Q: Why is there so much addiction in the world? Does God give us an answer?
Since The Urantia Book offers no specific information regarding the word “addiction,” I turned to an online dictionary to gain a starting point for our discussion:
The American Heritage Science Dictionary :
A physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol. In physical addiction, the body adapts to the substance being used and gradually requires increased amounts to reproduce the effects originally produced by smaller doses. See more at withdrawal.
A habitual or compulsive involvement in an activity, such as gambling.
I agree with you that addiction is running rampant in our world today. It seems important to discover just why people become addicted before we can discern whether God has an answer for us.
I have a bit of experience with this subject, as I spent many years in 12-Step programs. My overwhelming addiction was to food, and at one time, I weighed nearly 250 pounds as a result. I could not stop eating. Today, I understand that my overarching need for great quantities of food was a direct result of my feeling of emptiness inside. I tried in vain to feed that emptiness with food. It did help in the short term, but of course, it was a dangerous and ineffective fix. Others feed their particular emptiness (the “hole in the soul “) with alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, rage, sex, or something else that ultimately proves to be a futile, and damaging, material answer to what I believe to be a spiritual problem. That empty feeling is evidence of the mortal creature’s need for awareness of their connection to God.
“The world is filled with hungry souls who famish in the very presence of the bread of life; men die searching for the very God who lives within them. Men seek for the treasures of the kingdom with yearning hearts and weary feet when they are all within the immediate grasp of living faith. Faith is to religion what sails are to a ship; it is an addition of power, not an added burden of life. There is but one struggle for those who enter the kingdom, and that is to fight the good fight of faith. The believer has only one battle, and that is against doubt—unbelief.” (159:3.8)
In our modern world, there are countless ways in which one can divert oneself, and one’s feelings of existential emptiness. But at the end of the day, no material substance can ever satisfy that hunger the way that God can—the way that religion can.
Many of our problems are a result of low self-esteem, childhood abuse issues, or just plain ingorance of the spiritual world, and the comfort and solace that can be found there. When one is in these states, one is not always able to see reason, and oftentimes, one relies heavily on one’s own misdirected will to handle life’s problems (the self-will run rampant). This is pretty normal, but not particularly sane—certainly not effective, if one is relying on one’s limited understanding , which may be tainted by the above issues.
Unfortunately, it is only when the addict begins to understand that s/he is out of control, and begins to suffer more from the addiction than from the underlying problem, that healing can occur. This is one reason that 12-Step programs are so helpful, for the number one step is an admission of one’s powerlessness over the addiction. After that, one learns to accept the possibility that there is a power greater than oneself, who can retore our sanity. And the third step is that leap of faith that says “I believe.”
The Urantia Book is clear about this point:
And what is true, good and beautiful? Only God, and the things of God, fit this description. And the integration of these qualities, found only in the spiritual experience of finding God, is the secret for treating, and ending, addiction. It is the secret to a happy life.
I am not here to tout the advantages of the 12-Step program—only to share with you my personal experience with it. Any mind-set which produces the spiritual experience will be effective—that mind-set that surrenders one’s need to know all the answers into the hands of one’s spiritual Parent. When once the addicted individual begins to recognize, and accept, the Presence of God in their own experience, unhealthy addiction of any sort can be healed. The hole in the soul is filled, self-esteem and sanity are restored, and the person can begin to rebuild their life on a solid foundation.