Identity is a big deal in our society. Who are we? What defines us as a person? Our name, our story, where we live, what race we are, our political and religious beliefs; these all make up a part of our whole being. Identity also carries weight when it comes to addiction.
For years my addiction was alcohol, and, in turn, my identity became “an alcoholic.” The culture of recovery, especially recovery from alcohol and drugs, finds it important to acknowledge the addiction. If you walk into any AA meeting today someone will say ‘my name is so and so, and I’m an alcoholic.’ While it is good to be honest about our struggles, I feel it can be damaging in our fight with addiction. Words are powerful (Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue holds the power of life and death). Every time we say that we are “an alcoholic”, we are conceding to it; in a way, finding our identity in it.
As followers of Jesus our identity is in Christ. And He has the victory in everything. Romans 8:37 says, “Yet is ALL things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” No matter what our addiction or struggle is we have to be careful in what we acknowledge as our identity. As soon as starts to become anything but Jesus, that’s where the danger lies.