Addiction: Emotional Deficit Spending

addiction blog emotions god's goodness temptation Aug 11, 2021

To cope with the stresses of the COVID-19 quarantining over this last year, many Americans have turned to alcohol and even drug use. One survey of 1,000 people had more than half of them acknowledging an increase in their drinking patterns in the first month of quarantining last April 2020 as compared with their pre-quarantine patterns. The problem is that these substances are addictive and addiction has a way of making promises it can’t keep.


When we act on addictive impulses, it is like borrowing against future emotional resources. Having a few too many drinks to help us feel lighthearted or relaxed is like borrowing peace or joy from our future. Overeating as a source of comfort is like borrowing comfort from my (Alan) future and will lead to inevitable discomfort.


There is a physical reality that substance or behavior addictions stimulate or imitate certain brain chemicals in a way that causes those parts of the brain to function less effectively the next time. If I distract myself now to avoid unpleasant feelings, might I be borrowing concentration or attention from my future?


Addiction makes big promises that it can’t keep and actually delivers the very opposite of its claim. What a difference there is between the deficit-spending approach of addiction and the abundance orientation of overflow living and leading.


Reflection Questions 

  • What temptations have been especially hard for you to resist lately?
  • What good is temptation promising you but failing to deliver?
  • How might you find that good in God?


Photo by Valentin Lacoste on Unsplash