The ARM of St. Michael
Addiction is a word derived from the Latin verb addicere, to say or declare. In the English language, as early as the 1520s, "addicted" meant a professing of peculiar devotion to something, perhaps in mild guilt or bold ignorance. To declare something this way was to simply make it known or to confirm its reality, perhaps a way of proudly establishing some kind of personal identity.
By the early 20th century "addict" was attached to behavioral problems, distortions of physical being that reveal crippling dependence, choiceless slavery. In five centuries "addiction" went from confessed weakness to helpless madness and deadly sin.
There is always a temptation to assign the physical realm more power than the spiritual realm, and at the same time to lose the notion of sin. There may be a time when, because of living one flawed reality most of our lives, the frailty of distorted flesh seems permanent and insurmountable.
But if there is ever going to come actual liberation, there has to be faith and desire that complete restoration is possible. Jesus taught, "For men this is impossible, but for God nothing shall be impossible". If we don't have that kind of faith, we need to ask for it. If we can't ask for the faith to be healed, we have to ask the hard question, do I want to be well? If we do not, we pray: Lord, help me to want to be well.
Deliverance from addiction can be partly assisted by, for example, medical means, but our Savior did not come preaching utter powerlessness in the flesh. He can grant every gift of self-mastery. Just as the reality of God to a former atheist is escorted by the discovered choice to believe in God, healing is a choice issuing from the eminence of God's Spirit over all things, which is greater than even the material universe, and certainly greater than flesh. The God of Creation has no less power to be the God of Re-Creation.
As the heart opens beyond human skepticism and doubt, into the miraculous, the supernatural, into God's kingdom, there may come a day when we declare "In the name of Jesus I renounce the spirit of addiction and I command it to leave immediately and quietly and never to return." If God fulfills the request, in measure to our faith, will not a great reassessment of previous errors, unbelief and painful waiting, be joyfully in order?!
In our recovery, there will be many tangible prescriptions to implement to rebuild our health, and which will always also require the grace of God coming to us through His Son. We are not slaves of the material, but we may come to realize that addiction is a sickness of soul, a missing conviction or insufficient desire for freedom. There is a sickness that weakly claims "I cannot be made well". God can heal that too.
Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14). The Church has a sacrament waiting for us, the anointing of the sick. While not necessarily a last resort even despite its long held title "extreme unction", connoting its use lest death quickly descend, God can work the miracle, if only there is humble faith, a thorough examination first of all other remedies in the Church, a readiness to be given over completely to His plan for our life, and if it is His will at this time. But Jesus also said, "believe it will be done for you and it will". The Father wants all His children to be well. And He grants a perfect response to our faithful prayers, in His time.
St. Therese of Lisieux said, "I assure you that God is much better than you believe." That gives us great hope.
Dear God Help us to confess our wrong understandings about You, about ourselves and about our walk into the fullness of health and faithful service. For those of us Father who do not want to be well, fill us with desperation to be well. We beg in Jesus name. Amen.