By Gerald G. May

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Extra info for Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus)

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D. / 23 scription. She called her doctor, who scolded her for exceeding the recommended dosage and told her to stop the drops entirely. But Sally was feeling desperate. ” she shouted. But the doctor refused and said to have faith; if she left her nose alone it would clear up in a day or two. Sally argued and pleaded, but the doctor remained adamant. Finally, angry but defeated, Sally had no choice but to leave her nose alone. It was not easy. At first her nose just seemed to get worse, and Sally became increasingly irritable and restless.

As I said, the five characteristics of addiction can be used to identify areas of addiction in our own lives and to distinguish these addictions from free desires and love. As an example, let us look at the universal human search for security. Even the most well adjusted or spiritually mature of us can identify some addictions within this arena of life. The monotheistic religions are unequivocal in stating that we can and should trust in God for our ultimate security. Jesus even went so far as to say we need not worry about possessions or practical needs for the future.

It starts out very normally, with the natural joyfulness of liberation. “I can do it! I have done it! And it wasn’t even that difficult! Why, I actually don’t even have any desire for a drink anymore. ” Before long, the natural joy will undergo a malignant change; it will be replaced by pride. The fall begins, in a day or a week or a few months, with the recurrence of an impulse to have a drink or a fix. It comes subtly and innocuously, certainly not as a conscious desire to resume the whole pattern of addictive behavior, just to engage in it once.

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