The Story of Addictus: musings on addiction and calling

The story of Addictus, or the Myth of Addictus, was about a slave whose master set him free, but the slave was so used to his chains and his pain that when his master allowed him to roam and be free, the slave wandered the land with his “chains” still intact.

All the time he wandered his chains were unlocked and he could have simply taken them off but being so used to and so in love with his chains and pains he chose to NOT take them off.

That is what it is like for those of who have lived our lives enslaved to drugs and alcohol, or to religious systems and other abusive environments.  We are shown a life of freedom, but until a spiritual transformation occurs, we surrender our voice, surrender our very selves to the bondage of addiction.

Addiction is about surrendering our voices and beings over to a master whose end is death.  Recovery is about surrendering to healing, community and inevitably to a master whose end is LIFE: surrendering to God (as we ‘experience’ God) in order to find our voice and our very selves.

I stumbled upon an article years ago written by a spirited writer and addictions specialists named Thomas Lavis.  I have been unable to find a link to the original article, and I have not been able to reach Mr. Lavin to ask permission, but for the sake of healing and recovery, I have taken the liberty of revising his work to tell the story of the meaning of Addiction.  The following is my revision – my Voiced Version – of Thomas Lavin’s article, Please enjoy (and thank you to Mr. Lavin, wherever you may be):

The word “addicted” comes from the Latin word addicere meaning “to give one’s voice over to [something or someone].”  So someone who is addicted has no voice.  A breakdown of the word is something like this: the word “Ad” means “to or toward” and the word “Dicere” means “to speak”.  So, in essence, addiction is when I give my voice over to (or toward) some person, place, thing, or even a process. As most of us who are in recovery know, addiction need not be limited to alcohol or drugs.

I can give myself over, and my inner voice over, to anything: drugs, sex, alcohol, spending, food, pain, exercise, a person, my job, even things like worrying and stress.

The original meaning of the word “addictus” was spiritual – it had to do with someone dedicated to the gods, one whose voice was given over to the Divine for the purpose of worshipping and serving the gods.

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“God’s Invitation” (Ruth Halvorson)

“God invites us, perhaps even challenges us, to become co-creators and co-collaborators in birthing fledgling dreams and in encouraging fragile seeds that have lain dormant within us.  When I finally acknowledged, honored and acted upon this truth that I perceived within, I experienced God’s presence as never before!   With this acknowledgement I began to recover a greater acceptance of myself and also deeper relationships with God and the rest of God’s world – relationships which are all interconnected.

As I became more aware of the presence of God in my life, I also became more attentive to the deeper promptings and leadings within my own being and began to look more honestly and objectively at my own gifts and resources.” (Introduction, p. i)

“To step out in faith is to experience risk and uncertainty, but it is also to experience God’s loving embrace and continued steadfastness.”  (p. iii)

By Ruth Halvorson, founder of ARC Retreat Center and quoted in Action Reflection Celebration: the ARC story

A Poem from Michael Leunig

“Out of Character”

God bless our contradictions,
those parts of us which seem out of character.
Let us be boldly and gladly out of character.
Let us be creatures of paradox and variety:
creatures of contrast; of light and shade:
creatures of faith.

God, be our constant.
Let us step out of character into
the unknown, to struggle and love
and do what we will.

Michael Leunig, The Prayer Tree

Poetic Musings: God in our Midst

I want to live my life as if I believe God is in my midst,
not as theory but as a Living Presence.

I hunger for God.

I pine for my life to be a living reflection of the God I believe in.

I want my life to be a fount of God’s love –
limitless, lavish and lushly poured out for all.

God is not to be out done in giving or benevolence.

God pines for us, waiting for us until we are ready to taste and see the
great goodness and truth that surrounds us – the truth that God indeed is in our midst.

Being True to Ourselves

M.C. Richards has been one of the most influential people in my life I have never actually met in person. Her poetry, prose, pottery and person-hood are exquisite examples of Divine Love taking place in flesh and blood.

I have been feeling spiritually ‘beat up’ the last few weeks, my hunger and pining for God being off the hook.  Yet, my sense of God is punctuated more by Absence then Presence.  I am learning again the painful lesson that spiritual maturity is based more on acknowledging and living out truths as acts of will rather than as reactions based on shape-shifting emotions.  So, it does not matter that I do not ‘feel’ God.  I know the truth: God is faithfully and eternally Present to me, since God dwells within me and therefore cannot deny his own Being and Presence therein.

That being said, I kick and scream during spiritual growth spurts, throwing tantrums on the ground, refusing to see the necessity of growing up spiritually.  Then I am reminded that growing up spiritually takes deep courage, rooted faith, child-like trust, and the willingness to go through rather than around the fear.  I am learning albeit slowly that courage comes after not before the act.  

So here is some truth and perspective from the deep wells of M.C. Richards:

It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who we are. We face surprises. And disappointments. The crucial fact is that we are different from anybody we know and admire…. It takes all one’s courage to be the person one is, fulfilling one’s odd and unique possibilities.



The life that I could still live, I should live, and the thoughts that I could still think, I should think.


I have been thinking, praying, mulling over this quote.  I am on the verge of making some major changes and I am in need of God’s hand and wisdom to guide and provide.  But I keep asking myself, “why am I so afraid to leap when all these years God has been there, constant and faithful?”  But still, I am afraid of making the wrong choices.  And could they possibly be wrong if all I hunger for is God’s love, glory and my needs (not wants) being met?  Is that too much to desire?


I hunger for more of God, for being a blessing, for being blessed.  I know that as long as I still have breath in my lungs that I can reach long and hard for the divine destiny to which I know I am called.


If  I am <still> then I shall see the face of God reflected back to me in the world that surrounds me.  The famous Psalm, “be still and know that I am God” actually says in the original language, “stop being at war…and know that I am God.”  If I am still, and wait with hopeful expectancy, then God and all that is God comes to me, the wars end and Life blossoms, opening up before me, fragrant and free.

As Jung, said, the life I still could live, as long as I jump into it headlong with God, it is possible and I should indeed live it.  For in living out my destiny, I will by default assist others in claiming theirs.

So, the life you still could live, you should…live.

“To Love Well” (Kayla McClurg)

For Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Luke 7:36-8:3

Immediate compassionate response trumps premeditated politeness. The host was thoughtful, no doubt, well-meaning and polite, curious about Jesus, but from a bit of a distance. The ‘sinning city woman’ knew nothing of distance. She was all-out passion. If the host was a small breeze, she was a blast of wind, a tangle of tears and kisses and hair. Intimate. You might say, inappropriate.

The host saw the unfolding action as opportunity to judge; Jesus simply received. Self-love deep enough, secure enough, makes other-love possible. The host had not enough inner resources for such loving attention as this. The dried up heart confuses rules and regulations for real caring, judgment for love. Even the ultimate words of love–”you are forgiven”–are misconstrued. “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” the guests ask among themselves. Why would they not ask, “Who is this, who loves so fully?”

To love well is not to follow a set of rules for loving well. To love well is to follow the tug of a thread that draws us toward this one who loves. The thread takes us where he is, this one who captures our heart. The woman bringing all she had did not premeditate how she could make a scene and disrupt Simon’s dinner party. She herself surely did not yet know how disruptive real love can be. She simply followed the thread.

Love beckoned. What could she do but respond?

Season and Scripture: ,

“I am Done with Great Things…” (Quotes of Wisdom)

“I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillaries.” –William James, The Will to Believe


“The great lessons from the true mystics…is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s back yard, and that travel may be a flight from confronting the sacred. To be looking everywhere for miracles is a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” — Abraham H. Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences


“If you love the sacred and despise the ordinary, you are still bobbing in the ocean of delusion.” –Lin-Chi, The Taoist Classics, translated by Thomas Cleary


“The lesson that life constantly enforces is ‘Look underfoot.’ You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don’t despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world.” — Naturalist John Burroughs

“The Gift of Ears” (W.H. Auden)

The Christian Church came into being at Pentecost. The gift of the Spirit on that occasion is generally called the gift of tongues, but it might equally well be called the gift of ears

As writers, readers, human beings, we cannot speak to or understand each other unless we are first prepared to listen.  Of all the gifts which the Spirit is able to bestow, the one for which we should first and most earnestly pray is humility of ear.

“Mind-boggling Diversity” (Sallie McFague)

We come from God and return to God, and in the ‘interim’ we live in the presence of God – even when we do not know or acknowledge it. We are created in the image of God (the entire universe reflects God’s glory, each and every creature and thing in its particular, concrete, unique way).

Creation is a panoply of mind-boggling diversity, a myriad of outrageously extravagant species and individuals who all together make up the body of God…. Each creature praises God by simply being itself, by being fully alive.

Source: Life Abundant