The Hunger / by Michael Nichols

One of the most powerful bodily impulses is hunger. It should be, right? Without food, we go unnourished, and the body begins to wither and shut down. Sure, we can go with an empty stomach for a little while. God designed us to know we need food, but He also designed us to be able to live without it for a little while. That being said, you can only starve so long before you stop caring what you eat or what you have to do to get your food.

But it's not always food... I'd dare say it'sĀ usually not food we hunger for.

I spent much of my life not believing in love, yet wishing I had it when I needed it, chasing it without a reason, without an understanding of what I was chasing, therefore never feeling confident enough to apprehend it and not knowing how. When finally I understood what it was like to be loved by another person, then lost it, I became the addict without a fix. Not only did I need love, but I would do anything to get it: lie, cheat, betray... But eventually, people grow up, and they get fed up, and aren't willing to wait for you to do the same. We lose touch with each other and push each other away.

But that's not actually love. That is a tranquilizer. That's a shot of sedativeĀ in the base of your skull. Love takes work. A tranquilizer just takes a squeeze on a syringe. But that's modern love, reduced to chemicals intoxicating the brain, rather than realizing that love is more. It's a choice and a commitment. And it's absolutely true that love itself is intoxicating. But that's not all it is. It's man's greatest potential. Without love, we are nothing. When we take chemicals rather than giving love, we're no better than meth heads roaming the street, and drug dealers defending their district in the name of all they can take for themselves. We're addicts. We're addicted to ourselves.

That was me. And it wasn't all that long ago.

Now, I live in the lonely shadow of withdrawal from a mindstate that can only take, and only Jesus can save me. Jesus has saved me. He hasn't let me go since I was stricken with a craving for companionship. I hope that I can deepen our companionship because I know His love is the only truly lasting love. I must believe He heals me. I have no other choice. I don't want to die this way. And I must believe I can still find companionship with a human. I can love and be loved. But I must love Jesus first.

The problem with addiction isn't that addicts want to achieve some transcendent bliss. It's that they seek normalcy without realizing that being subject to agony is normalcy in a fallen world. In turn, when an addict seeks recovery, it's not a matter of becoming better than the addiction but of accepting the fact that it's okay to hurt. You cannot kill your pain by drowning your thoughts, feelings, and senses, nor does the avoidance of pain lead to the assurance of happiness. The surest way to find normalcy again is to accept it for what it is rather than deny it. So even if it takes time, and plenty of it, I'm okay with that now. I want real. I don't just want high. Not now. Never again.