a deadly labyrinth and it becomes all foggy until eventually you cannot even see the exit anymore. Absolutely nobody becomes an addict overnight. Nobody becomes a chain smoker with just a few puffs. I believe there is a fixed sequence. Although the time and reasons may vary from person to person; the process is the same. First and foremost, you make a conscious DECISION and rationalize about it being necessary to experience, like a rite of passage/ anger or anxiety issues/ depression and stress maybe etc. Once you make peace with your decision, you cross the fence…you may become paranoid and anxious. Your conscience gets affected. You tell yourself it is a one-time thing and no big deal. Then you realize that you like the hit, maybe the rush of dopamine or adrenaline or oxytocin…whatever your choice of poison. So now, you begin to crave that feeling because nothing else quite matches it. The more frequent your falls, the more you crave and the more hits you need. By now, it has probably been over a decade since you began this seemingly innocent rampage. But somehow it seemed so rare, innocent and harmless back then. Even the people around you probably didn’t notice. RATIONALIZING your way down that hell hole, you didn’t realize when you became …an addict.

Standing on the fence

Yes, when you’re standing on the fence rationalizing, they all seem rather harmless. You haven’t really foreseen being subjugated to a lifetime of servitude. In all fairness, you are just prancing around that line; it’s definitely visible and you pride yourself on being in control. An addiction usually begins with momentary self gratification, in most cases – impulsive, instant gratification or a temporary veil over a bigger problem/void. It is an emotional and/or physiological bondage to a substance/act that produces immediate pleasure and/or relief or perceived augmented self worth. As individuals languish in this bondage, its destructive nature reveals its ugly head. It blinds rationale, conjures a sensation of pleasure and/or the avoidance of pain, leaving the affected as a subservient and obedient puppet. The second best gift mankind has ever received from God is the gift of freedom {free will/choice}. It takes some maturity and life experience to truly appreciate its appeal. Why then, would anybody ever surrender this divine gift? Why would any person want to live under the rule of another person/thing/entity? Well, circumstances exist everywhere. Every human being has responsibilities and is accountable to someone/something. But, the requiem of the loss of control over oneself is by far the most agonizing.

Addictions have an object of desire. I find it difficult to categorize. So let me attempt to elaborate instead. As mentioned above, the individual consciously decides to entrap himself, then rationalizes his decision maybe with self-pity/arrogance. Either way, there is a perceived reward, rather momentary though at one end of this affliction that magnetically demands an ever-increasingly inordinate, insatiable impulse. It can be related to internal psychosomatic reactions. It could be materialistic. It could appear as seemingly harmless visual treats. My father always said, “anything in excess is bad.” It could be purely over-indulgence of a seemingly-innocent substance/form/act. This topic is vast and I do not intend boring you with an entire thesis. So, in simple terminology, people could be addicted to substance abuse, caffeine, sugar, chemicals, nicotine, tobacco, alcohol etc. But, people could also display addictive behavioural traits such as inordinate/unquenchable lure towards gaming/video games, gambling, sex, porn, shopping{retail therapy!}, stealing{kleptomania}, truancy, narcissism, over-exercising, excessive cursing, excessive use of cellphones, virtual realities, social media, obsessive compulsive disorder etc.

Of course, indulging in addiction inculcates a temporary euphoric feeling of perceived relief and immediate, instant gratification. However, all three faculties – body, mind and soul suffer excruciating pain and decay with each indulgence. True relationships deteriorate, including that with oneself and the spirit. Deception, remorse, pain, guilt, darkness, insecurity, self-worth and pride all start to wage disproportionate wars of conflict within the affected. Peace is most certainly distorted.

Darkness Imprisoning Me

You may genuinely abhor the sin that has stirred up so much strife within your soul. Yet, you keep going back for more. Every time, you rationalize within your compromised desensitized mind, you feel you are the master of yourself and that you are still in control. You keep pacifying yourself with self-deceit, with consoling statements like, ‘oh well, its just this last time; it won’t really happen again.’ Well, every time you get close to the line, that line just seems to move further ahead. Whatever your choice of poison, it always seems so harmless in the beginning.

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil that I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. – Romans 7:18-22

Prisoner, no longer in control(me in Alcatraz 😉

Addictions are like bondage. For some the source may be ancestral; sometimes there is demonic oppression. Some could be the result of a curse/ill-will and sometimes it is merely foolish self-invitation. Just few months after you were introduced to alcohol, you may get hooked on to it if there is an ancestral bondage because you are easily susceptible. You still have to cross that line though. You still have to make that initial decision of trying it out. It may take another person decades of social drinking to get to your stage. But unfortunately, you are just more vulnerable. As a society, we are predisposed to diagnose addiction as a failure of a morally compromised person. We fail to comprehend how some forms of sin create a level of bondage{this topic is very vast, watch out for future posts pertaining to this} that is impossible to destroy without the grace {already working on this topic, I promise it’ll be beautiful} of God. Sins of the flesh are addictive in nature. Mortal sins again, grieve the Holy Spirit within you and your desecrated body ceases to be a temple of the Spirit so you’re on your own now, until you seek divine intervention that seems rather far fetched. Just like Cheyenne wasn’t lying when she exclaimed that she didn’t want to drink evermore, but she knew she would. Cheyenne is incapable of quitting on her own accord. Kriselle hated the fact that she always ended up looking at porn, although she didn’t know why. Doris knew she loved her husband, yet she found herself in another man’s arms every weekend. Shane knew the moment his salary was credited, he’d be visiting his peddler. Yvonne was filthy rich and could easily afford everything on that rack, yet she knew if she was at the store she’d end up shoplifting. These individuals are not in control of their actions anymore. The Bible sympathizes with this feeling of bondage. Still, it does not set a waiver of responsibility for them. Each man is responsible for his own deeds. Whatever your excuse/circumstance, what others do to you is their karma. But, how you respond is completely on you. So if you want to blame your ancestors for your drunken stupor, you are missing an important point. Addiction is still also a sin, not just a psychological sickness. Yes, you definitely get compassion from God, but you still need the willingness to change {free will}.

Indulgence becomes habit; habit becomes addiction

The logical mind has all kinds of placards for these behavioral traits. Psychology and society refers to them as kleptomania, narcissism, truancy, sex addiction, serial killers, shopaholics etc. I am not discrediting psychology. It was always my favourite subject. I am merely stating the somewhat-involuntary nature of these habits cannot be used as an excuse to condone these acts. There is no remission until there is acceptance of guilt and a genuine desire to transform. You see, practice makes perfect. If we keep responding to certain stimuli in the same way a few times, these responses become inadvertent. So for example, if we tend to get defensive and lie when provoked, lies and deception will soon become a very prominent part of our nature. That is how indulgences move on to becoming habits, and habits become addictions. 

Photo credit : sheetaljain.in

The only way out is strong will power of a sound mind. (a sound mind is only possible if you are filled with the Spirit. Yes, I’m saying you need God!) ‘For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, His Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control/a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7.’ Surrender to God! Anyway, your willpower has been compromised. Let a higher, capable power take over. ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.James 4:7.’ Then pray unceasingly. The closer you come to God, the more difficult your path becomes. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. -Matthew 26:41.’ Don’t give up. You will fall down several times. But God is an excellent teacher and a loving father. So, if you have Him by your side, forget the guilt and shame. Cut yourself some slack. You will reach that finish line. Now this line, you want to cross! Do not worry. ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 1 Corinthians 12:16.’

After rambling about so many dark topics, let me return to my original motive. As always, I love using analogies. Here goes: I am an absolute carnivore and I find it difficult to eat an all-vegetarian meal. But I sincerely respect my brethren who are pure vegetarian {not just at home as a facade, but in reality}. They are so particular that they never cross that line. They have well-defined boundaries that they never cross. That takes a lot of strength, courage, principles, conditioning, acceptance, stability and security. They stand up/out for what they believe and know to be ‘right’ as per their moral compass. Prevention is better than cure, eh? Draw a line; then don’t cross it. And if at all you do, well err… remember – there is always hope!

Photo credit : quotefancy.com

Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. -Romans 13:13-14

Respecting Lines,

Ruelha 🙂

PS: This post solely reflects my personal opinion. I am not a licensed professional and do not hold any certificates in the topics posted. I am not discrediting science/medicine/psychology. I just strongly believe everything is much better with God on your side.

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