Everyone is designed with an instinct to worship and to be reverent, but the object of your worship and reverence is up to you. Many people are not necessarily conscious of this. They adopt whatever belief system was passed down to them and never make informed decisions about what they worship. Or, others may not have any kind of organized belief system, and turn the center of their worship to something they simply enjoy or value tremendously. The more conscious you are of what it is that you worship, the better off you are.
Those who worship something in an organized, conscious and deliberate fashion are usually religious. This does not mean that all religious people have a healthy practice of worship. Obviously, some religious people do not exercise any real intelligence or spirituality in their religion. What this means is that the most conscious form of worship takes place in either a religious or deeply spiritual context because it is the type of worship that require the most thought and understanding.
Then there are those who worship in a loosely focused way. They worship what they are passionate about, or what they derive a sense of reverence from, such as nature or art. These things inspire feelings of spirituality within them. They have not necessarily organized their thoughts on why they are moved to a sense of spirituality, they simply know that they have reverence toward something, so it becomes the object of their worship, meaning they devote their time, money, thoughts and energy into it.
And lastly, there are those who are grossly misplacing their sense of worship by focusing it on something unworthy of worship, such as an addictive substance or process. This often has more to do with not thinking carefully than it does making defiant decisions. Everyone has things they crave and struggle to personally moderate, but when the object of addiction becomes a person’s object of worship, it is best they rethink their priorities right away.
Whether or not you believe in God, you must be aware of what you treat like God. Everyone worships something because it is our human nature to do so. What is it that you worship? People who struggle with addiction have their answer already. Addiction replaces the role that God is meant to fill in a person’s life. People serve, focus on, crave and become emotional over their addiction. Consider what God is meant to be to us. We are meant to serve Him, focus on Him, crave His presence and be emotionally invested into Him. Addiction stands in they way of this all too important relationship.
When you are addicted, you serve your addiction with your entire life. Everything about the way you live is a testament to how much you love your addiction. You arrange your time around it, you budget your money for it, you bring it into conversations with your friends and family and you dream away about it when you do not have access to it. Your life is meant to revolve around your Creator in order to be healthy, but instead, it revolves around addiction, which makes you unhealthy.
When you are addicted, the object of your addiction is your focus. God is meant to be your ultimate focus, and in order to serve him well, you are meant to lend your focus where it is required, for instance, to your life’s purpose, your health, your relationships and your spirituality. When addiction is your life’s focus, all of our priorities are skewed. The way you look at your life and the world are toxic. You are in the habit of devaluing things that matter deeply to your life, and overvaluing things that are unimportant in their place.
When you are addicted, your cravings are uncontrollable and are constantly sucking up all your energy. When you crave God, you are seeking him, which is the most natural spiritual state to be in. Heavily craving anything but God is dangerous to your soul. So is becoming emotional about your addiction. Your emotional faculties are unhealthy if your addiction is what moves you to emotion. Making God the center of your emotional life will ensure that your emotion is always focused where it should be.
The idea of worshiping a golden idol is from biblical times, but the practice of it is still alive and well. What could better define the worship of false idols than addiction? In the bible, the term “golden idol” is used to mean anything we put above God in our lives. The Egyptians, Neo-Babylonians and other nations would erect golden statues to represent their gods, and it was often a crime not to bow before them. Worship of these false gods instead of the one true God would lead to personal demise, according to the bible.
In the present time, false idol worship is an old adage, and quite correctly represents everything that addiction is. It does not refer to a mere fondness for something unworthy of praise, it refers to a reverential worship of something unworthy of worship. Addiction drives a person to crave something so strongly that they are willing to serve it with their whole person in order to have access to it. For example, in cases of severe alcoholism, alcoholics will frequently organize their time, energy and money around alcohol. They are always sure to have funds for alcohol. They plan their days around drinking and will frequently avoid events that will inhibit their plans to drink. If anything unpredictable or stressful happens, they feel an overwhelming need to comfort themselves with alcohol. If drinking begins to harm their relationships, they will concoct elaborate schemes to hide their drinking from view of the people in their lives. Imagine, this incredible amount of thought and energy expended on serving a substance instead of the Creator of the Universe. This is the very epitome of worshiping a golden idol.
Though this phrase is commonly used with a severe connotation, conjuring up images of fire and brimstone as punishment for worship of a false idol, it is interpreted differently in modern times. The merciful and selfless life of Christ shows us that God does not desire punishment for us, but rather health, hope, joy and prosperity. God created us to worship him and to find fulfillment in him, so when we turn from him and place our adoration on something else, we are essentially doing something that is unnatural and toxic to ourselves. God does not want to condemn us, he wants to redeem us. He warns us to rebuke false idols – money, fame, glory, sex, drugs, alcohol – so that we will not become lost and fall into despair, but instead become rich in the spirit and pure of heart so that we may receive everlasting life in paradise with Him.
If you are ready to let go of your false idols and move on from your addiction, do not do it alone. Christian alcohol rehabilitation services and other addiction treatment options are available to help you remember the truth of God’s love for you and to help you through your recovery remembering your identity in Christ.
The first thing you should do in your addiction recovery is receive professional help. Your loved ones are there to support you and you will critically need them as you recover, but when your recovery is in its infancy, it needs to be nurtured by a professional. Do not hesitate to reach out to the services of a professional detoxification center for substance abuse, and a residential rehabilitation center to begin an addiction treatment plan. Addiction counselors and mental health professionals will help you discover the underlying reasons for your addiction problems so that you can overcome them, but you have to be a willing participant in order for it to work.
It is very common of an addict to be in denial of their addiction. Admitting that one has an addiction means admitting that they have a weakness, and people do not like to do this. People also do not like to ask for help, which is another integral part of admitting to addiction. In order to recover from addiction, the addict needs to learn how to receive help from an addiction specialist and from their personal support system. Recovery is not meant to be something you do alone.
Once you have received the help of addiction professionals in getting through the most critical parts of your addiction, you need to learn to receive help from the support systems in your life. This is typically your family and friends. In a majority of cases, it was the addict’s family and friends that wanted them to enter addiction treatment, and they will be very responsive to the addict’s needs for support and adjustment to their lifestyles. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a good support system though. Sometimes addiction or negative reinforcement comes from within the support system, in which case, the addict needs to find a new support system. Overtime, the addict will learn how to trust, care for and respect themselves, while still accepting love and help from their support system.
The term “false idol worship” comes from the biblical book of Exodus. Moses had lead the Israelites out of Egypt, and instead of worshiping God, they erected golden statues such as that of a calf and bowed down before them. This excerpt from the bible came to epitomize the worship of anything that is not God, which is surprisingly still very relevant in modern times. Spirituality is at an all time low in our society and many choose not to believe in any kind of spiritual realm, so what was once called worship is now called addiction: when you are focused on something to the point of serving it. Scripture says that serving anything but the one true God will only end in destruction and desolation.
When you compare worship to addiction, the similarities add up quickly. Both create reverence, adoration, obsession and devotion within a person. The real question is, what is the object of worship? Worshiping a perfect, loving God can only result in reward to the life of the spirit, where as worship of anything else is detrimental. We were created to worship God, so anything else in His place, even things that are neutral and have no intelligence such as trees and the sky, can take on a toxic role in our lives if we worship them. However, if we turn our devotion to something that can truly be dangerous, such as drugs or alcohol, not only will the life of our spirits be ruined but our physical health will deteriorate as well, eventually resulting in death if the obsession is allowed to become extreme enough.
Replacing God with anything else will result in pain and destruction. There is nothing that can satisfy our spiritual needs except God. This is true even for those who do not believe in Him. Everyone has a God-shaped hole in their hearts and their subconscious searches for him, even if their conscious mind does not.
An amazing thing happens the moment you decide to stop serving your addiction: you liberate yourself. True, you may relapse and backslide more than once, but in the decision to fight your addiction comes the seed of hope that will enable your recovery. Do not be discouraged if you break your recovery. Failure is nothing but a chance to start again with a better understanding.
When you first discover the thing that you will become addicted to, you have a love affair with it. You believe that the object of your addiction could never possibly do you wrong, and indulging in it will bring you nothing but good feelings. Soon enough, though, the addiction begins to turn on you. People in your life notice a change in you. They wonder why you are not acting like yourself. Those who know what your addiction is are concerned for you. And you begin to notice changes in yourself as well. You do things that concern yourself, like indulging in your addiction when you know it is not appropriate. You possibly even impair yourself in a situation where you know you could cause harm to yourself or others.
However, you believe that you are the master of yourself. You couldn’t possibly be an addict. You realize that you have made some bad decisions in the past, but you believe you are in control enough to stop them. Denial is truly an ugly thing. You decide to take a break the object of your addiction to prove these falsehoods to you. You have success for a time. You pat yourself on the back for knowing yourself so well. Then out of no where, the cravings begin to build, the stressful life events accumulate, and the opportunity to indulge arises at seemingly the perfect moment. You take the bait with ferocity and wake up to feelings of heavy shame.
Some people continue in this cycle for a long time. Some people decide that they cannot beat their addiction and accept it as part of their lifestyle until it ruins them or kills them. And some recognize it for what it is and decide that is has to come to an end. The people that arive at this conclusion are blessed with the potential to regain their lives and begin the restorative journey of recovery.