Addiction and Addictive Agents

When most of us hear the word addict, we think of someone addicted to a chemical substance. However, addiction isn’t limited to just substance abuse.

ADDICTION: An article by Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth, and Paul Meier; from The Answer Bible

Can any human activity become an addiction? Yes. When carried to an extreme, any behavior can veer out of control and become the dominant, driving force in a person’s life. It can master her. It can consume him.

Whatever the habit, the two-step pattern is always the same. The first phase is the mental preoccupation – the obsession. The thought of the activity gabs hold of the person and preoccupies him or her to the exclusion of everything else. The person cannot shake loose of it. At this point the shopaholic is absorbed, even obsessed with the idea of a buying binge. She wants to acquire, collect and possess. In the case of the relationship addict, he is obsessed with the notion of taking charge of the relationship, and perhaps even taking charge of the other person. After obsession comes the second phase: acting out the obsessive thought. This action is the compulsion. The relationship addict or the shopaholic loses control, gives in to the mental preoccupation, and is compelled – even driven – to do whatever he or she feels necessary. She shops. He flirts. Or, in the case of other addictions, he or she might exercise, work, worry, scrub, or gulp mega-vitamins incessantly.

The list of compulsions is practically endless. Here is a list of some of the most common compulsions divided into six groups:

  • Money matters
  • Health and wellness
  • Work and play
  • Service and voluntarism
  • Relationships
  • Perfectionism

Related Bible Text: Proverbs 25:28; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Romans 6:11-14; Philippians 2:13-15

Addictive Agents

No, not secret agents, addictive agents. You know, those persons or things upon which we form an excessive dependency. The catalog of addictive agents includes:

1) Alcohol or drugs

2) Work, achievement, and success

3) Money addictions, such as overspending, gambling or hoarding

4) Control addictions, especially if they surface in personal, sexual, family, and business relationships

5) Food addictions

6) Sexual addictions

7) Approval dependency (the need to please people)

8) Rescuing patterns toward other people

9) Dependency on toxic relationships (relationships that are damaging and harmful)

10) Exercise and physical conditioning

11) Cosmetics, clothes, cosmetic surgery, trying to look good on the outside

12) Academic pursuits and excessive intellectualizing

13) Religiosity or religious legalism (preoccupation with the form and the rules and regulations of religion, rather than benefiting from the real spiritual message)

14) General perfectionism

15) Cleaning and avoiding contamination and other obsessive-compulsive symptoms

16) Organizing, structuring (the need always to have everything in its place)

17) Materialism

Adapted from the book;  SERENITY – A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery
by Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Richard Fowler
Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers

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