A Definition of Addiction

Inconsolable pain, the kind that drives away every vestige of happiness and renders us incapable of fully enjoying any pleasure, can be handled only be discovering a capacity for a different kind of joy. That is the function of pain, to carry us into the inner recesses of our being that wants God. We need to let soul-pain do its work by experiencing it fully.

If we deny how badly we hurt, we remain unaware of our desire for God and aware only of lesser desires. When those lesser desires are the only ones we actually feel, they inevitably become compulsive demands. An addiction begins.

We need God. He is all we need. But until we realize that fact, we experience lesser desires as needs and devote our energy to arranging for their satisfaction. That defines addiction.

(Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams [Colorado Springs, Co: WaterBrook Press, 2001], 85-86.)

This article appeared in the Fall 2001 issue of Eternal Perspectives.