Gerald May, MD, in his book, Addiction and Grace, defines addiction as follows: ”Addiction is a state of compulsion, obsession, or preoccupation that enslaves a person’s will and desire.” There are many different types of addiction but they primarily fall into three categories:
- Addiction to a substance(s), such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, or caffeine.
- Addiction to a behavior, such as shopping, sex, pornography, gambling, work, and others.
- Addiction to relationships, such as codependency or domination/abuse of another person.
The essence of addiction is idolatry. We try to find fulfillment in a person, substance, or behavior and will do anything to satisfy that need, no matter what the cost. That cost could be our families, our bank account, our freedom (jail/prison), our health, or our lives. Any time we try to fill the hole in our soul with something other than God, it is a form of addiction.