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5 Markers of Addiction

Some thoughts from Gerald May’s “Addiction & Grace” compiled by David Vraza MA.


May defines addiction as any compulsive, habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire marked by five essential characteristics:


1. Tolerance (I need more)

2. Withdrawal symptoms (stress in deprivation)

3. Self-deception (denial, rationalization, etc.)

4. Loss of willpower (a divided heart)

5. Distortion of attention (the mind is turned away from higher priorities)


“Addiction and its associated mind tricks inevitably kidnap and distort our attention, profoundly hindering our capacity to love. Attention and love are intimate partners; for love to be actualized, attention must be free … our addictions are always capable of usurping our concern for God” and others. It’s basic idolatry. Our immediate concerns outweigh our ultimate concerns, we violate our values and commitments, and we become more self-centered and self-preoccupied. “The destructiveness of addiction lies in our slavery to these things, turning desire into

compulsion, with ugly and loveless consequences for ourselves and our world.”


God’s constant stream of love calls us out of self-preoccupation and toward himself — graciously. Our selfishness and shortcomings are the space where we can experience the flow of God’s grace. We must step into the space of acceptance and curiosity. Our addictions are doorways where the power of grace enters our lives. Transformation awaits…




For further assistance, please call 763-566-0088 and speak to our Client Services Coordinator or stop by the NewPath Mental Health Services office at 8401 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 340, Golden Valley, MN 55426 to find out about services you are interested in.

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