Is addiction primarily an emotional issue, medical, genetic, spiritual – or can it be a combination?
I’m going to share my perspective as a Christian Counselor/Deliverance Minister based upon experience in dealing with many who struggle with substance abuse.
While we respect the medical and secular realm’s efforts to helping people in bondage, our push at Above & Beyond is to help clients and seminar attendees deal with the spiritual realities in their lives.
Have you ever attended an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or similar type of meeting? Before and after the meetings, you will invariably see a large contingent of folks milling about outside smoking cigarettes or the newer electronic versions. Have you contemplated the reason why this type of behavior is frequently present?
Those of us who try to minister in the spiritual realm contend that what you are witnessing is a spirit of addiction at work. A person’s “drug of choice” may be alcohol, pot, crack, heroin, pills or the like, but the reality is that these people are at the meetings because they want to be set free from the torment of addiction.
While smoking cigarettes is arguably less destructive than ingesting cocaine, none would describe this as real freedom. Coping or managing is not part of the great victory on the cross where Christ took up all of our infirmities and afflictions.
What is a “spirit of addiction”? It is a demon spirit that resides in a person’s soul and its purpose is to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). It entered through one or more open doors; the list includes including generational curses, ungodly soul ties, abuse and trauma among others. It looks to get fed by tormenting the person’s thought life to engage in the behavior that will cause it to grow, just as Pinocchio’s nose when he told a lie.
Drive Out the Spirits of Addiction
I also believe that some are successful in starving out a demon, simply by not feeding it. For the most part though, most will wrestle and strive to maintain control over that demon where the real victory comes when it is gone!
This method requires the grace of God and great personal strength and conviction. I suggest that many who have diligently worked treatment methodologies, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, and others, have seen success this way.
One medical approach utilizes periodic injections for the patient that will make them violently ill if they consume alcohol. While this may be helpful for some, we have talked to others who relapsed regardless; the threat of impending sickness did not deter them from crossing over the line.
Another approach, utilized less frequently because of resistance in the Body of Christ, is simply to pursue the biblical mandate to drive out demons (Mark 16:17). This type of one-on-one ministry can be very useful and many deliverance ministries, including ours, have seen favorable results with willing clients and seminar attendees who stir up their faith for God to do a work.
There is a residential addiction treatment program in Central Florida that accepts men and women into a nine-month journey with Christ. They have two interesting features:
- going through deliverance is an initial requirement and,
- they do not allow cigarette smoking.
They have determined that it is one or more spirits behind the addiction so they all need to go so that the person can secure total freedom! Cutting off a weed at the ground does not kill it and merely sets the stage for new fruit in the future. Treating the symptoms of demonic strongholds or trying to manage a disease almost invariably leads to a similar result, with direr consequences.
If you, or someone you know, is battling an addiction, I would ask you to prayerfully consider the following:
- Don’t call the person an addict or tell them they have an addictive personality. The power of life and death is in the tongue and these are word curses. They should be called what God says they are! Here’s a handout we give to clients in the first session: “Who I Am in Christ“.
- Don’t let the “my addiction” phrase slide. People take ownership of their condition when they use that terminology and are word cursing themselves. That’s not who they are and the addiction is not theirs!
- Proactively engage in “binding and loosing”. Matthew 16:19 tells us that you can bind up the demons in another person and loose the Holy Spirit upon them. Here’s another article we’ve written on how to do that effectively: “Binding and Loosing, Why It’s Important”
- Pray for revelation and understanding that addiction is a spiritual issue and not medical. Jesus came to set the captives free and while there are physical, mental and emotional aspects to addiction, He wants to deliver and heal. Christians need to understand and stand upon this truth so they can appropriate His victory on the Cross.
- When the timing is right, pursue competent deliverance ministry as part of the process. Proper discipleship, follow-up, real accountability, and incorporation into a Bible-believing, Spirit-filled, Word-preaching church must be part of the continuing plan. Deliverance ministry is not a quick fix or magic bullet and wisdom must be exercised on the timing for this. Sadly, we have seen some who jumped into it before they were ready and the results were negative.For those who go through it, we emphasize emphatically that it can take up to six weeks to see the full fruit of deliverance and we know from the Bible that the demons are going to try to return to the house (Matthew 12:45-47). I contend that addiction spirits are more wicked than many others and they certainly are persistent. Discerning them, resisting them and keeping doors closed is vital.
Jesus came to set the captives free! Secular programs and tools are excellent when they are able to help people. Services and methodologies that are grounded in the word and power of God can yield abundant and enduring fruit if a person is willing to pursue that option.