Addict or Alcoholic Why do we suffer?
For what reason were we born into the world, if it meant we faced pain?
In the Bible, the Leviathan is a mythical beast of terrifying nature. Much like how drugs and alcohol become sources of terror for addicts. Addiction leads to suffering,
but this week J.D wonders why addicts have to suffer addiction at all.
Some of us lead charmed lives. Many an addict or alcoholic has discovered, from following the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, that happy coincidences seem to occur. Life pulls itself together.
There’s a concept of divine law where the faithful are rewarded with prosperity. And sinners are punished with devastation.
Thematically, it fits within the more religious views held by AA members, that which powers its culture of recovery.
Fairly easy to follow:
You, as an addict or alcoholic, have an intrinsic flaw within you, that you were born with – an original sin, in a sense, from the New Testament point-of-view. An addictive personality, prone to a demon hunger for your drug or drink. (And hunger, of course, relates to one of the Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony.)
Because of this sin in your soul, you reap a disastrous life: legal issues, spousal problems, lost economic opportunities, dishonour caused by misconduct.
You suffer terribly, a punishment possibly meted out by your Creator.
But the story of Job tells, well, a different story.
Most know the premise of the Book, found in the Hebrew Tanakh, and later in the Christian Bible. A pious man, Job, has everything he could wish for. He has been fruitful and multiplied. Has a beautiful home, servants aplenty, wealth beyond measure.
Then the Accuser, pronounced Sha-tan in the original Hebrew, but translated into Satan in the Bible, claims to God that Job is only pious because of his blessings. (It’s worth noting here, that in the original Hebrew literatures, Satan was not a fallen angel who rebelled against God – he was a being who served a place and purpose in God’s court – which was to seek sin in all souls and, at times, “trial try” them. He, in a sense, remained loyal – sometimes Kings have need for thugs, I guess.)
Sha-tan said if Job were to lose everything, Job would denounce God.
God responds, essentially, that Job will not and then permits Sha-tan to do as he pleases to test this speculation out.
The Accuser gets to work:
Job suffers what many alcoholics suffer, mostly metaphorical in the case of their children, who he loses literally. Job loses his wealth, too. Job’s servants die. Yet even then, Job professes that “the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.”
The Accuser is unconvinced. He tells God that Job is merely martyring himself in the believe of a great reward for his suffering. God, again, gives Sha-tan free reign to fate* out punishment.
Job suffers disease, boils brim across his body, and now his friends seek to comfort him, telling him he surely must have sinned (some comfort), for God is Just, and doesn’t cause suffering to the pious.
Job, knowing he is innocent, at last screeches defiance, and demands an answer for why this has happened to him.
A whirlwind manifests. God’s voice reverberates from it to say (essentially):
You were not there when I laid this world’s foundations. You know nought of its divine justice. Just as I created you, I created the Leviathan.
This book was meant to deal with the issue of suffering among those who are good, and the observations that sometimes evil prospers.
Why, why, why would it be?
Many addicts or alcoholics find themselves in a hell. I know, for I was one of them. I, personally, do not believe in God, and hadn’t since I was 12 (for my own reasons). But in the darkness of it, with institutional teachings imprinted on my mind, I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘If there’s a God, why curse me with this Hunger? I never asked for it. So many friends experimented with drugs and alcohol, but never acquired the Hunger never became an addict or alcoholic. Why me? What did I do wrong?’
Was it a bet? An experiment between Divine Creator and a most malicious servant, to see what would happen? Was I unluckily selected because, maybe, I had some personality quirk? Had my atheism cursed me? Would I find a belief in God to solve my problems – as many others had in my hour of desperate need?
I’ve walked my own path for so long. If this was a test to determine whether I’d be untrue to myself, and step off the path, then the answer was no.
Job had his moment of lapse, where he gave in.
So did I. I tried to force myself to believe. As hard as I could.
But, in the end, both of us returned to our respective truths.
Both of us prospered. Job had more children, he gained wealth again, his disease disappeared.
My disease, too, diminished.
And so, I continue to walk the path. My path.
Because, I will never surrender to the Leviathan.