Quotes, Ramblings, Reading Reflections

On substituting addictions

Reformation of behavior usually involves substituting one addiction for another, adapting to a new, possibly less destructive normality. … In addition to minimizing withdrawal symptoms, the substitution of one normality for another allows us to avoid the open, empty feeling that comes when an addictive behavior is curtailed.  Although this emptiness is really freedom, it is so unconditioned that it feels strange, sometimes even horrible.  If we were willing for a deeper transformation of desire, we would have to try to make friends with the spaciousness we would need to appreciate it as openness to God.  Because openness to God is threatening, and because our desire is more to overcome an addiction than to claim our deeper desire for God, we fill the space with something else.  In so doing, we assent to continued slavery under a new master who, we hope, will be kinder.

– Gerald May, Addiction and Grace, 148.

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