Addiction Wears Many Faces
By Louisa Guzman
It's September. So what does that mean for me? After 2 months of vacation, basking in the sun, getting up and going to bed whenever I please, eating and drinking whatever I desire, taking long morning and evening walks to catch the gorgeous Rockaway sunrises and sunsets, I now have to get used to waking up at the crack of dawn again, plan, cook and pack all my week day meals, work long endless days, and come home too emotionally and physically exhausted to do anything but veg on bad TV.
So after a long day at work with no AC on an 80 degree - 100 percent humidity - bad hair day, all I could think about was using that $2 Baskin Robbins voucher in my wallet for a flavor of the month cone to soothe my fried brain.
But the coolers weren't working and there was no ice cream being sold. Frazzled doesn't describe my state at that moment. So off I went to Pickles and Pies, the corner deli, searching for an individual size of any flavor. But there were none in that size. I knew I was doomed but I went for it: a pint of Haagen Daz Vanilla Caramel Cone.
Lucky to only live 2 blocks away I got home quickly, flipped on the AC, grabbed a spoon and plopped down on the couch.
Every swirl of the spoon made the creamy concoction even sweeter. With every spoonful, the day's insanity melted away. The way it tasted and felt sailing down my throat must be what its like getting high. Ice cream was my drug of choice and I was on a vanilla caramel cone cloud. For a split second I contemplated stopping at a few spoonfuls. But seconds later I blinked and woke up from my dream. In my head all I heard was that famous Alka Seltzer commercial, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"
Then the guilt set in.
I now felt worse than before. I felt like a bad little girl who had gotten caught eating from the cookie jar before dinner. Two weeks of walking 10,000 steps a day and cutting down on sugar flew out the window. The voices were shouting at me: "There you go falling back! You did it again! You can't ever stick with anything long enough to see it through! You have absolutely zero willpower! You will never lose weight! You will remain unhealthy and die before your time! You are an addict!"
But whose voice was that? It certainly wasn't God's. "The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic." [Psalm 29:4]. When Jesus speaks to us, He doesn't make us feel like a failure. Jesus speaks love into our hearts and minds. "There is no condemnation" [Romans 8:1] when we believe in and hear Christ speaking. Why was I feeling guilty and ashamed? I should know better. I didn't need to beat myself up for this or anything I've done, for that matter, because Jesus already accepted the punishment for me and by His wounds I am healed [1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5].
I no longer heard the words of my enemy making me feel worthless. I heard God telling me that He created me strong and able to fight temptation. I heard Him declare that He had great plans for me, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future [Jeremiah 29:11].
I suddenly felt energized and decided to go for a walk. The ocean always makes me feel good (I probably should have just done this in the first place). When I got to the boardwalk and looked up, there was my reward: a big, beautiful double rainbow!
A live and colorful reminder of God's love and mercy, a "sign of the covenant between God and the earth." [Genesis 9:13]. As I stood there in awe over this glorious sight, the sun began setting and created a perfect postcard in the sky,
and it reminded me that when I seek Him with all my heart I find Him [Jeremiah 29:13] and that when I delight myself in the Lord, He gives me the desires of my heart [Psalm 37:4].
Finally, on my way back home, I realized that when I am tempted, God will always provide a way out so I can endure it [1 Corinthians 10:13]. Your journey, like mine, may not be an easy one, but with God, all things are possible [Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27].