March 15, 2009


"Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15 (NRSV)

I'm an addict. I don't mean that in some vague, metaphorical sense. Which behavior or substance is irrelevant. In my experience, an addict is an addict.

And addiction, in my experience, is a new-fangled way of saying, "idol-worship."

In the ancient world, there was a real competition going on. Which god was the most powerful? Most people didn't want to take chances, so they worshipped as many gods as they could. Most gods were fine with this. The more the merrier.

God said, No. Not in Israel. The foundational prayer in Judaism is the Sh'ma: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates" (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NRSV).

I've been intensively working the 12 Steps these past several weeks. I'm on the verge of Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.

One piece of sure knowledge that God has revealed to me is that abstinence from addiction is his will for me. "For us," says Step 11. All of us? Us addicts. Us idol-worshippers.

The "Big Book," Alcoholics Anonymous says, "Half-measure availed us nothing." It's God or idols. Take your pick.

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