OMG. Ok, so I just finished watching this documentary on YouTube called 'My Strange Addiction'. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's a TV show that airs in the US which shows individuals with unusual addictions. Part of me feels guilty that I'm giggling a bit while typing about this. I'm really not laughing to be horrible; it's just that the addictions are so odd that laughter is an automatic response. Actually, I feel compassion towards the people featured on the show and I'll explain why later on. But before that I'll tell you about the individuals.
The show featured two young women. The first is a young lady who drinks gasoline. Yes, you read that right. She swigs up to 12 teaspoons of petrol a day. She said she has always loved the smell of gasoline and used to sit behind her mother's car as a child to smell the exhaust fumes. (!!!) One day her smelling ritual made the natural progression to wanting to taste it. At the time of taping the show, she had consumed up to 5 gallons of gasoline from the onset of her addiction.
The second young woman's addiction could arguably be more disturbing than the gasoline guzzling. You decide. Here goes. This woman - wait for it - walks around with an eyeless baby doll head, which she has had since childhood. Which she sniffs constantly throughout the day. At dinner. While driving. Even DURING SEX. (I feel far less guilty laughing about this one, LOL). At the end of the show, both women sought help for their addictions. After seeing a doctor and learning that she had developed nerve damage and an enlarged liver, the gasoline girl completely stopped her addiction. An epilogue about the doll head girl said, 'Lacey has cut back on smelling the doll head,' (a statement which, despite my best intentions, elicits laughter every time, LOL).
Well, before anyone considers me cruel for laughing I'll begin my thoughts by admitting this. I actually love the smell of petrol. I always have. No lie. I'm not addicted to it and I don't sit dreamily behind exhaust pipes. But I do always take in a deep breath when I'm filling up my car. I swear, LOL. So, in no way do I look at the first girl with any sense of condemnation or superiority whatsoever. To be honest I was quite surprised to hear of anyone else having the same proclivity. As for the doll head sniffing, I share no such inclinations, LOL. But I genuinely get the idea of never wanting to let go of something that brought a great deal of comfort in one's childhood.
It's easy to giggle at these addictions (which shamefully I'm still doing as I type). And it's easy for people to think that these individuals are strange or sick. But you know what? I don't think they're crazy at all. As I watched the show I thought of our flesh. This humanity we have is sadly so broken and so ill-equipped to deal with life's hardships. The first girl admitted to being depressed for most of her life, which is something that most (if not all people) can relate to to some degree. Why do we naturally engage in destructive behaviours to deal with our depression? Because the sin that lives within us means our flesh is designed to work against us. I was saddened to watch these women say that they knew their habits were destructive and interruptive (respectively), but they JUST COULD NOT STOP. It made me think of the Apostle Paul who talks about the war in his humanity that meant that no matter how hard he tried to do the right thing the opposite came out instead (Romans 7:14-24).
I may not be drinking toxins or walking around with doll body parts, but I have my own destructive habits that I'm at war with in my own mind and flesh. If we're honest, we'll admit that we all do, whether we are depressed or not. It's just a constant battle with our sinful nature. We're all addicted to something - whether its a particular bad habit, a thought pattern, pornography, food, a drug (legal or illegal), etc. And addiction makes us all miserable because it's bondage. It's a miserable trap. Gosh, we need God SO MUCH. This world is a hard place to live in and our flesh doesn't make the experience any easier. The answer is bigger than trying to break an addiction. It's got to be more than just stopping a really bad habit. The answer has to be feeding that deep hunger inside that fuels addiction and healing those deeper wounds that make us hate ourselves so much where self-destruction doesn't even matter to us.
Thank God for Jesus. Christians would be lying if they said that life in Christ is a bed of roses and that all of our problems vanish away. That's simply not true. But knowing that Jesus' death on the cross broke the power of addiction gives us FREEDOM beyond anything that we can achieve with our own human power. Having the constant reassurance that God is with us amidst all pain, disappointment, sadness, fear and worry gives us hope beyond all that the world can offer. I really hope that these girls, and other individuals like them, can go beyond the issue of addiction and one day experience the deeper healing that they can only have through Christ. Jesus is the truth:
'I am the way, the truth and the life...' John 14:6
And knowing Him is the true pathway to freedom:
'And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.' John 8:32