The word “addiction” comes from the Latin “addictus” meaning “slave.” In ancient Rome, an “addictus” was a “debt slave.” He or she was a person who was enslaved by a creditor because of a debt. Once the debt was paid, the slave was freed. (This is the same philosophy underlying “debtor’s prison.”)
The Roman Myth of Addictus was about a debtor who was enslaved in painful chains for many years. When the debt was satisfied Addictus was set free. However, he continued to wander the land wrapped in his chains of bondage. He could have removed the chains at any time. But he was so used to the painful bondage that he lived the rest of his life like a debt slave, even though he was free.
The relevance of this myth to modern addictions is obvious.
Research has shown that addiction is a disease that chemically alters your brain, making a person a “slave” to a substance or activity. The addicts become so used to the addiction, that they continue to enslave themselves even when they can become free.
In the final analysis, we are all slaves to sin and addiction. But Jesus Christ has paid our debt. He will set us free if we accept him as our Savior “Creditor.” He will also help us forsake our sins once and for all, and help us remove the chains of addiction if we call upon His name and follow Him. After all, a first step to recovery from sin and addiction is acknowledging that a Higher Power can, and will, restore us to freedom and health.