I travel nationally and internationally, speaking about addiction and the impact of alcohol and drugs on youth. It’s hard for people who have never experienced addiction to understand what it feels like. “Why can’t they just stop drinking, pull themselves together and stop for their family?” makes sense to the non-addicted, but the addicted brain works differently. Asking an addict that question is like speaking French to a native English speaker.
Here is a glimpse of what addiction feels like. If I ask you to hold your breath for a long time, you initially may think, “No problem. I can do this.” Then a little spark in your brain will say, “Hey, I wonder when I get to breathe again.” A few seconds later, your brain will demand, “Hey! When are we going to breathe again?” Near the end, your brain will be completely preoccupied with breathing. Nothing else will matter. Finally, when you breathe again, you will be overcome with relief.
Addicts start off feeling strong but are soon compelled to seek an addictive substance or activity again. When they give in to the addiction, a sense of relief is quickly followed by guilt and shame. Unfortunately, the feeling of guilt or shame is overridden by the intense physical and psychological need to use again.
GROUP DISCUSSION: Have you ever tried to quit something but fell back into it? Why was it so hard to quit?  Who in your life needs prayer and support to overcome addiction? What resources are available for them?
Ray Lozano is the chief executive officer of Prevention Plus. Lozano also has served as a pastor in the Free Methodist Church in Southern California. Go to RayLozano.com to learn more about his work.