Hell is defined as a state of separation from God; exclusion from God's presence. For those of us consumed by the grips of an addiction, it certainly is. Addiction, whether it be from a substance like alcohol, drugs, or food, to a behavior such as sex, viewing pornography, technology/ gaming, or shopping, the behaviors certainly do separate us from a "power greater than ourselves." These behaviors bring relief for the user. A separation from what haunts them, whatever that may be.
In our western culture there seems to be a "quick fix" for any type of discomfort. We don't like to sit in any feelings, or situations that disturb us. Whether it is from a present relationship or a past memory. This release soon becomes a self-imposed prison. A dark place where there doesn't seem to be a way out. A sick cycle.
Society in general sees it as a weakness. What many do not understand is that the addict has lost the power to choose, once the addiction has taken over. The relief is constantly on their minds. This relief soon turns into an obsession, and a destructive prison that they feel they cannot get out of.
Addiction takes with it the addict, the family, and friends leaving destruction in its path. As one alcoholic put it, "I drank from the bottle until the bottle drank form me." I like to think of addiction as a "Dementor," from Harry Potter. It is a non being that is considered one of the foulest in the world. It feeds upon human happiness, and causes depression and despair to anyone near them. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is costly to our Nation, exacting more than $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care.* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive Drinking Costs U.S. $223.5 Billion. More young adults use prescription drugs non-medically than any other age group. Many souls are dying every day from addiction.
I recently celebrated my freedom from alcohol, five years of a life worth living and loving. Even during the most difficult times. Through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, I came from a life of struggling to be free, to a life in which I am free to struggle. In my opinion, the world could use the 12 Steps to help everyone live a more peaceful and full life.
It is my hope to help others. To pass on the Good News!
Peace and Presence. -Patty K.