Addicted to Addictions?

The argument comes in various forms but it goes something like this (courtesy of a previous comment from Shieldsy):

We’re all slaves to something or someone. We’re never free, we simply get the occasional opportunity to choose/change our master. You’ve simply replaced your slavery to churchianity with something else.

Another comment from Josh S makes the same argument, just phrased differently:

Everyone is dependent on something. It’s just a question of what. I have found that the world outside the church is not full of free thinkers, but on people who are dependent on a whole host of other things for very similar sorts of things, whether a political party, a business mantra, or a political candidate.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject and these comments since they were posted, thinking about myself and asking, “What or who am I a slave too? What or who am I dependent on? Is this idea true in my life?”

When Shieldsy made his statement, I suggested that we might view this idea differently if we substituted the word “addict” for slave. The same is true for Josh S’s comment. I wonder, is it really true that everyone is a slave? Are we all dependent? In essence, are we all addicts to something, but some addictions are healthy and others are not?

It’s been well documented that those with addiction problems tend to switch addictions albeit from something that may be more harmful to something viewed as less harmful. Many go from booze to God. Others might go from gambling to sex. And I challenge you to go to an AA or NA meeting anywhere and not find at least 90% of the people smoking cigarettes before or after the meeting.

I fear Shieldsy and Josh S. are right. Apparently most people are slaves and have become dependent on something or someone. As Josh said, “The world outside the church is not full of free thinkers.” But does that make it right?

Personally I don’t think it’s healthy to have a slave mentality, regardless of ideology, philosophy or religion. I don’t want to be dependent on something outside of myself for my happiness or contentment. Addiction to anything or anyone is unhealthy regardless of the spin you want to place on it.

After much thought, I’m convinced that I haven’t replaced churchianity in my life with slavery to anything else. Maybe someone can prove me wrong, but I can’t think of anything. Also, I personally don’t use the term “free thinker” since my thoughts don’t exist in a vacuum, but I do consider myself a reflective thinker.

I certainly wish at times I could have the simple mind of a slave. Or maybe it’s just that eventually a person just stops thinking and acquiesces to their captors. It would also be nice to be completely dependent on someone or something to bail me out when life gets tough, but in my experience life doesn’t work that way. And recently, I have discovered that I am not powerless over the things and people I felt I needed to cope with life’s stresses. Creating, clearly stating and keeping good boundaries has been the key in my own personal recovery towards contentment.