Addiction

(Originally written April, 2000)

My name is Kent, and I am an addict.  This fact was a big shock to me.  I’ve always thought that others had the problem but not me.  They could not stop themselves from destroying not only their own lives but also their family, and everyone important to them.  I grew up as a straight-laced kid who was never tempted to go along with the crowd.  I never once tried illegal drugs, even while in Vietnam.  Peer pressure never caused me to take the first cigarette or the first drink of alcohol.  I didn’t like the taste of beer, and I’ve only had a few glasses of wine in my entire life.  It wasn’t that I thought that these things were wrong, although I clearly saw the sad endings of excessive use, I just saw no pleasure in them.  Early in life I also witnessed what addiction to prescription drugs can do to destroy a person’s health, wealth, self-esteem, and every relationship that they have.  I have always been healthy and rarely missed a day of work.  Finally, six years ago I was diagnosed with a rare disease.  The treatment would be experimental at best, but it involved large doses of several very powerful drugs.  While the disease has been kept in check, the medicines may have had some harmful effects.

Six months ago my doctor reduced my steroid medication by one-third.  During the latter part of the first week of my reduced dosage, I flew with our staff to our managers’ meeting in Chicago.  I was on airplanes circling for much of the day in rainy weather.  We finally landed, arrived at our downtown hotel, and I went straight to bed.  I was weak and had an extremely severe headache.  The next day, after taking medication again, I was better.   It wasn’t until three or four weeks later that my wife and I realized that I had always “felt bad” on Thursdays.  (I took the steroids Monday and Friday.)  Finally, we figured it out.  I was having withdrawal symptoms; I was addicted to a strong medication.  In the last several months I have again gone through the headaches, “flu” type exhaustion, and other related symptoms of reducing the drug.

Last summer I eliminated caffeine from my diet.  I had been drinking three or four diet cokes a day and several glasses of tea for lunch.  Through this process I have come to identify with others who are trying to get rid of powerful addictions.  Sadly, if we are honest with ourselves, each of us struggles with areas of addiction.  For you it may not be drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or even caffeine.  It may be as innocent as chocolate, sweets, or television, or as secretive as pornography or other sexual addictions.  The dictionary says that an addiction is “something to which we habitually or obsessively devote or surrender ourselves to.”  For six years the medication worked for me, but the side effects were hyperactivity, severe weight gain, and difficulty in sleeping.  I’ll miss the good side effects of the super creativity and endless energy that each small capsule provided, but the cost was pretty high.

Yes, every addiction does provide some form of pleasure.  These are real, but they are short lived.  Every addiction gives us a momentary “high” but often has long-term effects on our health, relationships, mental condition, finances, and various other areas of our life.  Most of these pleasurable things are useful if taken in moderation, but we become a slave to them when taken in excess.  So, I’ve realized that I am an addict.  I had little choice, but must now pay the cost of withdrawal.  However, in other areas of my life I also deal with addictive tendencies.  Dare we mention shopping, credit cards, or food?  We’d better stop here.  What area of your life started out as a simple pleasure, but has progressed to the point that it is now an obsessive addiction?   Dwight Hill shares that each of us needs the help of God and our friends in order to defeat the monster that has turned us into slaves.

Denouncing my slavery,

Kent

 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever.  “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. “

John 8:34-36 (NASU)

 

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

2 Responses to Addiction

  1. Thank you, Kent.

    You’ll never know how much I appreciate this WAKE-UP call. I’ll be praying about my addiction to certain types of food — and addiction to laziness about exercise.

    I’ll let you know in a month how I’m doing!
    Be blessed,
    Margaret

  2. Teresa Scott says:

    Such truth and a great messge!

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