Addictions in the Relationship (Part II): Filling the Emptiness


Alcohol is the noble addiction: “Who doesn’t drink?” “What’s wrong with a little drink now and then?” People make the claim that alcohol helps them to relax. “It makes me more comfortable around other people, and it helps me be who I am and removes my inhibitions. A drink now and then helps me to relieve my stress.”

“Drugs are not that big a deal.” Have you ever noticed that some people have no problem identifying certain sins as far worse than others? People naturally set boundaries on certain drugs, usually the ones they are not doing, but marijuana, for example, is “not a big deal.” “A little cocaine is not an issue for me. I know how to moderate.” I wish I had a nickel for every time the person sitting across from me has told me, “I can stop whenever I want to”—whether they were addicted to shopping or crack cocaine.

Shopaholics are a newer identified breed, those who love to go out and spend their money. The issue is not the importance or the desire for what they are buying, it’s all about the act of spending, spending, and more spending with little regard to whether they have money in their accounts.

These are but a few addictions, there are many, many more. The interesting thing about addictions is that they are all designed to fill an emptiness, a void in our soul. The root is always selfishness. For the addicted person, the addiction holds a place of importance above all else in their life.

In the marital relationship, addictions tear at the heart and foundation of your commitment. God, spouse, and children should have priority in a marriage. When you light up a joint in the garage when everyone else has gone out to the store, it means the joint is more important than the example you set to your family, especially the children. When you turn on the computer to browse the porn site you’ve visited so often, you intentionally put out of your mind the pain and insecurity you cause your spouse when they know exactly what you are doing. The damage is incredible.

Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself…   -Romans 15:2-3

When we come into marriage we make a commitment to the other person. We commit to be there in body and spirit. We vow to give each other to one another and sacrifice selfish ambition and desires of self-gratification. Our marriage vows do not state that the exception is when things are not going so well or when we simply don’t feel like it.

The true healing power of all addictions lies in our motivations to follow the addiction in the first place. We are choosing, selfishly, to meet our own needs, to deal with our pain by not dealing with it. Rather, we simply medicate in a variety of forms, all to the exclusion of our creator. We are choosing to fill that hole in our heart with anything and everything we can get ahold of, when the only thing that can make us complete and heal the pain in our heart is our Lord and Savior.

What fear prevents you from entering into a personal and transparent relationship with God?

In part three we will explore the other side of unhealthy addiction, the co-dependent.  We will also look at some resources for help.

Alcoholics Anonymous,

Alcoholics Anonymous Family Groups,

Narcotics Anonymous,

American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) for Christian individual and marital counseling in your area.  Contact:

©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design

Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.

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Filed under Addiction, Behavior, Character, Idolatry, Restoration, Selfishness

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