The Reality of Addiction
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. In fact, most of us have fallen subject to it in some form or fashion. Kara addresses this topic head on with grace and truth for us to walk in victory and help our kids do the same.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Matthew 6:24
We de-stress with Netflix, Xanax, phone-scrolling, a glass of wine, a video game or two or three… These coping behaviors can become habitual, and often addictive. We would be foolish to assume our kids will be immune to addiction. The odds are, our kids will be exposed to pornographic images, offered alcohol, and drugs won’t be far from access either.
Instead of focusing on keeping them from exposure, how do we equip our kids with skills to manage addictive tendencies?
- Pay attention to what they worship. God created us to take pleasure in His creation, but as humans, we have a tendency to depend on and abuse created things to be our peace, and as a result, make them an idol. We can shepherd our kids’ hearts to worship God alone by being attuned to various idols creeping into their lives. What are they unwilling to let go of? Where do they go for purpose? What do they obsess about? Do we notice any repetitive patterns or behaviors that could be destructive? Whether it’s a favorite toy, a social media account, a celebrity or relationship, youth are subject to idolizing people and possessions as much as we are. Let us be alert and aware of what is stealing their affection.
- Encourage moderation. “It is not good to eat much honey…” (Proverbs 25:27) Honey is good. It is sweet and tasty, however too much of any good thing could make us sick. We can develop the skill of practicing moderation with our kids by implementing healthy boundaries. Whether it’s limiting screen time or cookies after dinner or even upholding a curfew, we teach our kids healthy rhythms of interacting with the world around them. As our kids grow and mature, we can help them create their own boundaries.
- Equip them with healthy coping skills. “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) Worshipping idols before God rarely satisfies what we hope it will, and still, like a dog returns to his vomit, so we return to our vices. When our kids are bored, sad, angry or hopeless, we can encourage them to resist the temptation to indulge in their idols and rather cope in healthy ways. Instead of plugging them into a device or treating them to a cupcake, encourage them to draw a picture, talk things out, go for a walk, write in a journal or take a bubble bath. Help them build a database of healthy, life-giving ways to de-stress.
God is jealous for our affection. He wants all of us, because we are His. As we become aware of idols getting in the way of our relationship with Him, let us remember it is Him alone who satisfies.
Can you think of something that once you start it’s hard to stop? Maybe it’s eating potato chips, playing video games, or watching your favorite TV show. When we get hooked on something other than God and don’t or can’t stop, we get distracted from what is important. Only God can satisfy our longings. How can you stay hooked on Him?