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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Habits and Passions

So, thus far I think it is clear that habits do have a role in the development of addiction.  The dividing line between them can appear blurry at times, but the real test can be seen when someone tries to break them.

A habit can be broken by will-power, whereas an addiction cannot.  It is impervious to the self-will.

Bad habits become addictions through a single underlying cause: inner suffering.  Addicts are successfully treated when they identify and ask God to heal their suffering, thus removing the 'fuel' that powers the fire of addiction.  Addicts fail when they try to put out the fire without removing its fuel.  That's why quitting never works.

A bad habit is a form of laziness, which we all suffer from to some degree.  When it becomes a response to inner suffering, then it becomes 'sloth' as a passion.  We all have varying degrees of laziness, in large part because we are not yet filled with the love of God as a consuming fire that energizes us to do good.  We run on human energy, and it is limited.  When we run low, we get lazy and tired.  It is natural.

Therefore, we must conserve our own energy by pacing our lives, while also seeking the inner energy of God's love to accomplish what human energy cannot.

However, when our energy becomes suffering, the bad habit becomes its 'virtue' as the natural result.  Love produces good fruits, suffering produces bad fruits.

Now, you might say, 'I thought suffering was something that even Christ went through, so how can you say it is bad?'  

True, but He went through what was bad to get to the good.  Suffering is something we must endure in order to get to what is good, but that does not make it a good.  If suffering was good, then we would not have to go through it, we could stay in it.  Even He asked that the cup of suffering not be given to Him, though He accepted it.

If we stay in suffering without hope to exit it, then it will distort and destroy us.  The addiction becomes a way to cope with the suffering without actually leaving it, and so the suffering destroys endlessly.

A habit is a means of coping with a daily routine, not just a matter of intense personal suffering.  This is profoundly different from coping with inner torment.

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