Many people see addiction . . . as a character flaw or a bad choice. They don’t recognize that addiction is in fact a chronic disease of the brain.” That statement by Vivek Murthy, surgeon general of the United States, reflects the current medical and scientific consensus about addiction. Murthy and others believe the language of moral choices only increases shame and decreases funding for more scientifically rigorous treatments. To make progress in saving lives, they argue, we need to change the way we think about addiction.
In fact, we need to recognize at least four dimensions in addiction: moral, social, biological, and spiritual. Addicts are moral agents, in community, with biology working against their spiritual goals. Biological science gives us insight into the particular ways an addict’s body makes a normal life that much harder to live. Public health can describe how a community and its institutions make recovery more accessible to people trapped in addiction. A moral framework helps us understand how addiction harms ourselves and the people we love, while also providing the basic routines of living free. Most importantly, spirituality helps us to understand God’s love for everyone (no matter how lost they are) and gives us the power to live healthy, whole lives.
Read more at Christianity Today.