If you have never faced the anguish of addiction, it is hard to imagine the impact it can impart on a family’s life. It turns their world upside down and every day hedges on a potential downward spiral of no return.

I lived the word addiction for over 30 years. Not street or prescription drugs, but nicotine. My morning ritual began with a cigarette and cup of coffee. It was a four cigarette drive to work and back; and at least 20 cigarettes in between. I can’t tell you the number of times that I had two cigarettes burning at the same time. There were numerous burns holes in the carpet and it is a miracle I didn’t start a house fire.

I remember lying in bed at night wheezing and coughing; vowing to never smoke another cigarette. But as the morning coffee was brewing, I would light up a cigarette. The promises I made the night before were long forgotten.  I was caught in a web of addiction and the endless cycle was repeated daily.

I remember reading a medical report claiming nicotine to be as addictive as heroin. I have never used heroin, so I can’t attest to the validity of that claim. I can only share my view of addiction based on my own experiences and my inability to control how I used something to help me cope with daily life.

I don’t believe addictions or any other emotional and physical issues we suffer in this earthly life are things God wishes on us. That would negate the very reason Jesus died on the cross.  It was the cross that gave us a prescription for a new life and an opportunity for healing. However, if we fail to fill the prescription, we become overcome by our afflictions.

God knows our addictions and is ever mindful of the heartache and battles we face each day. The true intentions of our heart and our silent pleas for help are always before Him. ”Even in death, God is stands ready to say, “You fought a good fight, I know your heart; you did your very best.

It becomes so easy to judge the addictions of others based on our assumptions.  I am thankful the word ‘assumption’ is not found in God’s vocabulary. We are not God nor are we in the position to judge the heart of others.  We can’t fight the addictions that consume someone we love; but, we can be there to offer encouragement, prayer and recovery options.

If you or someone in your life is faced with an addiction, seek help. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, but recognize that every step forward is a step of hope. And one thing is certain; hope is in God’s vocabulary.

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