Addiction: Filling a Hole in the Heart

By: Brian M Murray, MS, IMH

Psalm 27:7-9 (MSG)
Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs: “Be good to me! Answer me!” When my heart whispered, “Seek God,” my whole being replied, “I’m seeking him!” Don’t hide from me now!
Addiction: Whether drugs, money, alcohol, sex, gambling or whatever the choice of chemical or behavior often have more to do with the heart more than anything else. This is not the actual physical condition of the heart but about the core condition of a person’s being. The heart seeks something to fill, something that is missing inside, the emptiness; repeatedly it searches and never finds what it’s looking for. Addiction never satisfies. The rock band U2 sings about this longing emptiness that the heart seeks in their song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”  This void in the heart is something only God can fill.

It isn’t unusual for the band U2 to sing about addiction. The lead singer Bono lost a good friend many years ago who was addicted to heroin and overdosed of which is the basis for their hit song “Bad.” The song by U2 “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” seems to suggest that the heart continues to seek for something that is missing within a person. The storyline is metaphorically about a person who is searching for something but all of this searching does not satisfy what it missing inside. Much of this has to do with seeking God and in the lyrics U2 mentions Christ and the carrying of the cross and how it takes all of the shame. It seems reminiscent of the great Gospel song “Amazing Grace” of being once lost but now found.  

In addictions one thing that is apparent is a consistency of absence in a person’s life. What is missing is the presence of God by completely surrendering of the heart over to Him. U2 does a great job reflecting the condition of the heart which is like a form of greed, taking in all of this stuff but left with the feeling that it’s not enough, the heart still desires, it wants more. It is not getting what it truly needs and is being supplemented by false idols. The false idol is addiction which creates a temporary love affair, then the lover goes away after it wears off, the heart feels lost love and goes after it and the cycle repeats itself over and over.  The difference is God doesn’t leave and is always there. He fulfills what the heart seeks and becomes a permanent resident.

Addiction never satisfies and that is why it is needed over and over again. The next hit, the next throw of the dice, just one more girl and then the feeling of being satisfied will happen. The heart craves for the truth, “I need more, and it wasn’t enough, that wasn’t the fix that did the trick.” The question remains, what is the heart seeking that is not fulfilling it? Seeking God is one thing, surrendering the heart to Him and trading all of those sorrows, guilt and shame for the love of Christ is something different entirely.

About the author- Brian M Murray is a devoted professional helping people overcome difficult obstacles in life. He is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern located in Orlando and Winter Park Florida working as a counselor in a private practice setting at The LifeWorks Group.
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