First let’s look at religion. Religion is a set of beliefs, practices and, perhaps ritual based on what is known as worship. What is worship? Worship is respect and reverence for a god or power. Worship is a form of submission. There are places of worship where people of like beliefs go to be together to practice their beliefs and rituals. Also there is a form of worship ritual that says to go into your closet and be alone with God. Many people feel that they are called by God to worship and to go into places to share their beliefs. Belief in a religion supercedes other systems such as the way families are structured in order to conform to the rituals and purposes of the religion. Religions has been known to cause wars and deep divisions between countries and also families.
I have read in the Koran that people’s sole purpose on earth is to worship God. The Christian Catechism says our purpose is praise God forever. Perhaps there is truth in this although maybe misunderstood. What if the words were rearranged a little to say people will worship and praise a god? Perhaps that makes a little more sense.
Religion has recommended times of day for prayer and dates on the calendar for celebration some even get a feeling that tells them they need to pray, praise, or worship.
Now let’s look at addiction. Addiction has places to go and be together with others of like beliefs; bars for the alcoholic, drug dens and houses for the drug addict, casinos for the gambler, and churches for the religion addicted. Many people will also go into their closet to be alone to drink, use drugs, view porn, play video games and gamble on the Internet. Addicts get a signal or trigger that tells them it is time to partake in their addiction. For some this trigger is a time of day, date on the calendar, or feeling. Many people who are actively addicted feel they are celebrating when they are involved in the ritual of seeking their high. Some addicts actually call themselves atheist which to me seems utterly preposterous given what is known about religion and worship and how addiction compares to it.
There are as many ways to be addicted as there are people in my opinion. The list of addictive substances goes on an on. Let me list a few of the more commonly known addictive substances for you here:
- Drugs both street and prescription
- Sports or exercise
Is there one person on this planet who has not participated in at least one of these activities? Well everyone eats that is for sure with the exception of of maybe people who have no food or, are anorexic and are addicted to feeling empty and see themselves as fat. Even these people have eaten before at least once. I suppose that there could be someone who hasn’t ever loved but, I think it is doubtful.
There is a school of thought that says addiction is a family disease. But, like worship addiction forsakes all others. Many people feel that if they do something that is legal that it does not qualify as addiction. After all who is doing anything illegal if they eat , go to church, or get a prescription drug from their doctor? Many of these types of addicts condemn the poor prostitute standing on the corner and they do not compare what they are doing to the down trodden homeless alcoholic or prostitute standing on the corner. They are just practicing their religion and are completely submitted to their god, what’s wrong with that?
In the past century there have been organizations started in order to try and curtail addiction such as AA, NA, and GA. Drunk drivers get court ordered to attend AA meetings and people arrested on drug charges are mandated to attend NA meetings. The proclaimed atheist often say that these organizations are too religious for their taste and people who claim to have a Higher Power often relapse back into using their drug of choice.Then there are others who make their AA, NA, GA, and SA meetings their religion and forsake all others for the sake of their recovery including their families. Family members are usually relieved that their loved one has found recovery are told to mind their own business and keep the focus on themselves while their addicted loved one learns to live one day at a time. Often families fall apart while the loved ones are in a recovery program. Often the loved one finds a lover while going to recovery meetings who whispers in their ear that they have a right to live their own private life.
Addiction is obsession and one can usually find an always or never associated with the activities involved in searching for whatever is used to satisfy the obsession. The crack addict always has to call their dealer which is kind like saying a prayer. Perhaps they will never let anyone see them performing their ritual of preparing to use. Which is a lot like going into the closet. The religious addict will always go to church on Sunday.
In conclusion my comparison of addiction and religion is that both have rituals, both have submission and both are about devotion to the exclusion of all others.
Thank you for reading this I hope there is food for thought here for the ones struggling to free themselves of addiction and for those who love them.
Lisa L. Roberts