addicted-lrgAre there hidden dangers lurking in your life?

If you’re struggling with a habit—whether it’s alcohol or drugs, shopping or hoarding, overeating or not eating, codependency or pornography—there may be dangers in your life that you’re not even aware of. 

The truth is your habit might actually be an addiction in disguise.  An addiction, though, always has warning signs.  So if you have a habit in your life that’s on the verge of getting out-of-control, watch out!     

We read in Proverbs 22:3: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”  In other words, wise people see the problems with sin and avoid it.  However, naive people walk right into it and suffer the consequences.

You, too, can avoid danger—just keep your eyes wide open!

10 Questions to Ask
So, are you an addict?  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I use it by myself? Someone who is struggling with a food addiction may prefer to eat alone, in the car, or late at night when everyone else is asleep.  Doing a habit alone may indicate that you’re developing an addiction.
  2. Is it something I do to escape? A teen may cut themselves as a way to escape pain.  If you turn to a habit to numb your pain, you may be struggling with an addiction.
  3. Am I spending less time with loved ones? An individual buys a lot of material possessions and hoards them.  Because their house is so cluttered with stuff, they stop going out.  Have you cut yourself off from others?  If so, you might have an addiction.
  4. Will I go through withdrawal if I stop? If someone struggles with an addiction to pain medication, they’ll go through severe withdrawal once they cut back or stop using them.  When you go through any type of withdrawal after you cut back or stop, it may be a sign of an addiction.
  5. Would I be ashamed if anyone found out? When someone struggles with pornography, they often hide it by deleting history from their computer or keeping a cell phone hidden from their spouse.  Hiding your habit reveals perhaps that it’s an addiction.
  6. Has my tolerance level increased? The more alcohol someone drinks, the more their tolerance level for it increases.  If you see your tolerance level has increased, be careful!  You may already have a full-blown addiction.
  7. Have I ever lied about it? Someone who gambles may lie to their loved ones about money.  On top of that, they might even steal money. Do you lie about your habit?  If so, you might be covering up for an addiction.
  8. Does it affect my job? Someone who struggles with drugs might get fired from their job.  Sure, your habit may seem pretty harmless.  But if you call in sick or see your performance suffering on the job a lot, it may be an addiction.
  9. Has my social life changed? Before an addiction with excessive exercising develops, someone might have a normal social life.  But after an addiction to exercise develops, they don’t have a social life because they spend several hours a day in the gym.  When your habit interferes with your social life, you could be struggling with an addiction.
  10. Can I stop anytime? If someone has a sex addiction, they think they can stop going to strip clubs or having one-night stands at any point. But even when they try to give it up, they get lured back in.  If you can’t stop a habit, that’s a red flag that you’re addicted.

The First Step to Getting Help
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be struggling with an addiction.  You’ll want to seek help from a licensed Christian counselor; however, if you’re struggling with a chemical dependency, you’ll need to go to a treatment center.

The most difficult step to getting help is to be honest and willing to admit you have an addiction.  What it boils down to is this: Accept that you have an addiction that has negatively impacted your life.  And realize you are powerless to overcome it.

The apostle Paul did a great job explaining this principle in Romans 7:18, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can’t.”

If you’ve trusted in Christ as your savior, He’s forgiven you of your sins.  But while you’re still here on earth, you’ll have your flesh to deal with.

Every. Single. Day.

What can you do? Simply admit that your habit isn’t a habit at all.  In fact, it’s really an addiction.  As a result, your life has become unmanageable and you need to get help.