Ed Welch wrote a great book on addictions – with that title: Addictions, A Banquet in the Grave (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2001). This book is a must-read for pastors, elders, and others who are involved in teaching, counseling, and leading God’s people. Those who have faced (or do face!) an addiction or an addict will want to read this book as well.
In this book, Welch shows the biblical ways to think about addictions: the primary problem is sin, idolatry in the heart. Here’s his definition. “Addiction is bondage to the rule of a substance, activity, or state of mind, which then becomes the center of life, defending itself from the truth so that even bad consequences don’t bring repentance, and leading to further estrangement from God” (p. 35). Furthermore, “The thing that drives addictions can be found in every heart” (p. 13).
Idolatry and addiction go hand in hand. “Drugs and sex are the modern golden calves erected by addicts to find meaning, power, and pleasure apart from God. Addicts often believe they have found life, but any payoff they experience is short lived and deceptive. They are blinded by the fact that they are having a banquet in the grave. They are truly out of control, victims of their own lust” (p. 53).
Throughout this book, Welch discusses the nuts and bolts of what addiction is, how an addict got to his/her position, how to help an addict (a gospel centered approach), and how to fight for freedom once a person has been freed from addiction. Each chapter has a concluding section of application, facing our own addictions, and helping others face theirs. This book is good because it is biblical, gospel centered, church-centered, and completely practical in dealing with the sin of addiction.