Ever turn to a toxic habit to escape? Steve Arterburn describes it this way, “Addiction is a radical commitment to escape reality.” In many ways, addiction is like chasing after the wind—one can feel the wind but never hold it.
Addiction always begins as an experiment. Someone starts by trying to taste life’s pleasures and find fun and excitement to escape their pain. They attempt to find fulfillment by using drugs, alcohol, overeating, shopping, porn, working excessively, or something else.
Though they find temporary relief from the pain by using what they believe they can control, the pain returns, and it’s much worse than before.A person stuck in addiction feels high temporarily—but later, they drop so low that they must use just to feel normal again.
In the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, the phrase “chasing the wind,” is used seven times. It is a metaphor for pursuing futility. The theme of the book shows how Solomon, the author, set out to taste all of life’s pleasures. He even had the means to do so without any limit. He systematically used his addiction to alcohol, overworking, power, greed, and vast sexual exploits with numerous women to find meaning and purpose in life. But he never found meaning in these things and ended up worse off than when he started.
Solomon explains why it’s meaningless to look for purpose in the wrong places:
Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.—Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NLT
But Solomon, thankfully, discovered he had been searching in all the wrong places and that the real purpose of life was not found in pleasure. At the end of Ecclesiastes, in chapter 12 verses 13-14, he writes, “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
Addiction typically is about escapism, avoiding reality, and denying there is a problem. When an addict enters treatment to overcome their addiction, they must see reality as it is. This can be very difficult. For help, contact New Life Ministries by calling 800-NEW-LIFE or clicking here.
Like Solomon, the world is full of people chasing after the wind but going nowhere fast. Anyone who runs after fulfillment in pleasure will miss the opportunity to discover their true purpose and contentment until they stop running from their pain and turn to face it.
Adapted from The Life Recovery Devotional.