The ARM of St. Michael
Addicts struggle with disordered thoughts and actions. As sin, the first is the internal torment of obsession, the second the 'external' failure of compulsion. Obsession precedes compulsion and both are unfree.
Obsession is a mind unable to be free from a continuous, painful, unwanted thought or awareness.There is a struggle centered in control. The obsessive person gains freedom by surrendering what is uncontrollable to God.
Deep down it is human to want control. Control is safety from what can't be defeated by human effort. Obsession is an experience that painfully reveals my human powerlessness. The addict would like to control his human mind so that he will not have exposure to the cruel poisonous candy of unholy mental fixations.
Obsession seduces one to undergo a seizure by poison, because it is pleasurable, intoxicating, makes one drunk. There is dread from its presence. "I would like to control this stimulant out of existence, so that I am not tormented by it anymore."
We would like to control any experience's ability to harm or enslave. The remedy can be received, yet the remedy cannot be caused by human hand. Obsession and compulsion are not of God; they are of the enemy.
Obsessive compulsive experiences are significant of a deeper sign. We need God, not just to be safe from self-destruction, but for a fulfilling meaningful life. We cannot work the addictive problem out on our own.
Even if we can receive freedom from a sinful behavior, an even more dramatic horizon eventually appears. Sin renders the sinner selfish and afraid. Beyond the sorrow of sin presents the question "Can you surrender the obsessive compulsive experience of your self to Me?"
The narrow way is narrow because it excludes the broad way of obsession, ego, all that is self-claimed, self-ruled, self-controlled, or self-reliant. The narrow way excludes all of our bloated selves.
In writing on faith, Pope Benedict referred to "the exodus of coming out of ourselves, from our certainties, from our own mental framework, to entrust ourselves to the action of God." Recovery is freedom from the false erasure of self - by the oblivion of intoxication, into the true erasure of self, "I" no longer live but Christ lives in me, fulfilling God's plan.
If I want freedom from obsession, I must want even freedom from the addiction to my self. Obsession is a kind of inconvenient proof of still being stuck in a small self. Being emptied out and transformed, of truly and actually dying to self is scary and painful.
But this is surely the deepest teaching of the cross. There is no way out except through a cauterization, a cleansing by fire, an immolation of the insecurity of "me". Being born into a true self, a self in no other thing but God, is our hope of new life. Our trust then is that He leads us through it all.
Holy Trinity lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven, give us the will and the strength to heal and to be made new. We beg in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.