From Where I Stand: Addiction

After researching America’s problem with gambling compulsion for the last three months, a helpful news item recently dropped into my lap, courtesy of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Under the heading, “Addiction redefined as a chronic brain disease,” the reporter describes the conclusions drawn by Dr. Michael M. Miller of the American Society for Addiction Medicine. “Addiction is about a lot more than people behaving badly," he suggests. He and his colleagues believe that all addictive behavior – overeating, drug abuse, gambling, etc. – occurs when appropriate parts of the brain are hijacked. While the advances of neuroscience are impressive, however, it is counterproductive to remove entirely the moral component of addictive behavior, especially when guilt and self-control can be important tools in prevention and correction. Paul wrote about food and marital sex, for instance: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything,” emphasizing the essentiality of learning self-control (First Corinthians 6:12, Galatians 5:23). Comparing enslavement to sinful and self-destructive behavior to physical disease tends to excuse the immorality and thwart the gospel’s potential to indicate a path of scriptural treatment.