addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma
When life presses in, and the associated pain becomes overwhelming, many seek refuge in alcohol. It's probably the most readily accessible drug and generally the most widely acknowledged addiction. There's another drug, though, equally as addicting, that isn't so readily acknowledged. It's considered pure, holy, and wholesome, and the damage its use causes is often kept hush-hush for a myriad of unhealthy reasons. The fact is, millions of people, when life presses in, and the pain becomes overwhelming, reach for...the bible.
I may have lost some of you there, so please consider...
There's nothing inherently evil about alcohol. It's an inanimate substance. Until it's put into use, it's nothing. It becomes something capable of producing evil only when combined with a lack of human discipline, self-control, and moderation - and usually as the result of it being used to escape something. The end goal of its excess is numbness. It becomes an addiction.
There's certainly nothing inherently evil about a bible. In and of itself, it's just a collection of paper pages with words printed in red and black ink, often bound up in leather. Inanimate. When rightly-divided, applied with discipline, self-control, moderation, and discernment, its pages are full of life and beauty. However, when discipline, self-control, moderation, and discernment are absent, and it's turned to only as a means of escape, then the end goal is only to become numb to outside influence, control one's environment, and recreate God in a self-image. Religion becomes a destructive addiction just like alcohol. Rather than imbibing (with alcohol), we have imbibling (with religion).
Alcoholism is the epitome of a "family" illness. Its reach extends beyond the alcoholic to every member of his/her family or inner circle. Alcoholic homes are havens for insecurities, co-dependencies, depression, abuses ranging from emotional to sexual. The children of alcoholics are prone to be co-dependents, perfectionists with low self-esteem, never able to reach the standards they set for themselves, suffering from any number of stress related physical and psychological disorders, with trouble socializing or "fitting in", having spent so much of their lives hiding the problem of parents and making excuses for the dysfunction. The children often become enablers, unable to set and keep their own boundaries, ceding to the demands of what has become the family addiction. They live in fear of standing up to the problem, knowing that it may result in mocking, derision, physical assault, or if they refuse to enable, abandonment. The baggage they carry is often lifelong, usually more difficult to overcome than the baggage of an actual recovering alcoholic him or herself.
Alcoholics restructure their world to satisfy and house their addiction. Those who oppose it are cut-off, demonized, ridiculed, and avoided. Those who enable it are manipulated and controlled to keep a "safe zone" of sorts for the addiction to thrive. They withdraw from society at large and cling to only a social network that enables and understands the power and benefit of the alcohol in their lives. Unable to see that the addiction makes them weak, they see the addiction as their strength, their source of power to navigate their view of the world.
So much of this applies to the P/QF paradigm that it's disheartening to type this.
Parents in recent decades, particularly fathers, responded to the pressures of "the world" by turning up a bottle of "King James' Finest - vintage 1611". They've imbibled, and have done so without discipline, moderation, self-control, and most of all discernment. They've created an end goal of escaping "the world" in this life and Hell in the next, numbing their pain, but leaving God out of the goal, recreating Him in their own image to meet their own self-determined needs. They've withdrawn from society at large and network only with those who also imbible. Anything that threatens this imbibling is cut-off, castigated, ridiculed. Their families are being dragged along on this addictive, destructive path.
The result? Dysfunction. Darkness. Young men and particularly young women with a plethora of insecurities, emotional and psychological baggage, a distorted image of God, seeing religion as an escape of sorts rather than a path to intimacy with a loving Creator. Perfectionists, but with low self-esteem - as they've been indoctrinated to believe that having their own opinion or succeeding outside of the patriarchal paradigm is divisive, prideful, arrogant. Their lives break down into a series of drugs to numb the pain of "the world", from meticulous conformity to behavioral codes, to concepts of emotional purity, to rigid ideas on gender and "submission", to rigid interpretations of large quantities of scripture. They've often spent much of their lives (as my ex has) putting a fresh coating of paint on the facade that covers the dysfunction, having become quite crafty at making up excuses. They often struggle expressing themselves, struggling with Learned Helplessness and fearing the derision that was often ritualistic in an authoritarian environment. They struggle with decision making, having been manipulated and controlled (for the sake of the addiction) their entire lives. Many of them still struggle with these things years after having left their family situations, and the baggage may tag along with them for years still.
I deal daily with young women who fit into the mold above, young women taking brave steps to overcome their upbringing's addictions, doing their best to develop a healthy view of God, focusing on Christ instead of on a numbing agent. Many of you who read here can relate to all of this.
If it's only a means to escape the world in this life and Hell in the next...Parents, put down that bible before you destroy your family with it.