My Jesus Addiction

I just read a blog post written by someone who struggles with pain management. See: Do you recognize your addictions? By: All Things Chronic. After I read it, I responded in the comment box provided, and as I thought, I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. And … well, you get the gist.

Then I realized that my thoughts would be better expressed in a blog post of my own. Never mind that my comments took up half a page! So, in that endeavor, my post blossomed into the eloquent mess below. And it growed and growed!

Now I’m just kinda thinking out loud and with no animosity, as far as I know. In response to the question, “Do you recognize your addictions?” I would answer that my greatest addiction is to the computer. And editing blog posts. And food. Honestly, food feels like pain relief sometimes. But I will address that in another post. Maybe.

In regard to pain management, that’s another story. I say, hopefully without pride, that I only take Tylenol®, and occasionally Ibuprofen, for relief of pain in my neck. (See my previous blog entry on Spasmodic Torticollis and Botox® treatments). This also helps with the various aches and pains of middle agedness. The decision to avoid anything stronger is due to my history of alcoholism. I was told early in my recovery that if I began to use tranquilizers and narcotics, I would likely become addicted to them, in the same way that I had been addicted to alcohol. Whether I would truly have this propensity, I don’t know, but understandably I am very cautious. Recovery from alcoholism was hard enough.

There are exceptions to my rule. I do take Xanax pre-procedure when I get my Botox shots every 3 months. I do love the feeling of sedation, I admit, and I often think, ohhh, if I could only feel this way all the time. Relaxed; “normal,” even. Which only tells me further that I could easily rely on it too much.

I haven’t really felt the same attraction to narcotics, however, because most often they will trigger a hypomanic episode. Weird, huh? And so, I use Tylenol®, even post-op. Even after dental work. Even after my C-section. Hypomania, which almost inevitably leads to a dangerous manic episode,  is not worth any amount of pain relief I might experience.

ANNNyway. That is neither here nor there. I wanted to answer the question about addictions, but I’m digressing from the primary thing that I wanted to discuss.

From a paragraph in the original blog post, written by All Things Chronic:

Since we seem to be in a never-ending political cycle, perhaps we should put more scrutiny on the addictions of our politicians.  I mean, if someone running for governor goes to church every day, ignoring the demands of the other areas of his life so he can worship his god, I think that would be an example of someone who is addicted to religion.

I bristled, because I would be considered by many to be a religious person. Perhaps I am even “addicted” to my religion. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I essentially attend church daily. I have even experienced withdrawal symptoms, so to speak, when I have backed off from practicing my faith for short periods of time. By that I mean that I experience more difficulty in my life, emotionally and even physically, and definitely, spiritually. My hands can even shake more (I have a tremor). I experience more anxiety, and I “need” my “fix.”

I rely on Jesus for many things – including my tolerance of pain. He helps me to bear it, to function, and even to bless other people when I am suffering. Whether it’s physical, spiritual, or emotional pain, He is there for me. He’s also provided a Book, the Bible, that gives me peace, and even – pain relief. “When all else fails,” there’s prayer. Of course, that should be my first defense, but I’m stubborn. .

Do I practice my “religion” to the exclusion of other areas in my life? Well, I suppose that depends upon your perspective. Matthew 6:33  says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All these things, to me, means “the demands of the other areas of [my] life.” Without Jesus, I will have no victory in anything else I seek to accomplish.

And, far above sustenance, there is the knowledge that there will come a day when Jesus will take me out of all this. The pain, the suffering and anxiety, the discouragement, and those days of mania. The stigma, the lost relationships, the confusion. Ooh, how often I long for and pray for that day! My hope is in eternity, where I will live forever joyous and pain free (physically and emotionally) with Jesus!

Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away .

I am reminded of the conversation that used to go around AA: “People say that I am brainwashed. So if that is true – that I’m brain washed – I am all for it – my brain NEEDED washing!” That’s even more true since I have come to know Jesus. My thinking process and behaviors as an alcoholic, and as the “natural man,” do not serve me any longer. And there are far more areas of my life that need work.
So I need a different way of thinking. And AA helped me with some of that change. But it did not provide for my eternity, and it was a different kind of dependence. For me, it was basically a band-aid. AA did start out as a program based upon Jesus and the Cross, called The Oxford Group. However, Alcoholics Anonymous became more secular, more humanistic, so that people would find it more palatable. A member in one of Maine’s local AA groups used to say that he would pray to a doorknob he named “George,” so that he was technically praying to “something.” Talk about idolatry! Apparently this “power greater than himself, as espoused in the AA program, kept him sober. He was unable to pray to a “god,” so this “god of his understanding” served him. How, I don’t know.
I think it’s a shame that the help so many desperately needed was dumbed down to the point of removing the hope of eternal salvation. Does AA serve any purpose? Oh yes – I was not ready for churchyness, and it kept me sober for a long time. Maybe God knew that I couldn’t stay sober and alive by conventional means. However, I shudder to think that I almost missed out on the whole point – Jesus!
I am still a whiny old brat sometimes in regard to my “hard life,” and I say that because in comparison to His suffering and dying on the cross for me, my angst and my pain are nothing. Isaiah 53:5  says: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Who can say that they have suffered like Him? I am not saying that I don’t have pain and suffering; I’m just saying that there are times when I do need to buck up and live. When I can’t, I can’t, but I can seek Him, and eventually I can crawl out of my misery. Or He drags me. Always. Suicide is not an option!
I’m certainly not saying I’m perfect, just because I am “religious.”  I’m not even wonderful, yet (lol). But I am better than I was, thanks be to God, and not by anything I have done! Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith;and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” And Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is a gift, not something I can earn.
I  have hope, even on my darkest days, even on those days when I push away all things “religion.” Thank God He never leaves me, even when I think I’m leaving Him!
And if that’s addiction, I’m all for it!
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17 thoughts on “My Jesus Addiction

  1. Jesse Walters

    Great post! While I enjoyed the whole thing, one point that stuck out to me was when you said “I am not saying that I don’t have pain and suffering; I’m just saying that there are times when I do need to buck up and live. ” I can really relate to that. Being a follower or Christ doesn’t make one perfect but it does give one the strength to make it through tough times. I’m truly grateful to have God in my life for many reasons, but that is one I fall back on quite a bit. He is the reason we are here today and gives me the motivation to keep going through life. You couldn’t have said it better, if it’s an addiction, I’m all for it!

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  2. georgetownrose

    Thank you for posting this, dear one. So much of “therapy” is all about functioning, isn’t it? Therapeutic models tend to steer us in the direction of becoming “addicted” to all kinds of mechanisms, philosophies, higher powers, and even dependent on medications–which may be necessary in many cases. My experience with therapies is that while there is a respect for my Biblical lens on life, it is only nominal in these conventional circles. And yet, here is where I FUNCTION best: living the life God has ordained for me with a lens on His sovereignty, grace, mercy, and care in and through the LIFE and work of Jesus Christ, my Lord. In the context of the political swirl going on around us, I believe that God is sovereign over all of what is unfolding before our eyes. Without that certainty, I could not function (I know, because I’ve been “there and back.”) So, that said, I’m sharing a quote that rings with Biblical significance for all in Christ Jesus for such a time as this: “The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present. Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song.” –J.R.R. Tolkien, “Fellowship of the Ring.” (Acts 2.42; Ephesians 5.18-21; Hebrews 10.23-25) I happen to like food, too. 🙂

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  3. stephieopolis

    Good post.
    I love when inspiration strikes like that.
    I will say that Ive grown up with very religious parents who attend church several times a week and it has placed a strain on the relationship. For example, choosing to attend for the 4th time that week instead of spending time with my sister or I, or my kids. I get it, but I dont sometimes.

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    1. kbailey374 Post author

      I didn’t get saved when Tom was little but I wish he had had a little of what you grew up with. He had NO boundaries, NO concept of authority. But as you are intimating there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Bottom line is, you didn’t get what you needed. 😦 That’s not right either. Are they still around that you can tell them?

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        1. kbailey374 Post author

          that’s good you can tell them. Sometimes people are just too awkward to be around other people; in church you are kind of “anonymous” and invisible … but it’s too bad, your kids will only be little once. And you as well!

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            1. kbailey374 Post author

              Holy moly! Well I don’t know what to say lol. I can imagine though it is hard to compete w/ that. (should I say that out loud?) Is that a full time thing? I’m sure a little workaholism could come into play with that. I shouldn’t say that either, I know a lot of nice, really nice, deacons, etc. But again, if he can’t be there for you that has got to be hard!

              My family was super religious (Catholic) til I was like 13. And after that I didn’t want much to do w/ God til I was 40. I was SOOO rebellious – I was a mess. (Still am but don’t tell anyone lol) – I’ve heard stories from Preachers’ kids and what not, so I am sure it is not easy on that end … well, I am babbling…

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              1. stephieopolis

                No, it’s his part time gig. He was just laid off from his full-time so it’s not as bad, but usually he’s doing both.
                He grew up Catholic as well, but when he left home attended AOG with Mom, That’s how I was raised. Now I find myself more in the Progressive Christian realm.

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  4. peggyricewi

    Addicted to Jesus – love it! Me too, and I wouldn’t have been able to get through life, especially these last 7 years, without His Presence in me. Depression is hard, but being addicted to Jesus means I was never alone, not even in the depths. There is no where that His love cannot reach!

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  5. lydiaa1614

    Thank you for this post! Very moving. I too have a Jesus addiction and am all the better for it. I know that God allowed me to go through all the challenges I did so that I would be strengthened and to be in a position to help others He puts in my life who have similar trials. God Bless you for recognizing all of this.

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