Neil Young writes a powerful song about heroin use and the damage wrought on people he knew and loved. My own father was a heavy drinker for as long as I can remember. He drank from the time he woke up until he passed out in his armchair at night. It created a very toxic, abusive atmosphere in our home.

At 63 years old, my father is now in a nursing home, his body and once-brilliant mind wracked by diseases caused by excessive alcohol use. It breaks my heart when I see him like that, not just because I love him but because he was meant for so much more.

I grieve for what could and should have been, both in his life and in our relationship. Everyone I have met whose family is affected by substance abuse has a similar story of brokenness.

I include drug abuse with drunkenness as they have similar effects. We cannot hope to live the life we were meant for if we continue to choose the sin Jesus died to free us from.

I believe that addiction to alcohol and drugs masks deep wounds. There is something buried inside the person that they refuse to deal with in a healthy manner. Instead, they abuse substances so they can numb themselves. This gives the enemy of our souls an open door to tamper with their minds and hearts.

When we aren’t thinking straight, how can we expect to be on our guard, as we are often instructed by God?

But beloved, there is hope!

“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  (1 Corinthians 6:11, NASB)

Addiction is difficult to break. I’ve dealt with my own, so I know from experience that no chain that binds us comes free easily. Jesus is the only one who can break us free. But you must wholeheartedly continue to fight temptations. Fight for that freedom, for you are worth it!

Beloved, that bottle of booze, that joint, whatever substance that you turn to for solace can only provide a small measure of temporary peace. No matter what you tell yourself, you will not find healing in those things. Drugs and alcohol are unhealthy for your body, mind, heart, and soul. We often use any excuse to justify our actions. But I encourage you, be brutally honest with yourself.

Please, don’t invite addiction into your life.

Instead, give Jesus a try. I’m not saying rush out and buy the fanciest Bible on the shelf. I’m just suggesting that you give him a chance. Trust in him and see if you find the peace and comfort you seek.

If you are already addicted to a substance, know that there is hope for you too and that you are not alone. Seek help. Healing doesn’t come quickly or easily to any of us. But you’re worth the battle.

And you are always loved.