Category Archives: Addiction

Addiction – killing its devotees even while pursued by them

The Greeks had a myth about a man named Erysichthon.  (In honor of my friend Tom Ewald, whom I have called “E” for years, Erysichthon will be called E for this blog.)  In a fit of audacity, E fell the tallest oak in “a grove sacred to Ceres.”  When told, Ceres ordered a dryad to “the bleak region where Famine dwells”, with a particularly vicious command; to wreak vengeance on the wicked mortal E by guaranteeing his starvation while “in the very act of devouring food.”

Famine obeyed.  She entered E’s bedroom as he slept, wrapped her “skinny arms around him” and so filled him with her “foul embrace” E became a Famine himself.  When he awakened, he felt famished and called for food.  But while he ate it ravenously, he felt desperately hungrier.  The more he ate the more he desired to eat, yet the greater his hunger grew.  The more he starved the thinner his body became.  Whatever he spent on food merely entered his stomach without strengthening his body.  In the end he bankrupted himself purchasing food that couldn’t satisfy him, and left him continually skeletal.  At last he died by devouring his own body.  (Mythology, pp. 284-285)

That myth sounds like someone read and purloined the account of Pharaoh’s dual dreams, Genesis 41.  But it’s a perfect picture of addiction today, whether to drugs, alcohol, food, smoking, gambling, sexual lust, or career.  Whatever in this world to which we become so enslaved that we MUST HAVE it or we die, will KILL!  For any earthly obsession weakens us as it’s placated and impoverishes us as it’s satisfied.

Only one exception to this rule exists; offering total, absolute, unyielding, radical devotion to God in Christ.  Because God in Christ is the SOMONE who enlarges our mind if we study him; enlarges our treasure if we give all we own to him; enlarges our energy if we exhaust ourselves in his service.  Jesus promised, and in promising, guaranteed:  whoever hungers and thirsts for him will be always filled, never empty; always nourished, never diminished; always robust, never reduced.